Recycled Christmas Card Boxes

cardboxesthumb.JPGThese little gift boxes are made from recycled Christmas cards - they're easy to make and can be filled with tasty treats or small gifts for the tree or as stocking fillers.

Video Tutorial

Scroll down for step-by step pictorial instructions, or watch the video below...

Pictorial Instructions

cardboxes2.JPGStart with the front of an old Christmas card - if it's not square, trim it into a square.

To make a box and a fitting lid, you need two squares, one of which should be about 5mm smaller than the other in both directions. The larger one is the lid - bear this in mind when selecting your card.

cardboxes3.JPGFind and mark the centre of the plain side by placing a rule across the diagonals and marking a light pencil line through the middle.

cardboxes4.JPGFold one corner in so that the tip just touches the centre mark.

Press and smooth down the fold.

cardboxes5.JPGFold the same edge in again, so that it touches the centre.

Press and smooth down the fold.

cardboxes6.JPGUnfold the card flat again

Repeat the double fold operation on each of the other three corners in turn.

You should end up with a diagonal grid of folds like this.

cardboxes7.JPGCut carefully along the fold nearest the centre, stopping at the corner of the unfolded square in the middle.

cardboxes8.JPGMake three more matching cuts in as shown here - ending up with two pairs of parallel cuts.

cardboxes9.JPGFold in one of the sides as shown - the corner into the middle and the edge folded up at a right angle.

Note how this creates two slim pointed tabs at the edges...

cardboxes10.jpgRepeat the above folding operation on the opposite corner.

Push the pointed tabs in toward each other.

cardboxes11.JPGFold the remaining corners in over the top of the pointed tabs, securing them in place.

cardboxes12.JPGWhen you press all of the corners down into the bottom of the box, they should lock into place against each other.

No glue is required.

cardboxes13.JPGRepeat all of the above with the smaller square of card.

You should end up with a pair of boxes that just fit snugly together.


Size Of The Finished Box

The process of making these boxes is all about geometry really - so it's possible to calculate in advance the size of the box you want, then cut a piece of card to suit.

The length/width of the top square of the finished box will be one quarter of the diameter of the square of card from which it is made.

You can calculate this as one quarter of the square root of twice the square of one side of the card, however, in practice (and given the tolerances of manufacture here), this works out so that the edge length of the finished box is just a little more than one third of the edge length of the square of card from which it is made).


Your card square needs to be about three times the size of the box you want.


Before, during or after the video(s) embedded in this page, the player may display advertisements or links to additional videos - these are not affiliated to Atomic Shrimp and the selection is something over which I have no control.


1. On Sunday, November 14, 2010, 22:05 by Adris83

Nice job.... It's perfect!! congratulations.. you got a great talent

2. On Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 02:50 by Meg

I am enjoying surfing your site, so much to look at. I made these one year for a woman who sold her wares at a crafts fair, trading boxes for jewelry. It was a win-win, and her customers loved the boxes. Thanks for remind me of how to make them. :);

3. On Friday, December 23, 2011, 08:45 by Kavey Eats

That's fab and love the step by step pictures too!

4. On Friday, December 23, 2011, 11:44 by André

I love your site! I've been watching you for a whileI also do those boxes, been doing them for years and never thought of that. Nice work!Can't wait for the next projects. Keep up the AWESOME work!;

5. On Saturday, December 24, 2011, 01:19 by Peony

Atomicshrimp, is there nothing you can't turn into a tiny box?!

6. On Friday, December 30, 2011, 14:42 by kyra meeke

just had a bash at this, its almost like alchemy - its so simple but so effective. Going to try and flog to the yummy mummys at the school fete to raise money. thanks

7. On Monday, January 2, 2012, 21:41 by threemilechild

You can also make these out of old calendars -- floral/gardens ones are gorgeous. They're not quite as sturdy as the smaller ones made out of cardstock, but we're still using a few from a decade ago.

8. On Wednesday, January 4, 2012, 16:11 by Jean

this is a great idea and Thank you for sharing this nice project, which helps us to recycle something else. I love to recycle.

9. On Sunday, April 15, 2012, 13:51 by Linda O'Connor (Canada)

I am so glad I found this site. I always buy my boxes for the jewellry I make but now I can make my own in different sizes from recycled cardboard items and just spray paint them any color I choose. What a great idea to match the jewellry and boxes t

10. On Saturday, October 12, 2013, 00:13 by Janet Dunivin

I have made these boxes for years but have always used discontinued wallpaper catalogs. I use them for my stained glass jewelry at bazaars. I am so happy to have the instructions in print.

11. On Tuesday, October 29, 2013, 01:29 by Sue Fagan

I am so excited to see these instructions on line. I learned this craft in a 'Teaching Math Through Art' course. The concept of diagonals of a square intersecting at its center is powerful and useful. Really not necessary to use a pencil or ruler f

12. On Tuesday, October 29, 2013, 06:19 by Mike (For Atomic Shrimp)

Thanks Sue - you're right - and the folding method can be used both to square the card and to find the centre of the resulting square - however, I prefer to use a pencil and straight edge, as it leaves the top face of the box free of creases.

13. On Monday, November 25, 2013, 11:21 by Rahini

Excellent idea I enjoined to make this boxes

14. On Monday, December 16, 2013, 21:58 by Louanne

Do you have a printable version of the instructions? These are the best directions I have found!

15. On Thursday, January 2, 2014, 19:48 by Melinda Schwakhofer

What a cool website! I came looking for this little box tutorial will return to try some more projects.

16. On Saturday, July 26, 2014, 00:36 by Burcu

Great idea! Thanks! :)

17. On Friday, August 29, 2014, 15:35 by Joy From down Under

For slightly larger boxes - try using some of those pretty calendar pages we keep because they are just too pretty to throw away.

18. On Saturday, December 27, 2014, 17:16 by GGS

I'm going to try this with wallpaper samples - thanks for the clear instructions!

19. On Thursday, January 8, 2015, 07:53 by Sharon S.

I'm so happy to find your tutorial! Six years ago, a friend taught me to make these wonderful boxes with scrapbook paper, and I made 150 of them (300 tops and bottoms!) and packed them with homemade candies as favors for my daughter's wedding. After

20. On Saturday, February 18, 2017, 21:01 by Kathy

I made one out of a Valentine card, Thanks for the video I like recycled Ideas

21. On Saturday, October 27, 2018, 08:51 by Snow wolf

I love your craft ideas! Can't wait to get started on my little Christmas card box. I've got so many card's, actually more then I could ever us in a lifetime, until I came across I came across your craft idea to put them to good use. Thanks for sharing your craft ideas. Looking forward to trying many more over the holidays.

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