With downloadable template at the end of the post.

Recently I created a set of greeting cards from photos of my mother’s paintings and I wanted to put them in a nice presentation box to send to her. There are several online sources for plain white card boxes, but I decided to create my own box for a personal touch. This is the process I used.

The Concept:

I wanted to end up with a flat box suitable for shipping in a padded envelope, but I also wanted it to have a non-crushable gift bow. My solution was to draw my background pattern, gift card tag, and bow using Adobe Illustrator. I also drew my box top and bottom templates, with cut and fold lines.

Card Size:

The cards and envelopes are standard A6 size, so 4-1/2 x 6-1/4 inches for the cards and 4-3/4 x 6-1/2 inches for the envelopes.

Box Bottom Size:

The lower half of the box needs to be 1/8 inch larger on all sides than the size of the envelopes: 4-5/8 x 6-3/4 inches.

Box Top Size:

The top half of the box needs to be 1/8 inch larger on all sides than the size of the lower half in order to fit over: 4-7/8 x 7 inches.
For super-heavy cardstock, you may need to add another 1/8 inch: 5 inches x 7-1/8 inches.

Paper Size:

I adjusted the depth of the box so that the pattern would fit on standard 8-1/2 x 11 inch sheets of paper for the top and the bottom.

Here is what the finished uncut design and the templates look like:

Printer & Paper Choices:

I have a few different printers at home, and a lot of different papers, but the combination that worked the best for me (on this project) was my Canon MX870 all-in-one-printer and Epson Ultra Premium Presentation Paper Matte. I chose the Epson paper because it is fairly heavy like a cardstock, and the coated side of the paper allows for a nice, crisp, printed image.

For the bottom of the box I chose a coordinating solid cardstock paper. I used red Neenah Astrobrights 80 lb Cardstock with texture.


From the Canon Page Setup Dialog box I chose the borderless 8-1/2” paper size, and from the Canon Setup Dialog box I chose Quality & Media > Media Type: Matte Photo Paper, Print Quality: High. Also from the Canon Setup Dialog box I chose Borderless Printing > Amount of Extension: Minimum.

I used the rear paper tray so the paper didn’t have to feed through a loop inside the printer – instead it fed straight through.

It is important to remember to print on the coated (textured and whiter) side of the paper to get the best image quality.

Box Top Preparation:

  1. Print the design.
  2. Turn the paper over, reset the printing quality to plain paper, normal quality, and print the Box Top pattern on the back side of the paper.

    Boxes ready to cut.

  3. Cut along all the outside lines using a metal ruler, exacto knife and cutting mat.
  4. Score all the interior lines (on the back side of the design) using a metal ruler and a dull blade. (I use an old steak knife, but you could also use a ball point pen that has run out of ink.) Be careful not to cut all the way through when scoring your paper!

Box Bottom Preparation:

  1. Print the box bottom pattern on the non-textured side of the paper using the plain print settings as above.
  2. Cut and score just like the box top.

    Box Top and Bottom Cut and Scored

    Box Top and Bottom Cut and Scored


  1. Begin assembly by pre-folding along all score lines.

    Scored and folded along inside lines.

  2. Place the box top and bottom printed-side-down/texture side down and glue the folded tabs to the adjacent sides, making sure all edges are perpendicular to the table. The fold of the tab should exactly meet the edge of the adjacent side. I use Elmer’s glue for this – any white glue or paste will work. I’ve previously used double stick tape, but I find it doesn’t last as long as the glue does.

    Flaps ready to glue.

  3. To smear the glue, I use my pinky finger and apply a very thin layer all the way to the edge of the fold. (I use the pinky because the other fingers are busy folding and placing and they can’t do that when covered with glue!)
  4. When all tabs are glued, all four sides of the box should be standing up straight.

    Box on the right has flaps glued down, sides up straight.

    Next, fold down the short sides of the box and use Elmer’s glue to hold them in place.

    Gluing short sides down.

    Finally, fold down the long sides of the box and glue those in place.

    Both sides glued down.

Now you’re ready to load up your box with A6 sized cards and envelopes:

I hope you’re inspired by this project to see what you can design and what other uses you can find for pretty paper boxes. I use them  for business cards, jewelry gifts, cookies and candies (be sure to line the box with food-grade parchment), and more.

If you liked this project, be sure to share! And send me pictures of your own projects by clicking on the comment link at the top of this page.

Free Download: Gift Box Patterns & Instructions