My coworker doesn't know it yet, but she inspired me to further explore the making of little boxes. Origami boxes. Useful boxes. Pretty little boxes of different sizes to keep small office supplies close to hand and tidy. Little boxes like the ones my coworker was wanting (I hope!) when she sent out a call for empty paperclip boxes recently (library folks are a frugal lot.)
I started by looking at some of the many origami books our library has. I learned how to make sturdy little square boxes of various sizes by varying the size of the paper squares I started with. I also learned to make lids for my boxes by using paper just slightly smaller for the bottoms than for the tops. I'm still working out the slightly part because it's actually kind of tricky to get a lid that fits just right. It depends a lot on the thickness of the paper you use so you have to fiddle with it a bit.
Making lots of boxes has allowed me to learn a few more things by doing. I've used origami paper, which is thin, but very pretty. It makes a fragile box and is fairly expensive, as paper goes. Then, there's standard copy paper, which is not as pretty, but is sturdier and much less expensive, even in colors. My favorite is scrapbook paper, which makes a box both sturdy and pretty. It is somewhat inexpensive, especially when it's on sale. Finally there's printed card stock, which is even sturdier and just as pretty, but also more expensive than scrapbook paper. Another thing I learned is the thicker your paper is, the harder it is to crease, so while card stock makes the sturdiest little boxes, scrapbook paper is easier to work with and makes a box almost as strong as card stock.
I also wanted to learn to make rectangular boxes, so I went online to find a couple of ways to do that. My favorite was a box with sturdy sides and sharp corners. This technique turned out to have an easily adjustable length I found out how to do by experimenting. That is, if your box is too long, you unfold one end, cut off the amount needed and fold the end of the box again. Works like a charm for a box just the right length. Making this box also helped me learn to reinforce the top edges of all my boxes with clear tape. The tape held multiple thicknesses of paper together while making the edge quite strong. Nice little box. Here is a link to some step-by-step instructions at www.origami-fun.com. I also recommend watching this little video before trying the printed instructions so you can really see where those little flaps go toward the end. You'll also see why you want tape at the top edge! This same website also has some good instructions for the little square box I mentioned above if you can't get to the library right away.
Now that you've seen how to make both boxes, I'll tell you about a neat little discovery I made while playing with the paper sizes: If you make three little square boxes from 6-inch square paper, they will fit exactly into or next to a rectangular box made from 8 1/2 X 11-inch paper! This goes a long way toward organizing a drawer or shelf with very little left over space, which was exactly why I started this exploration into little boxes in the first place. I hope my coworker likes the set of little boxes I'll be sending her soon...
Kaye and Malia