Downloadable template at the end of the post.

I love pretty little boxes. So when my husband brought home a gift package of four different popcorn types, all wrapped individually and presented inside a custom-sized popcorn box, it sparked some new ideas. First I ate all the popcorn, and then I was left with a cute little box, wondering what I could use it for. Instead of directly re-purposing it, I decided to pull it apart, lay it out flat, and use it to create a template to make my own versions of the box using my own designs.

Small and Medium-sized Boxes.

I put popcorn in the boxes to give a sense of scale, but I’m not really going to use these boxes to serve popcorn – unless it’s bagged and wrapped for a gift!

The Project:

To create “Popcorn” style boxes to dress-up my gift-giving for Christmas, birthday parties, Valentine’s Day, weddings, etc. I want to use these boxes to wrap plants, candies, caramel popcorn , homemade cookies, cupcakes, party favors, or even battery-operated tea lights.


I drew three different-sized templates for the boxes — one each to fit 8-½ x 11 paper, 11 x 17 paper, and 13 x 19 paper. Later I added a fourth one – a half box that fits 8-½ x 11 paper. By printing two of these and gluing them together, you can make a bigger box even if you can only print on letter sized stock.

Creating a Design:

My favorite tools for drawing are Photoshop and Illustrator. I created a set of plaid repeating designs in Illustrator, and used those for my test boxes (the ones shown above). For the  blue and green plaid, I rotated the pattern so that it was square with the bottom on each of the four sides. For the smaller plaid, I just used it as is – no rotation or fitting.

I drew a couple more designs in Illustrator and one in Photoshop to make holiday boxes for friend-and-neighbor gifts – a striped red and white design, a snowman design – each of these were rotated – and two all-over designs of dots and holly. You can use whatever method you like for creating your designs, but if you want to rotate them to be flush with the bottom of the box, the template sections are rotated 9° per section. Use the first section for positioning, and then copy and rotate your design 9°, 18° and 27°. My designs:

Of the four, I like the red and white stripes best, so that’s what I’m showing in this project.

Printer & Paper Choices:

I’m using my Epson 1400 printer because it will accommodate the 13″ wide paper of the largest design. I would normally use the Epson Ultra Premium Presentation Paper Matte because it is fairly heavy like a cardstock, and the coated side of the paper allows for a nice, crisp, printed image. But since I seem to have run out of it, I’m using the Staples version, their Photo Supreme,  which prints really nicely, but is not quite as thick.


From the Epson 1400 Page Setup Dialog box I chose the borderless 13″ x 19″ paper size, and from the Epson 1400 Print Dialog box I chose Print Settings > Media Type: Presentation PaperMatte, Color: Automatic. Also from the Epson 1400 Print Dialog box I chose Color Management> Color Controls on, Mode: EPSON Vivid. And still from the Epson 1400 Print Dialog box I chose Expansion: Minimum.

With this paper, it doesn’t matter which side you print since both sides are coated.

Box Construction:

1. Print the design. Before printing, erase the interior lines. You don’t want to print these. But leave the outside lines for cutting guides.

2. Using whatever method you like, cut out your printed design along the outside lines. I use a cutting mat, steel-edged ruler and sharp exacto knife for crisp edges. If you’re good with scissors (I’m not), you could use those.

3. Turn your design face down on your cutting mat. Using a dull knife blade (or sometimes I use the back of my exacto knife) score along the interior design lines. Be careful not to press too hard and cut through your paper.

4.  Fold along all the score lines. Be sure to get good creases.

Folded, scored, tab ready to glue.

5. Glue the tab to the inside of the box, opposite edge being careful to line up the top and bottom score lines. I like Elmer’s glue or white paste for this. If you use Elmer’s – be careful not to let it get thick because it will warp your paper. Use something to spread a very thin layer like a piece of scrap paper or your pinkie.

Tab glued and score lines meeting top and bottom.

6. Glue the top flaps down to the inside of the box beginning with the flap covering the inside tab (that you just glued).

Top flaps folded in and glued down.

7. Fold the two short bottom pieces to the inside, then fold the larger bottom pieces to the inside and interlock them.

8. Glue the outside flaps of the bottom pieces to the bottom of the box making sure to keep all edges square.

9. On the inside of the box, gently lift up the inside bottom flaps and glue them down.

Voilá! A cute little presentation box.


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: Popcorn Box Templates