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How to Fold an Origami Gift Box

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According to etiquette experts, successful gift giving is all about the presentation. Even if you're on a tight budget, taking the time to creatively package a present shows the recipient that you put as much effort into selecting the gift as possible. If you learn how to fold a simple origami gift box, you'll be able to make beautiful wrappings for a variety of small gifts.

The easy origami gift box featured in this tutorial is a traditional design known as a masu box. A masu was originally a square box used to measure rice in Japan during the feudal period. Today, masu boxes are mostly used for drinking sake.

To make your paper origami box, you will need two sheets of square paper. I prefer using scrapbook paper for this project, because it is slightly thicker and gives you a sturdier box. Using 12 inch x 12 inch scrapbook paper results in a box that is 4 1/4 inches x 4 1/4 inches. You can choose matching papers for the base and the lid or pick two patterns that are slightly different to add a bit of contrast to the project.

1. Make the Initial Folds

Origami Gift Box
© Dana Hinders

To begin the origami gift box, fold the paper in half horizontally. Unfold, then fold in half vertically. Unfold to reveal an cross crease pattern. Fold each corner into the center until your paper looks like the model pictured in the photo to the left.

2. Fold the Top and Bottom Sides

Origami Gift Box
© Dana Hinders

Fold the top and bottom sides to the center of the paper as shown in the photo to the left. Unfold.

3. Fold the Left and Right Sides

Origami Gift Box
© Dana Hinders

Fold the left and right sides to the center of the paper.

4. Form the Sides of the Box

Origami Gift Box
© Dana Hinders

Open the two corners diagonal to each other, leaving the other two corners folded in. Use your forefingers to coax the corner folds in, pulling the third edge upwards. Tuck the top flap in to form the side of the box. Repeat on the opposite side to complete the box.

If you are planning to use the box to give a gift that is heavy, secure the flaps with a glue stick or a bit of double-sided tape for added reinforcement.

5. Fold the Base

Origami Gift Box
© Dana Hinders

Cut a second sheet of paper to measure approximately 11 1/2 inches x 11 1/2 inches and repeat Steps 1-4 to fold a base for your origami gift box.

6. Decorate Your Finished Origami Box

Origami Gift Box
© Dana Hinders

Decorate your origami gift box as desired. The origami heart, origami lotus flower frame, and origami Christmas star ornament are all great accents for the lid of this simple paper box. If you're in a hurry, you could just tie a pretty bow using a grosgrain ribbon in a coordinating color.

    Some of the gifts you could put in an origami gift box include:
  • Jewelry such as a bracelet, necklace, or earrings
  • Small bottle of perfume
  • Homemade cookies
  • Wrapped candies
  • Christmas tree ornament
  • Money origami
  • Gift card to the recipient's favorite store

If you have origami paper from models that didn't turn out quite as planned, unfold the paper and run it through a paper shredder for eco-friendly packing material that will make sure tiny gifts aren't damaged in transit.

7. An Alternative Project

paper origami exploding boxes
© Dana Hinders

If you enjoyed making this origami gift box, you might also enjoy creating an origami exploding box card. This card uses the box folding method you learned in this tutorial to create the lid, then folds a second sheet of paper to make a base that doubles as a card. The resulting box is slightly larger than a standard origami gift box, which makes it appropriate for presenting bigger gifts.

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