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

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Cover the Breakaway Box with Decorative Paper or Fabric
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.

Check the Pattern Repeat

Before you cover the outside of your break away box with decorative paper or fabric, check to see where the fabric design would work best. Try to end or begin sides with a pattern line you can easily identify. The art nouveau paper used for this box was lined up along the base so that all four sides would be the same, then the center of a design was lined up with the side edge of the box, so that the pattern could be fit properly on all outside corners. It is simplest to use plain or textured paper or a design with no obvious lines or repeats and avoid this matching of pattern. Avoid striped or plaid designs on boxes with many hinged sides.

Fit the Paper to the Fixed Sides - When you have identified your base line for the pattern along the bottom edge of your box, lay a section of your paper along the fixed sides of your box and gently mark the paper by creasing it along the box base. You can also masure and mark a pencil line on the design side of your paper if you prefer. Trim the bottom edge of your paper so at least 1/4 to 1/2 inch of paper will fold over the base of the box and cover the bottom of the box on the outside.

Fit the Paper to the Edges of the Fixed Sides With your base line determined along the bottom edge of the box on the fixed sides, mark or fold your paper at the edges of the fixed sides. Measure an additional 1/4 to 1/2 inch past this fold line and mark your paper for cutting. Fold the paper over the top edge of the box (or mark the top edge with pencil) and trim the paper at least 1/4 to 1/2 inch above this fold mark.

Apply Glue to the Fixed sides of the Box - apply glue to the fixed sides of the box, and to the edges, plus 1/4 to 1/2 inch on the inside of the box along those edges. Glue the paper to the box using your marked or folded edges as guidelines. Use a brayer or a bone folder to press the paper or fabric evenly into the glue beginning at the bottom edge of the box and rolling the paper up and over the top of the side towards the inside. (if using fabric, apply glue to the fabric instead of the box). If necessary, make a cut into the edges of the paper coating in line with the base of the box, so that you can fold the edges of the paper covering into the inside of the box. Glue the paper or fabric to the base of the box.

Cover the Hinged Sides of the Box - Use the same processes to cover the hinged sides of the box. Cover the narrowest side first - lining up the base of the pattern with the base of the box, marking the edges with folds or pencil lines, and cutting and trimming the paper beyond the fold lines then gluing it to the box sides, the inside edges of the sides and the box base. (see photo above) Repeat with the overlapping hinged side, matching the pattern as precisely as possible to the other sides. Cover the box base with a fitted piece of paper the same way you covered the interior of the lid. Line the interior of your box with papers/carpets/fabrics suitable to your display.

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