DIY Gift Box from Recycled Cardboard

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with wrapping and boxes. On the one hand, it is in a way what turns something into a gift. You wrap something in nice colourful paper, tie a ribbon on it, and voilà, it’s a gift! On the other hand, wrapping – no matter how nice – will most likely end up in the rubbish soon after a gift is received. I hate to think of all the surplus material that necessarily goes to waste. This is the kind of excuse I’d use to avoid wrapping Christmas presents for years…

But lately, as a “blooming” handmade business owner/starter, I had to reconsider my position. These days packaging is an important part of the product. A nice box makes you think that its content is bound to be special, and sparks the urge of wanting to own it.

While I’m still in the phase of experimenting with most aspects of my handmade brand Árbore·do·fogoI really wanted to create that ribbony special thing for the Christmas season. That is how the current Gift Boxes made of recycled cardboard – originally containing bottles of NZ craft beer – were born. And, I must say, I’m quite satisfied with myself here! They are just what I needed to add that authentic kiwi touch as well as the gift glamour to my jewellery.

With that said, I present you with the recipe of the DIY Gift Boxes.

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What you need:

  1. Cardboard (a sheet of at least 12 cm*16.5 cm)
  2. Scissors and/or utility knife/box cutter
  3. Pencil
  4. Copy paper
  5. Ruler
  6. Glue
  7. Ribbon – optional

What you have to do:

  1. Download and print the cutout blueprint of the box on copy paper. If all is fine, the square part should be 5.5 cm*5.5 cm, which will make the size of box on the photos. If it doesn’t happen, try playing around with your printer settings, or just make a box in a different size.
  2. Cut out the blueprint following the outer edges.
  3. Trace the cutout on the cardboard. Try align the edges to the sides to save yourself some work.
  4. Now cut the cardboard. I find it is faster – but more painful for the hands – to do this with scissors. The smaller parts may require the use of the box cutter. I try to cut just on the inside edge of the lines that I drew. If using the cutter, a ruler will help you cut in a straight line. Also, don’t forget to place a cutting mat or a cutting board underneath (your table won’t be happy otherwise!).
  5. Place the cardboard box cutout on the cutting mat with what is going to be the INSIDE of the box facing you. Now trace the inner edges – i.e. where the box will be folded – using the cutter. Be careful to use only a light touch, you only want to cut through the surface layer of the cardboard. Alternatively, you can use a ball point pen, or another pointy/sharp object to do this. Again, use a ruler to help you mark straight lines.
  6. Fold the box at the inner edged and see how it looks.
  7. Glue the small flaps to the inside of the box. Note: I found standard glue sticks quite useless for this task, and ended up getting a handy craft glue (see photos).
  8. Place your gift inside, and tie a ribbon around to box. Et Voilà, you have a gift!

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November WIP and queue check

NOTE: If you are interested to enter an Instagram giveaway for a chance to win a pair of árbore·do·fogo handmade earrings, please be sure to read/scroll through to the very bottom of this post.

Wow, I’ve just checked and I haven’t written a WIP post since June. That’s a long time! I almost cannot believe it. Actually – with the exception of the Baya shawl – I haven’t even worked on any of the projects mentioned there. Oh well.

So what I currently have on my needles are:

  1. The “Improvised” top-down sweater. This project was inspired by the knitalong organized by Karen from the Fringe Association blog. I’m ever so grateful for the initiative, as I feel like I’ve learnt so much (and will learn even more) from coming up with a sweater design and trying to knit it all by myself, following Karen’s very well written instructions and tips. For now the project is looking pretty good, and “only” the most boring part, aka. the sleeves are left to finish. I will probably write a last wrap-up post about this sweater once it’s finished.
  2.  Waterlily tee. I’ve mentioned repeatedly on the blog that I’ve been dying to knit some tops I can wear in summer. I missed out on it last year, but I’m determined to be better prepared now. That is why two weeks ago, while we were away in Auckland for a week, I put aside the top-down sweater – except for the time it took to write up the blog post about it – and cast on the Waterlily. The yarn I’m using is the purple cotton and possum blend I had picked up at the factory yarn sale back in May. I had my doubts as to the yarn becoming too fuzzy or being too warm, but it is knitting up as the softest and most wonderful fabric. Also, it is a delight to be knitting the endless rounds of stockinette for the body – a few inches left until I’m supposed to divide for the sleeves and start the lace panel.
  3. Little Wave Cardigan. Those who’ve been following this blog know that after a long long long time of knitting, abandonment and knitting, I’d finished a grey version of this cardigan for Chan. My plan had always been to knit myself one too. We will have to coordinate well to not show up anywhere both dressed in our Little Waves – that would be pretty ridiculous, but I so like this pattern, and since I bought it, it would be silly not to knit another one. While Chan’s was made in grey merino, mine will be a rust coloured alpaca and wool blend. So not that similar after all. I only have the yoke and the shawl collar to go, but since winter is over, this has become less of a priority right now.

Considering the advanced state of all these projects, it looks like once I round them up one after the other, I’ll be in for an FO shower! I can’t wait for that!

Abandoned projects – how shameful it feels to even write this down:

  1. Striated cowl. I started this cowl for several practical reasons, which included using up yarn that was left over from a sweater project, making good use of a pattern I already owned, and, last but not least, to have an easy on the go knitting project that I can carry with me and work on whenever I have a bit of time. By now I managed to realize that I might just frog it and use the yarn for something else. I’ll give it some more thought when I get there.
  2. Knitting basket. No advances on this project either. I’ll definitely have to frog the one I started, and I might try and use the felted yarns I bought at the yarn sale. Those should yield much sturdier containers. Again, this will have to wait at least until we move to our new home hopefully sometime towards the end of this year.

árbore·do·fogo news

In part I decided to conjure up this post quickly at the beginning of the week in order to let the readers of this blog on the Christmas giveaway I’m hosting over at the árbore·do·fogo Instagram account. If you are keen to enter, you get a chance to win a pair of Golden Star earrings – and I will be so envious, as at this rate I don’t think I’ll have the chance to make a pair for myself… 🙂 Good luck if you decide to participate!

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And a new adventure begins…

Until now this blog has pretty much exclusively been all about knitting, yarn and wooly things. I might have passingly mentioned other (time consuming) hobbies of mine such as running, but I never wrote about other crafty endeavours.

Truth be told, over the last couple of years I got totally hooked to knitting and forgot about my other passion, which is making jewellery from whatever materials. In the general scheme of things, I think pretty much any craft is appealing to me, simply because I love to solve puzzles and find out how things are made. Plus, I like beautiful things, and whenever I see something I like my immediate thought is: how can I make this?

While I do believe that knitted fabric is one of the most gorgeous things on Earth, I also do consider that knitting is a very useful hobby. I mean, I literally cannot take my knitted things off. Every now and then I make an effort to wear a sweater from my pre-knitter life, but believe me it’s a struggle. Probably this is the reason – other than lack of material time – that I had set my jewellery making aside. These days I hardly wear any jewellery, which is quite a change from my younger self. I’m still fascinated though by nice looking accessories and have an urge to make them.

I’ve done beading since a young age, I still remember anxiously waiting for my baby brother to fall asleep for his midday nap so I could take out my beads – at the time considered to constitute a serious hazard in the presence of a toddler. Through the years I would always come back to making jewellery, be it using beads, embroidery thread or wire. I used to find wire jewellery quite enchanting, as it meant working with metal and creating something that was closest to “real” jewellery without much special equipment. While at university, I attended a workshop on brass enamel jewellery making and got a taster of real metalsmithing. I loved it, and, perhaps for a brief moment dreamt of turning it into something more than a hobby, but went on to do some “real” work instead.

One morning several weeks ago, for some unknown reason, I picked up a pair of beaded earrings I hadn’t worn for years. When I walked into a cafe to grab a bite, the two girls at the counter spotted them and looked surprised when I said I made them myself.  Chan, who was standing next to me, smiled in satisfaction and announced “see, I always tell her she should sell this stuff”. True enough, together with others, he had said that quite a few times, but I had always felt that this comment, coming from people who do not do crafts, was superficial or somehow missing the point. Why could I not make things just for the sake of my own enjoyment? Why did people feel the obligation to advice me to turn my hobby into profit?

But then again, if I enjoy making things, but I’m not going to use them, why not try and sell them to people who will use and appreciate them? So, without really knowing what I was doing I “dusted off” my beading materials and set out to make a few things.

The obvious first step was to create an Etsy shop, which is now live, so I present to the world árbore·do·fogo! Currently four earrings are available in the shop, but more items are to pop up soon, so keep an eye out for updates. Also, to celebrate the big occasion, I’m offering 10% discount throughout October. Visit the árbore·do·fogo Instagram account to find the coupon code.

At this point I’m not sure what I’ll end up with, but it sure is exciting! 🙂

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