Saturday, 6 November 2010

Here it is, at last:

The Fabric Covered Box
(The Art of French Cartonnage)

Materials needed: 

Grey card board 2.5 mm thick (1/10 inch)
Book Cloth (sometimes called Book Linen)*
Batting (optional)
Decorative paper for lining the box
Opening Tassle or Ribbon
PVA Glue (white glue)
Cutting Knives and/or Rotary Cutter
Bone Folder*
Glue Brush
Cloth pegs or small clamps
*Can be found in good craft/paper or bookbinding shops.

First decide on the size of your box: width, depth, height. Then measure and draw out the lines on cardboard.
You will need:
 2  pieces for the lid and base (width by depth)
 2 pieces for front and back (width by height)
 2 pieces for sides (height by depth (depth minus 0.5 cm)
Cut the cardboard pieces . Note that I use the rotary cutter instead of the cutting knive as I find it easier. Take care to cut precisely.
When all the pieces are cut, they should look something like this.
Now glue your box with PVA (or any clear drying glue). First the front and back onto the base
then the sides in between.
Cut a piece of batting the size of the lid and lightly glue in place (optional).
Lay your piece of fabric, face down, on the table. By moving the box step-wise over the fabric, mark out with a pencil the outline of the box. Make sure to leave a 4 mm space in between the back of the box and the lid.
Now add a "tab" of about 2.5 cm around the whole outline of the box and then cut out on that line.
Now your piece of fabric should look something like this.
Cover the base of the box with a thin but even layer of glue and wait a short while until the glue doesn't feel wet but slightly sticky.
Now stick it precisely onto the outline of the base on your fabric.
Cut 45 degree darts into all for corners.
Then apply glue to the front and back and stick fabric to the box.
Now tip the box so it is standing on its front wall and cut and remove a rectangles at both corners. Then make additional cuts as shown.
Then glue these two small tabs onto the edge of the side walls
and the large tab into the box.
Now stand your box on its back wall and cut a dart parallel to the edge of the back wall on both sides.
Then glue these side tabs to both sides of the box.
Now fold in and "finger press" the extra fabric tabs, making sure they are straight, then glue in place. Do the same for the other side of the box.
Apply glue to both side walls, the edge and a bit along the inside of the box and then stick the fabric on and into the box.
With the box still standing on its back wall align the lid now with the box, making sure you leave a small gap for the hinge.
Then apply glue to the sides, fold the tabs over the edge as shown and stick down.
The front edge is then trimmed by cutting a triangle as shown then folded in, then glued lightly. Now fold over and glue this tab to the inside of the lid.
Cut a hinge from bookbinder's linen; lenth of spine by 4 cm. Draw a line 1.5 cm from  long side and trim about 1.5 mm (the thickens of the card board) on each side so that the cloth fits perfectly inside the box.
Glue out the hinge and stick it down. Immediately force the cloth into the joint with a bone folder. Rub vigorously until the cloth is well adhered to all surfaces.
Now let the box sit open for a few minutes to let the hinge dry.

Lining of the Box:

Measure the inside of the base adding 0.5 cm all around. Then measure the front and back (height minus 0.5 cm, width plus 0.5 cm on both sides. The sides are measured minus 0.5 cm for the height.
Now draw the cutting lines on the wrong side of the lining paper and cut out. 
You will need these five pieces of paper.
Score lines 5 mm from the edge all around then cut and remove the small squares in the corners.
Now fold the sides up.
Apply glue to the bottom of the box and carefully stick the paper in, making sure you don't get any blisters.
Then score and fold the front an back papers at the narrow ends and glue into place. Note how the papers cover all the corners.
Lastly glue the side papers in.
In order to be able to close the box, we need to attach an inner lid to the box lid. First measure the inside of the box and cut a piece of card board very slightly smaller (about 1 to 2 mm). Cover this inner lid with either the lining paper or as shown here with the fabric.
Find the middle of the box lid, mark it and fix a tassle or ribbon with the help of a piece of double sided tape.
Apply glue to the inner lid and carefully glue the inner lid onto the box lid, making sure that it is placed so that the box can be shut.
Clamp in place until the glue is dry.
If you like, you can now make partitions for your box. Cover some cardboard strips (height of box minus 1 cm) and cut into partitions, making sure they fit exactly wall to wall.
First glue in the longer partitions, then measure and cut the small ones in between.
The inside of the finished Tea Box!
Admire and enjoy your Box!

If you need help with this or need clarification on anything, please don't hesitate to contact me. See email address on side bar.

Have a great weekend.


Hilde said...

Lovely box and clear instructions! When is your workshop starting? XXX

theodora said...

Vreni that is just exquisite I love the tassle and the little compartments it is truly a beautifull box I hope to make one ,can I just get a shoe box and qlue the lid and glue the fab. like you did I always see alot of boxes from shoe store near me various sizes.take care theodora

Penny said...

That's very clever of you, Vreni! Now I can make boxes the size I like! Thanks for the tute!

SewSofie said...

thank you Vreni for taking the time to show us how to make these beautiful boxes. It looks way too complicated for me though!! How much would you charge for one?

Jessica said...

It looks great Vreni! And makes me appreciate the one you made for me even more - now I know how much effort went into it!

rose-anne said...

Makes me all sentimental, I loved doing the workshops and making boxes. Haven't done much of that since I moved to the States. xxx

LintLady said...

Hi Vreni,
neben Vollzeitjob, Famile,Haus und Garten frisst das Quilten schon (fast) alle restliche Zeit. Leider, denn solche Boxen würde ich gerne auch machen. Superschön!
LG Doris

barcord said...

You have great patience and skill vreni. I enjoyed your tutorial. Dont know if I will make one soon but will, hopefully one day. It's lovely.

Martina said...

Hey super! Danke für das tuto. Würd ich gern auch mal ausprobieren, irgendwann ...!

Helen in Switzerland said...

Vreni thank you so much - I've been wanting to make a tea box for soooo long and this looks like an excellent tutorial. I may need to contact you to ask what some things are called in German though. Have a great weekend!

Silvia said...

Lovely Tuto... Now i hace no excuse to make it... Thnak YOu very much...

meli B said...

The final box is brilliant but I don't think I could do it! Your instructions are fantastic but this job is not for the faint hearted.

chrisi said...

sehr schön, und diese ganze Arbeit mit den Fotos, liebe grüsse Christine

MaksiTaksi said...

OMG! I love this one. When I saw the first picture I was thinking that you purchased it!

Thanks for the tuto.

mamas kram said...

Herzlichen Dank für diese super tolle und ausführliche Anleitungen! Die kann ich gut gebrauchen, da auf meiner Liste Schachtel beziehen auch noch drauf steht...
Liebe Grüsse

donkey and the carrot said...

wow vreni!!! it's perfect!! but so dificult for someone with 2 left arms like me!!!!!

Janet said...

What a beautiful box, it looks like a labour of love but I may just have to give it a go one of these days. The instructions are very clear. Thanks for sharing your method. I love the fabric too.