Saturday, June 28, 2008

DIY: Renaissance Treasure Chest Favor Boxes

I made these boxes six years ago but didn't have a good digital camera back then. But I've dug them out of storage, so I figure I'd write a how-to. I simply embelished cardboard Treasure Chest Favor Boxes with fabric and trims to give it a regal look. You can choose your own fabric and trims in the color of your choice to match your theme. Some theme ideas are at the end.

You can get the cardboard boxes in packs as low as 25 count at a craft or party supply store. They come in various sizes and colors, from foiled gold or silver, embossed pattern, plain white or cream, and others. (I used 2 3/4" X 2 1/8" X 1 7/8" boxes, in cream with an embossed pattern, for mine.) Choose a box that will best compliment your color scheme.

You will also need the following:

  • Fabric for the top and sides of boxes. You will need to calculate how much. I found it was easier to plan ahead by buying the boxes first, making the templates (see below), then calculating how many yards of fabric I would need based on the template. Remember when calculating, that you need two side pieces per box. For my boxes, I used a burgundy velveteen, not velvet, as velvet is too plush for this size box, and also too expensive.
  • Decorative Trim or Lace for the edge of the lid. Also calculate yardage after purchasing the boxes. The best way to do this is to measure all four sides of the lid, then the two curved sides that go over the lid. Add all those numbers together, and then multiply it by the number of boxes that you have. Add a few inches just in case you need extra. Here's a, hopefully, helpful pic:

  • Beaded Trim for the latch. The latch is actually more decorative than functional. Beaded trim is just a ribbon trim with beads hanging from them (see pic below.) For one box, you will just need to cut the ribbon between each strand of beads. Make sure the strands are not longer than the height of the bottom of the box, otherwise it will drag. The length of trim will depend on how many boxes you have - merely count the number of strands and purchase the length it comes out to.

  • Craft glue. I like using Aileen's Craft Glue, but you can use whatever you like as long as it adheres to fabric and dries clear. It's not necessary to use a glue gun, and I personally find them to be a pain in the butt, but if that's your preference then by all means - use it.
  • Scissors and/or fabric shears.
  • Fabric marker or chalk

Making the Templates

The easiest way I've found to make the templates is to just cut one of the boxes as shown in the following pic:

Your box may not exactly look like this when flattened since different companies have their own way of assembling these. Just adjust these instructions as you see fit to whatever design box you have. You need to cut slightly above the crease so the fabric will not block it. If it does, it makes the lid difficult to open. It's okay if you think you've made it too short because the trim will be covering the edge. You just have to place the trim lower.

How to Assemble

I apologize that I don't have pics for each step, but I have a couple of reference pics after the instructions. You should be able to make it out, but if you need help feel free to leave a comment.

  1. Assemble the box according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. On the wrong side of the fabric, trace two side pieces and one top piece using your templates.
  3. Cut the pieces out on the inside of the traced lines (if you cut it on the line or outside the line, it will be too big.)
  4. Glue the side pieces to the box while the lid is open. Glue the top piece to the box, while the lid is closed (if you glue it while the box is open, the fabric may not have enough ease to allow the box to be closed.)
  5. Cut the beaded trim so that you have one strand of beads on a slip of ribbon. Open the lid. Glue the ribbon to the center of the lid so that the bottom edge is flush with the bottom of the fabric. (When doing your first box, you might want to close the lid and make sure the beads don't get caught on the edge of the box, causing them to pop out. If they do, just move the ribbon up a little. Make note of this adjustment for your other boxes.)
  6. Cut the decorative trim for the curved part of the box first. The ends should reach all the way to ends of the fabric. Glue these on.
  7. Cut the decorative trim for the front and back. Note that it does not extend to the ends of the box - it only goes up to the trim on the curved part. Glue these on. (as an alternative, you can do mitered edges, but I would only do that on larger boxes as it is time consuming.)
  8. Cut the decorative trim for the sides. Glue them on.

Reference pics: Front open; Side open, Back and side closed

Streamlining Your Work

I suggest starting off making batches of five boxes at first, so that you can widdle out the bugs with your templates, placements, and process. But no matter how many boxes you do in a batch, you should divide the tasks so the glue has time to dry. It should go something like this:

  • Cut and glue the fabric to the top and sides. Do this for all boxes in the batch.
  • Go back to the the first box. Cut and glue the latch (beaded trim) to the box. Do this for all the boxes in the batch.
  • Go back to the first box. Cut and glue the decorative trim around the edges.
  • Start a new batch!

Theme Ideas

Sweet Lolita - White box, light pink or blue fabric, lacy poofy trim. Might also want to add lace bows, fabric roses, or strings of faux pearls.

Gothic Lolita - Black box, black velveteen, lacy poofy trim. Might also want to add lace bows, crosses, or strings of faux pearls.

Shabby Chic -White or cream box, striped floral fabric, lace trim. Might also want to add a tiny bouquet of fabric or dried flowers on the top.

Morrocan - Gold box, deep purple or maroon satin, gold trim. Instead of regular gold trim around the bottom of the lid, try beaded trim all the way around. That means you won't have a latch, but you could substitute a metallic or jewelled button for the front-center.

Victorian - Embossed pattern box, subdued peach satin, antique colored lace. Might also want to add a tiny bouquet of fabric or dried flowers on the top. Another option is velveteen in jewel tones and lace.

Rococo - White box, blue satin (not too dark), gold trim. Instead of regular gold trim around the bottom of the lid, try gold tulle, gently twisted to form waves.


Leslie said...

What a cute box and great idea for a gift box! Love it!

* spryte said...

OMG, those are adorable! I will definitely be making some of these for gifts. About how long would you estimate it takes to do one box? A coworker of mind has a Craft Night at her house once a week, and if I could get this done in a couple hours I'd probably do it there first, so my lack of craftiness-skills could be helped out by her :)

(By the way, this is Alison from MySpace - *spryte*//[citygirl])

khrome said...

Thanks ladies!

Spryte, I'm glad you want to try making this! I think you can definitely make one box in under an hour. If you make more than one box, the first box will take longer if you include the time it takes to cut out the template and figure out the measurements for the trim. But once you know that, the rest of the boxes should take minutes. I would guestimate that doing one box wouldn't take more than a half hour.

In the instructions I recommended doing the steps in three phases so the glue can dry in between, but I think if you apply the glue lightly you can get away with not having to wait for each phase to dry. That will make things go faster.

B said...

Those came out great. They look expensive too, but I know they are affordable since they are homemade. I might make a goth one for my work cube I think. I plan on doing a goth theme to my work cube.

khrome said...

Hey B! Thanks for dropping by. It might be expensive if you just make one box, unless you already have fabric and trim lying around. But if you make a bunch (like I made 50 for a wedding reception) the cost is not too bad. I think the cost is more in time than money.

khrome said...

PS, B - I think a gothy cube would be so cool! Send me pics. :-D Also, if you plan on just making one box, and using it a lot, there are larger ones made of wood at craft stores. They will be more resilient.

Madelein said...

I woul dlike to use it as treasure chest boxes for invitations, is it hard to make the templete?
If anyone has ideas for me please contact me at

Thanks, the theme for the party is pirates of the carribian, and the invitations needs to go out in the boxes.

Anonymous said...

Rather interesting place you've got here. Thanx for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to this matter. BTW, why don't you change design :).

khrome said...

Thank you, anonymous. :-) I'm not sure what you mean by "change design" though. Are you talking about the design of the box, or the design of the webpage..?