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Make a Custom Sized Box With Hinged Sides To Display Your Treasures

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Make a Breakaway Box With Hinged Sides to Display Miniatures
Open breakaway box for a scale display showing two hinged drop down sides.

Dollhouse scale breakaway box display box. The box was custom built from bookboard and covered on the outside with decorative paper, showing two hinged sides which are held in place by the box lid when closed.

Photo copyright 2010 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

Custom sized boxes with hinged sides that open to display dollhouse miniatures are usually called Breakaway Boxes. They can be made in any size, from bookboard (Davey Board), illustration board, lightweight plywood, even Coroplast plastic. The instructions which follow are to make a standard cube shaped box, but you can make rectangles (provided your materials do not sag) and octagonal boxes by changing the dimensions to suit your display.

Important Points to Consider for Breakaway Boxes

  • Boxes deeper than 8 inches deep (and high) usually block too much light with the lid to see the interior clearly. Try to make shallow scenes for these boxes or plan on adding a light source.
  • Boxes can be covered with fabric on the outside or inside (or both). If you use a fabric covering to decorate the box, you do not need to use a separate fabric hinge.
  • Build your box from acid free or buffered materials if possible. Davey board and coroplast are good for long term storage, most illustration board and boxes made of wood, can cause problems for the contents over time.
  • Corrugated cardboard could be used for these boxes but it tends to buckle too easily. Use a solid cardboard instead.
  • The fabric or paper you cover and line your box with provides part of the stabilization for the box and the hinged sides. Use something heavier than tissue paper if possible.

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