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Boxful of Thanks -- Be Creative With Boxes!

There are many ways of showing appreciation. Sometimes it is simply through conversation or acts of kindness. Other times it might be through a small gift. In this issue we will discuss how to create some of these tokens of appreciation with an added theme of boxes. Yes, card-making supplies are perfect for making these 3-D items!

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Projects designed by Sharon M. Reinhart

Our first project is this delightful box card, sometimes referred to as a card in a box. These cards look more complicated than they actually are. One neat feature is that they fold flat for mailing.

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Project 1

There are so many different sizes and orientations that can be made; the possibilities are truly endless. I have chosen to share with you a box card where two bases can be made from one 8 1/2 x 11-inch sheet of cardstock.

To make the box foundation, referring to the photo cut the cardstock to 5 1/2 inches wide x 8 1/2 inches long. Score this piece across the width at 2, 4, 6 and 8 inches. This will leave you with four 2-inch panels and one 1/2-inch tab. Next, turn the cardstock and score across the length at 2 3/4 inches (half the cardstock width). Keep in mind that this score line determines the height of the box as well as the size of the flaps that open. If you prefer shorter flaps, then simply trim off 1/2 inch or start with a 5-inch width of cardstock.

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The next part can be completed with scissors or with a paper trimmer that has a sliding blade. Referring to the photo where the cutting lines are shown as solid lines and the fold lines are shown as dashed lines, cut the vertical solid lines from one outside edge to the horizontal score line only; these are the flaps. Angle the corners of the folded-tab section as shown in the photo and cut away the balance of the tab on the other side.

At this point there are a couple different schools of thought. One thought is to not fold the back flap down as it remains upright and folding could decrease the sturdiness. Another thought is to not even complete the horizontal score line in that area. In my opinion, the horizontal score line does not create a problem, nor does it if you accidentally fold that flap down. A layer of paper or cardstock is going to be adhered to the back of the box to provide further stability anyway. So the choice is yours!

Next, fold on the vertical score lines. Place the box on your work surface with the box inside facing up. Referring to the photo, fold the tab side into center, and apply a strip of strong double-sided tape to the tab. To secure the box together, fold the opposite side to the center over the tab. The panel where the tab has been attached is the back panel. Now fold the flaps at the left, right and front sides down, leaving the back flap upright. The box flaps in the project shown have a straight edge; however, if a decorative edge is desired, use decorative-edge scissors, punches or die templates to accomplish this.

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The next step is to create the dividers for the inside of the box. Cut a piece of the same cardstock used on the box to 3 inches square. Score 1/2 inch on two opposite sides and then cut the piece in half across the score lines. Each half will have a score line at opposite ends. Fold these tabs into a Z-fold, then apply a strip of double-sided tape to the outside of each little tab. Keeping in mind to space the two dividers evenly, carefully place the folded tab of one divider inside the box at desired location and then place the other tab on the opposite side. Fold the box flat and burnish with fingers to adhere these tabs in place. Repeat with the remaining divider.

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Our foundation box has been made; now it's time to decorate! Gather all your Thanksgiving-themed supplies. To decorate the box flaps, layer printed papers, leaving a small margin of the cardstock base showing, or create your own decorative papers with stamps and stencils. Don't forget to adhere one long strip of paper to the back of the box as well. Remember you are in the driver's seat, and you can do as much decorating as you desire.

To create the collage effect inside the box you will need several strips of acetate or window plastic. These strips can be anywhere from 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in width and the length is approximately 2 3/4 inches, however, trim as needed. The acetate strips in the sample project are 3/8 inch wide.

Start by creating mini collages of leaves, berry stems and pumpkins, and then adhere these to the acetate strips. Even stamped sentiments like the "so grateful" and "so thankful" shown in this project work very nicely on the strips. Adhere your finished strips to the inside of the box on the divider panels and the inside of the box front as desired. Try to keep your decor items from extending beyond the edge of the box in folded form. However, truth be told, I don't mind a few of the items poking out just as long as they will fit into an envelope. Sometimes a little sneak-peek lets the recipient know that something special awaits them.

Our next project is one that can be used as a token of appreciation, a hostess gift, or a favor! This little set of mini cards is housed in a mini pizza box. Mini pizza boxes are currently very popular and are the perfect size for mini note cards and/or treats. I have been inspired by many little pizza box creations that I have seen recently at fairs and shows -- thanks for the inspiration crafters!

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Project 2

There are several ways to make these little boxes; they can also be purchased. I have seen plain white ones from Stampin' Up, which can be colored or decorated with papers. Some companies, such as Sizzix, also have a mini pizza box die template which makes it truly quick and simple. Or you can make your own as was the case with the sample project. Again, there are many variations and methods, just be sure to cut your mini note cards slightly smaller than the box.

To make the mini pizza box shown in Project 2, start with a 5 1/2-inch-wide x 11-inch-long piece of cardstock. Referring to the photo, score across the width at 1, 4 1/2, 5 1/2, 9 and 10 inches. Next, turn the cardstock and score at 1 inch on each long side. The box top will be the short side with the 1-inch panel shown at the left side of photo, and the box bottom is at the opposite end with two 1-inch panels (formed by the score lines at 9 and 10 inches) shown at right side of photo.

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Referring to the photo cut on the solid lines and fold on the dashed lines, burnishing the folds with a bone folder. Fold the resulting flaps at center inward and use double-sided tape to adhere the flaps to the inner side of the box bottom. On the box bottom, fold the tabs inward, next, fold the one inch panel over the tabs and secure with double-sided tape. Finish by folding the flaps of the box top inward and tucking into the box bottom. There are many tutorials available on making mini pizza boxes, so I encourage you to complete a Google search on this for further variations.

For the note cards, cut the cardstock to the desired size and fold in half. Then decorate in a similar manner as the front flap of the box card in Project 1 by layering papers and adding stamped sentiments. The stamp set used here, from Kaisercraft, is quite versatile and offers several sentiments as well as the coordinating ticket die template. Another template used on all of the projects shown here is the doily die-template from Cheery Lynn Designs.

Last but not least is Project 3, a cute little favor that could be placed on each place setting. The base was made with a mini pillow box die template from Nellie's Choice. It's the perfect size to hold a little mini chocolate bar or small treat. Instead of adding decorative paper I chose to pressure-emboss the entire die-cut piece using an embossing folder. The balance of the decoration was created using the same supplies that were used for the box card in Project 1.

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Project 3

As you can probably see, I love to create ensembles, where one design leads into the next. This ensemble could even be taken further by making napkin rings, decorated votives or candle bands. The sky is the limit! I hope you have been inspired to create something wonderful for your Thanksgiving celebration!