Monday, December 13, 2010

Fabric Origami Box Tutorial

These little origami boxes make me think of Christmas. My mom taught me to make these when I was little. We always made them over the holiday using last years Christmas cards. Now, I teach my students to make origami boxes the last week of school before the break. We use scrapbook paper, construction paper, wallpaper, anything really. I was making a few examples the other day and thought, I wonder if this would work with fabric? Well, yes it does my friends! Inspired by Sew Mama Sew!'s Green Grocery Bag Challenge , I made several little fabric boxes to house various small gifts (not exactly a reusable bag, but reusable nonetheless). I'm making mulling spice sachets for coworkers to put inside. I thought you, my lovely crafty sewing blogger friends, might enjoy making some, too. The teacher side of me hopes I have explained this perfectly, but seeing as this is my first tutorial... I hope it makes sense. You may want to try it with paper first.

1. Start with a square. I've always made them smaller, but you can start with any size square. I cut two 9" x 9" squares from two different fabrics and fused the fabric squares to some heavy duty craft or home decor bond. I used Pellon Craft Fuse. You need some sort of interfacing that will hold a crease. I've heard about fabric stiffeners but haven't tried any- that would probably work, too.

2. Fold your square in half vertically and horizontally and press folds. I press every fold with my iron, but only the crease. You want every crease you make to be seen in the end when you are assembling your box. Open up your square. You will see a cross- where the lines cross marks the center of your square.

3. Fold each corner in to the center, pressing folds as you go.

4. Fold each side in to the center, matching up opposite sides like a double door. You will have to do this step twice to do all four sides. Do the first two sides, press, then open out and do the other two sides, press.

5. Now open out the whole thing back to the original square of fabric. You should be able to see all of your creases. In the center there should be a square with an X in it. That is the top of your box. You will cut along the fold lines to each corner of the center square (from opposite sides). I've marked the square with the X on my fabric and marked the cutting lines with a dotted line.

6. Assembling the box: The longer, skinny triangles are the last thing folded ( the flap that folds over and holds everything together), so start with one of the larger triangle sides.You are just refolding where you already have a crease. You are not making any new folds. Fold in the outer little triangles. Fold in the top triangle. Fold up the side of the box. Repeat on the other side.

See the little box forming?

7. If you cut perfectly, the long flaps should hold everything together and you shouldn't need any glue, but..... I needed glue. I put a smattering of fabric glue all over the strip of fabric left unfolded, even in the center. Then I folded the remaining flaps over the sides to form the box. I pressed the edges of the box once more to make a nice crease.

8. Now repeat the above to make a bottom box. If you want, you can cut your bottom square of fabric an 1/8" smaller so it fits together better but it's not necessary. You can pinch the corners to make it fit.

I sewed a button on the top of these, but I'm partial to the gold and silver ones I made later with the fabric flowers on top. Tuck a little present inside and you are finished!


  1. Oh, this just might be perfect! My kids are wanting to make boxes to put little presents for their friends in, and I've been wracking my brain for ways to make them that don't require a ton of supplies I don't have. We'll probably end up using paper, but what lovely little boxes they are!

  2. Oh, these are lovely. I will have to try these. Beautifully wrapped gifts are such a pleasure to receive.

  3. Ooh thanks for sharing! These are so cute in fabric and very appropriate in timing!

  4. Thanks everyone! Just be prepared- they are addictive once you start making them , fabric or paper.

  5. These are so cute, such a great idea!

  6. These are wonderful, i was going to buy some boxes tomorrow but i will have ago at making these now :)

  7. So nice! I like the blue and green ones.

  8. I just found your blog and I am having so much fun looking at all your posts.
    I used to make boxes like that with my grandma! It was so much fun. I can't wait to try making these with fabric.
    Thanks for the creativity and great instructions.