Saturday, 4 December 2010

Do you want to know a secret? (The Magic Box Tutorial)

I love this time of the year. Wrapping gifts, making small surprises.

What I like a lot is to make little Magic Boxes.
Do you remember them from your childhood?
You pull the button and voilà! the box magically opens by a simple mechanism
and you will see a surprise inside.
To make such a magic box, you need
a matchbox (I used a white box from the craft shop, which has the same size as the one with longer matchsticks in. Any ordinary small matchbox will work perfectly as well)
paper and fabric scraps
a button, fishing line
sewing needle, scissors, glue
and for the inside of the box a surprise
Remove the little box inside the matchbox.
Cut off 50cm fishing line, make a knot on one end (better two or three knots) and stitch through the cardboard as seen on the photo.
My little black cross marks the upper third of the box, but the middle works as well (1).
Pull through, but just through one side (back) of the cardboard box (2).
Check that the knot at the end of the thread is thick enough and secured (3).
And check with the photo below (4).
Now we are going to cover the cardboard box.
(You can skip the following steps, but then the fishing line knot at the back of the box will be visible)

I used a piece of fabric and ironed the hem to the inside so that it would fit the size of the box. Instead of fabric you could use paper, nice giftwrapping paper or a pretty vintage wallpaper (1)
I start at the back of the box and cover the knot of the fishing line first (2)
Then I cover the whole box and make sure that there are no creases in the fabric (3)
Take the sewing needle with the fishing line and stitch through the covered cardboard box into the front/ opposite the knot (1)
Pull the thread through the cardboard (2)
Push the inner box into the cardboard (3) so that the fishing line encompasses the inner box at the other end (4)
Now choose a pretty button (1)
Attach the button to the fishing line (2)
The fishing line still encompasses the whole inner box, the button has to be as close as possible to the outer box or else the inner box will reveal its secret too quickly because of a gap
Secure the fishing line several times (3) and cut off.
If you now pull the button, you will see how the box magically opens (4). That is the reason why the button has to be tight to the cardboard when the inner box is inside.
Now let´s fill the box with a surprise!
I have covered the inner box with wallpaper:I labelled the box with a little instruction outside and embellished it even with some vintage lace...And inside?
Two tiny deer and green moss!
And if someone now pulls the magic button,
the inner box gets pushed out
and two deer are standing in the moonlight
under the apple tree.
Simple, isn´t it? And such a nice gift for a loved one.

I had planned to share this before the 1st of December because it is a pretty idea for an Advent calendar, but I was too busy during the last weeks. But I am sure you could use magic boxes for a lot of things for Christmas (and the whole year through).
For photos or small souvenirs. Tiny papier-mâché mushrooms or modell railway animals. A handwritten poem or a snail shell. An engagement ring. Or three pretty hair clips for your daughter. One single christmas cookie instead of a big bag. New York air or a survival kit for someone who loves to travel with one button, three pins, sewing needle and thread.

What would you keep in such a magic box and give away? I would love to hear your ideas!
(And I would love to see your magic box. Would you like to share photos with us?)


P.S. I haven´t seen our deer under the apple tree for a couple of days now, the snow on the fields is too high. But a shy black cat has moved in, she has found a cozy and warm place somewhere in the barn and leaves lots of small paw prints in the snow covered garden...

Update 27th of February 2012
Just another Magic Box that I´d like to share with you (one out of many I have made in the past months), read here more about it.

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