How to Make Big Paper Boxes

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Boxes can be used both for decoration and storage. You can create a big paper box by starting with heavy paper such as poster board. Since the poster board alone would make a wobbly box, the following instructions show how to make a box from poster board, and then reinforce it with papier-mâché. For those who artistically inclined, the finished box can be embellished and decorated.

Things You'll Need

  • 7 poster boards (22 by 28 inches each)
  • Wide masking tape
  • Newspaper, torn into strips of paper
  • Bowl of starch
  • Straightedge
  • Sharp scissors
  • Ruler
  • Lay three of the poster boards side by side, with the 28-inch edges touching. The middle poster board will be the bottom of the box. The two outer poster boards will be two sides of the box. Name the three boards, A, B and C. B is the middle poster board, or the bottom of the box.

  • Tape one 28-inch edge of Board A to a 28-inch edge of Board B. Then tape the other 28-inch edge of Board B to a 28-inch of Board C. You will now have one large rectangle, that is 28 by 66 inches.

  • Cut a 6-inch strip off of two of the remaining poster boards. This will give you two poster boards that are each 22 by 22 inches. It will also give you two strips of poster board, each 6 by 22 inches.

  • Set aside one of the unused poster boards. At this point you have two remaining poster boards. Set one aside, it will be used for the box's lid.

  • Cut two 6-inch strips from the remaining poster board. Cut the strips to be 6 by 28 inches. Discard the remaining portion of the poster board (or use for another project).

  • Gather together the four 6-inch strips of poster board. Two pieces will be 22 inches in length and two will be 28 inches in length.

  • Assemble the lid for the box. Using the 22-by-28-inch poster board, tape a 6-inch strip along each of the edges to create a three-dimensional lid that will eventually slip onto the top of the finished box. Do not butt the edges close together. When taping two edges together, leave a ¼- to ½-inch gap between the strips and poster board. For example, the edge of a piece of tape will run long one edge of the poster board, while the other edge of the tape will affix to the 6-inch strip, but neither strip or board will extend into the middle of the masking tape. The masking tape will serve to add additional length and width to the lid.

  • Prepare to strengthen the paper box. The box is not ready to be assembled, as its sides need to be strengthened. If the two ends were attached to the larger rectangle (which is the box's bottom and two sides) the box would be wobbly. At this point you have four separate parts: the lid, two box ends and the section of three poster boards that have been taped together.

  • Dip a strip of newspaper into the starch, wipe off the excess liquid and apply the strip to one of the box parts. You will be covering the exterior of each part with this papier-mâché technique to strengthen. Continue to add strips of starch-soaked newspaper. Cover each part until coated with a layer of newspaper. Do not apply papier-mâché over the masking-taped seams of the large 28-by-66-inch rectangle. Those "joints" need to be able to move to form the box. Allow to dry.

  • Assemble the box when the parts are dry and stiff. Pull the two sides of the box (of the largest rectangle) upwards, leaving the centerpiece on the floor. Tape the two 22-by-22-inch pieces on each end of the box.

  • Apply papier-mâché to the assembled box, covering all masking-taped edges and reinforcing the structure. Allow to dry.

  • Shape the box lid to fit over the finished box, dampen and apply additional papier-mâché if necessary. After the lid is the appropriate shape, separate from the box and allow both pieces to dry.

  • Paint the box's exterior or use colored paper as the final coat of papier-mâché instead of newspapers.

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