Monday, January 25, 2010

Box Tutorial Sort Of Thing

My dear Doublewinky asked me to do a bit of a tutorial for the boxes. So here's a start: The pattern: I have used the pictures from 'Diki' and they're not symmetrical, therefore my box is slightly off kilter. Doesn't bother me, but I redrew the pattern piece for you because I'm just like that. Here's the link to the pictures again. I must add that I tweaked them in Picasa a bit to brighten them up.
Before you start, check out all of the others for different shapes and patterns.

Can you see that I have made two hinges in Buttonhole stitch? Other boxes don't have hinges, since they're not shaped lids.

Above: Crocheting through all loops, from both edges. Do this on all seams, excepting maybe the base...

Base. Stitching through only three loops, leaving the outside (visible) loop free (you can just stitch through them all if you'd rather, you hardly see it). Look at my amateur diagram down below.

See, it's a bit skewed because my pictures were not cut symmetrically. The pattern here is though, I think. I'll check and make sure, but not just this minute.....

These pattern pieces above are on A4, so that when you print them, they ought to come to the correct size (I haven't cropped the images).

Sew the base on with buttonhole (read the instructions below).

I call this piece the 'Lip' piece, just so you know.

Crochet all other 'seams' together.


  • Find your pictures. Choose your box pattern or make your own (remembering that the base and lid will be a little larger because of the width of the crochet. I calculate it after I've put it together usually). Print them out, collage them, draw them...
  • I use a weight similar to gift-cards. If I want to use something thin, I stick it on a piece of cereal box or something, just with stick glue as the crochet holds everything together. Outside and inside images so, twice as many as there are panels.
  • Now, cut out the two pictures for each pattern, outside and inside, and two pieces of the plastic. Look at Sadie's Hanky Box, pre-assembled. 
  • I collaged the 'Lip' piece from parts of the story (most boxes don't have this bit, but this particular box needed it).        NOTE: The plastic I use is available at Officeworks (in Australia). It's some kind of Project Cover stuff. It comes in packets of 25 or 100 I think. Stiffish plastic, like shirts used to come in, in the olden days of my youth. They're NOT laminated.
    Found it!
  • Clamp them together and pop the holes all around... hmmm... maybe 8mm apart and into the edge... ish. With 3mm or 1/8"" hole puncher. I found one Here. A hole punch that is. (EK heavy duty 3mm hole punch).
  • Using crochet rayon or a similar weight (in this box I used 4-5 machine cottons to get the colour, but one thread is way better, less fussy and catchy).
  • Work with single crochet stitch, do 2-4 in each hole, depending on how thick your thread is. I usually do 3. Do all of the pieces. When you go around the corners, just work 6-8 single crochet stitches into the hole. They pull straight when you assemble. You can snip the pointed corners off a little if you like (I don't), they can poke out a little/I don't bother.
  • Tuck/sew in the ends of your thread.
  • Do the same stitch to join the sides, taking in all of the loops. All right... look at the photo and you can see the edge of the crochet has a chain, yeah? On the sides, go through all 4 loops. Join the four sides together in the order you want them. Finish the ends in. Be generous around the curves... all of the pressure is there. But it's a no brainer and old folks recovering from major strokes have made these successfully forever, so chill!
  • Next, pin the base in position and HAND STITCH it on, using a Buttonhole (i.e. Blanket) stitch, leaving the outside loop free to make it prettier. Look at the detail photo and the diagram. You can crochet it of course, but stitching is easier and less awkward.
  • Having already crocheted both outer and inner edges of the Lip, pin it in position and crochet around the outside edge. It's a bit fiddly but you'll be right. If your box has no lip, then crochet around the top edge of the box, that is across the tops of all of the panels in one line.
  • Now, position the lid. It will only be joined in two sections (look at the pictures above). I did a Buttonhole stitch to join it, leaving the top-most loop free so you can crochet the Picot stitch around lid after it's sewn on, as in the bottom bit of the diagram. A non-shaped lid will be crocheted along the joined edge, adding the picot after (or you can do the edging of the lid, then sew on the finished lid to the finished box, either/or).
  • RIGHT, you're up to the finishing touch! I want to say that I avoided doing these boxes etc. for ages because I thought it was hard and I didn't know how to do Picot... but it's EASY!!! Youtube is a beautiful thing! HERE is a link to Picot stitch, however, I tend to do it a little differently so I'll have a hunt... this is fine though don't worry... or invent your own variation (accidently or on purpose).
  • So... work a row of Picot around the whole of the lid. Start at the back somewhere, maybe on a corner, and when you come to the hinges, work into the top loop that you have left.
    CAUTION: Originally I messed up the lid!! I had the pictures the same way up... I'd crocheted around it and everything, then realised (as I prepared to put it on) that when you lift the lid up, the inside picture would be up the wrong way. OUCH!
  • Find your Grandmother's button (I haven't on this box). Sew it on through all layers, adding a scrap of the plastic or another button on the inside for strength.
  • On the lid at the corresponding place (above the button), join a length of your thread and make some kind of cord or chain, adding a bead to the bottom, as a closing device. Look HERE for a detailed picture
  • Now, go and buy yourself a beautifully scented soap and put it in your box with all of your inherited handkerchiefs or special treasures. I've put mine away for a few weeks because I can't see its beauty at the moment. Familiarity and all that. But I am happy.
  • xxx
  • Oh, and I want photo's of yours please.
P.S. Let me know if something is not clear, huh?
P.P.S. My Hanky Box has been in use with all of my inherited and bought hankies for ages now. I have lovely hand-made soap wrapped at the bottom and enjoy it every day. 'Which hanky will I use today...Hmmm', each time I pause to decide!


one K said...

Wow, just love it!!

margie said...

that is fantastic..i just look on and enjoy just love it happy week

Jody Pearl said...

What a find!
I love these boxes and the few that I have sit proudly in my studio keeping all manner of sewing paraphenalia safely stored under their lids.
I have often wondered how they were made and now I know will give it a go myself - thankyou so much for sharing!

birthine said...

Thank you for this very fine tutorial. From a Flickr contact - Birthine

Abi said...

So glad to have found this tutorial and the wonderful makes on your blog!

I have linked this post to one of mine here
with photos of the box I made ..


Anonymous said...

Hi there, I've been looking for these boxes for ages and wanted to make some. Can you tell me what sort of punch you used to do the holes, and did you use acetate to cover the cards. Any held would be much appreciated, thank you. Sue

Shabby Vintage Junk said...

Hello there....!!

Are you in Melbourne perhaps....I'd LOVE to get together with you for a lesson....I'm afraid I'm no good with diagrams....Perhaps we could do a swap....A lesson for some Treasure you're in need of....??

Hope you're having a WONDERFUL week....!

Tamarah :o)

Bobby La said...

If I could point to where to buy hole punches that work, I'd have a class. That's the problem. They used to make them and sell through Spotlight etc, but now they're too weak and fall apart (collapse). It's a real problem. I have so much more to do... I'll get onto it again, and try. I bought one from the States, but it's painful to use. Truthfully painful.
Hmmm... What to do?

veritate said...

Exquisite! I've been eyeing this post for several months now and I wanted to share with you the box I made for my friend. I've posted it on Craftster at this link:

I linked to your tutorial, of course. Thanks for this. I'll definitely be making more!

Rachy said...

Oh my goodness, I have been googling these boxes over the years to no avail! I remember my friends mum had one when I was a kid and I was fascinated by it. Enter adulthood, google, and the thought 'I could make that!' only I have NEVER been able to find it by typing in searches like 'card box thingy' etc hehehe THANK YOU!!! I am going to make one with cards that have been given to me over the years but I haven't wanted to part with, how strange to find this tutorial randomly on a crochet pinterest board and you live in Victoria, Australia as do I! So funny! :)

Jelena said...

Great work and great tutorial! Thank you very much!!! :)

Racergirl said...

Thanks for this tutorial! My daughter and I had a go with some cardstock we had and because we had no plastic used a laminator. We used only one sheet of card for the sides which seemed OK but two for the lid and base for more strength. We can't crochet :( so used blanket stitch (no holes punched just used the needle) and with the laminated edge it ended up a bit like a picot stitch. Not as pro or beautiful as yours but cute enough for a couple of craft noobs!

Bobby La said...

Go Noobs! And thanks for showing me! Good to see your daughter's one of us too! xx

Unknown said...

Hi My name is evelyne and I live in France.
please , where is the website for bought plastic for made the box?
thank you.

pussman and co said...

This is so cool!! thanks for sharing!
bye bye :)

Unknown said...

Love this box so beautiful, found this plastic at office works, GBC Creative A4 Clear Covers 150micron PK25

Was wondering if thats the one you used?

DollDaft said...

The side and base are printing out with side length of about 11.5 cm. The Top&Lip look very big by comparison. Would you have a single image where all pieces are superimposed on one another so that I can get them all printed to the same scale?
Many thanks.

Colette Doherty said...

I used to have one my grandmother made. Love them!! Thinking of doing one with photos on glossy paper maybe. As for the acetate sheets. You could try overhead projector sheets or the a4 project covers or Report covers (which are thicker) both usually available at stationery shops. Thank you for this tutorial.