Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Boardgame box tutorial

Update! - see prettier lid here.

Ok, well this is the tutorial that I have been trying to get to for weeks. The half finished box has been sitting on my desk mocking me. Anyway, it is done now and here are the pics to show you how to do it too. Right at the end are the things I learnt along the way and how I would do it differently next time.

This is the poor, sad, battered box beforehand. Such lovely soothing colour combinations too.

I measured the size of the gameboard and then added how much I thought I would need for the game pieces and what height I would need for the sides of the box.

I used an old moving carton for my cardboard but would use a thinner cardboard next time. It threw out my measurements somewhat when I hadn't accounted for the thickness of the walls. I measured out my previous calculations on the cardboard and cut it out, removing the corner tabs. I would have kept them for added strength if the cardboard was thinner. I also scored along the folding lines.

I folded up the sides and added a little piece of strong duct tape to each corner to hold it in place.

Then I added another longer piece for reinforcement.

I placed it on brown kraft paper and cut out tabs for gluing around the edges for a neater finish...

like this. I also glued the paper all over to adhere to the cardboard for a flatter finish.

Here is the bottom of the box with the completed covering of brown paper (I just like the utilitarian look of brown paper but anything would work that you like).

Here is the layout of how I calculated the insert to accommodate the game board and the game piece section with a division between the two.

Here is how mine looked cut out...

Here is how a side elevation of it folded would look. I really only included this picture because I was so happy with my little diagram!

Here it is folded in the box with the game board in residence (I used double sided tape to keep the sides of the insert flush with the box). Now, for the lid, do exactly the same basic box structure and just add enough in the measurements to allow the lid to fit over the bottom box. I had to add a lot to my measurements because the cardboard is so thick but you would need less for a thinner material. Once I had the brown paper covered lid finished I wanted to add the name of the game on top so...

I printed out the title in the font I wanted and then laid it straight over my chosen paper to cut around. I used a good pressure to cut through both pieces of paper so I only had to do this once. If you do this, cut out the inside pieces of a's and o's first.

The completed box! Yay!

It looks so much nicer on the shelf than the regular garish boxes if you have to have them out on display. I think I will add a nice label to the side as well now I see it on the shelf. That would be necessary if you had a bunch of them on a shelf too.

Ok, things I learnt along the way:
- the old saying 'measure twice, cut once' is very, very true. Winging it just doesn't cut it here. Trust me.
- I would seriously recommend a thinner cardboard. Whilst my new boardgame box could probably withstand a hurricane, that sort of thickness really isn't necessary and created a lot of hassle with the measurements. Plus it wasn't as easy to get a pretty finish with the covering.
- I would use spray adhesive to secure the paper to the card after the shape is cut out but before it is folded into place. I just don't have easy access to those sorts of basic materials. I had to use a bunch of glue sticks instead!
- Don't make the measurements for the divider the same height as the box. It needs to be about 1cm less than the height of the sides once folded. Ditto for the sides of the insert.
- As much as I like the look of brown paper I will probably try something a bit more colourful next time - a brighter colour, basic stripe or polka dot would look great. Also, I worry how it will stand up to regular use. I think leftover wallpaper or oilcloth would be a sturdier cover or I might even use a pretty paper and use a spray varnish over the top. One day when I have access to such things I will do another and see how it comes out.

I could see a whole set of boardgames done this way sitting on a shelf all stacked prettily and in full view...

Anyway, I hope you like this and, if anyone else does one, please show me your finished project!


  1. Came here from "One Pretty Thing" and I think your tutorial was just awesome!

  2. Thanks Jennifer! I love One Pretty Thing. I always find so much stuff to look at. I hope you send me a photo if you do one.

  3. These are great. I makes lots of fabric boxes & find that using thick plastic sheets with the corrugated piece in the middle ( we use it here in New Zealand for Real Estate signs) makes an everlasting box. I have made little cases for keeping dolls clothes in and they work well.



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