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How to Make an Easy Exploding Box Card

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In addition to being an origami enthusiast, I am also an avid scrapbooker and rubber stamper. One project that is quite popular in both of these areas is the exploding box card. An exploding box card is a paper box that holds a small gift such as a candle holder or a bracelet and unfolds when open to reveal a message. Unfortunately, most versions of this project I've seen are very elaborate and involve lots of measuring, cutting, and gluing.

1. Make a Simplified Origami Exploding Box

paper origami exploding boxes
© Dana Hinders

Since I’m an impatient sort of person, I’ve devised a way to make a paper origami exploding box card using just two sheets of 12x12 scrapbook paper. (You could use smaller origami paper if you wish, but the resulting box might not be big enough for the gift you wish to present.)

2. Start the Box Lid

paper origami exploding boxes
© Dana Hinders

Begin this project by making your box lid. With the patterned side of your paper face down, fold it in half horizontally. Open it back up, then fold in half vertically. Open your paper again to reveal a folded cross in the middle. (In this photo, the pen lines are for demonstration purposes only.) Using your mountain folded lines as a guide, fold each corner in toward the middle of the paper.

3. Fold Towards the Center

paper origami exploding boxes
© Dana Hinders

Fold the left side and right sides towards the center crease. Unfold the paper, turn it 90 degrees and fold each of these sides into the middle.

4. Start the Sides of Your Box Lid

paper origami exploding boxes
© Dana Hinders

Fold the left side and right sides towards the center crease. Unfold the paper, turn it 90 degrees and fold each of these sides into the middle.

5. Finish the Box Lid

paper origami exploding boxes
© Dana Hinders

Tuck the top flap in to form the side of the box. Repeat on the opposite corner to complete the box.

6. Start Your Card

paper origami exploding boxes
© Dana Hinders

After you've folded your box lid, it's time to create the card itself. Starting with the white side of the paper face up, fold your paper into thirds. Unfold. Fold into thirds once more, then unfold. When you're done, you'll have a grid with nine squares each measuring four inches. (You don't need to draw the pen marks on the paper, they are on this model just for demonstration purposes.)

7. Make the Sides of the Card

paper origami exploding boxes
© Dana Hinders

With the patterned side of the paper face up, fold your paper into a triangle. Unfold, turn the paper, and fold it again from the other direction.

8. Decorate Your Card

paper origami exploding boxes
© Dana Hinders

Unfold your paper and decorate as desired. This example uses rubber stamps, but you could also decorate the paper with stickers, scrapbooking rub-ons, or copies of special photos. Feel free to be creative with this aspect of the project

9. Assemble Your Box

paper origami exploding boxes
© Dana Hinders

Place your gift in the middle of the paper, then push the corner folds in to form a box shape. Add the lid, then enjoy seeing a look of delight on the recipient's face as he or she opens this unique origami box card.

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