Top 10 Box Making Tutorials on the Internet

Box making is one of the skills a bookbinder should master. There are many types and styles of boxes: slipcase boxes and clamshell boxes for books; small boxes and boxes with many compartments and drawers for jewelry, gifts and small things; portfolios, trays and curved boxes for different needs. Every box has something special about how it is made. Boxes are also very important for archival and conservation projects.

In this post we have gathered some of the best box making tutorials you can find on the Internet. You can find the list of materials in the end.

Please check other tutorial collections we have prepared for you at

#1 Slipcase Boxes for Books

We begin with slipcase boxes, because when you think about a box for a book slipcase is one of the first things that comes to one’s mind. However, many bookbinders suppose them to be not the best solution — even boxes that are specially made to be not so tight may damage edges of book covers when you take the book out of the box and put it back. The other important drawback of a slipcase box is that many users drag the book of the box pulling by the back (near the endband) — that may ruin the book cover.

In perfect conditions book should easily slip out of the box (but not so easy that it would drop out), however readers themselves should also know how to use slipcase not to damage the book. That gives too many options for a book to be ruined even if the slipcase is perfectly made.

Still many bookbinders use slipcase boxes because that’s a very traditional design. For example as a companion for a French binding.

#2 Clamshell Box

While slipcase boxes are used almost exclusively for books, you may put almost anything into a clamshell box. The latter gives a much better protection for a book. It may be made as tight as it is needed and the book would stay put in there. You may also design special trays to lift the book if you don’t want it to be touched. Clamshell boxes may be made for long and for small objects. You may even make a clamshell box with several sections. To keep miniature books, for example.

Another variety of clamshell boxes is half clamshell box — it has only one tray and a cover lid. It is more like the cigar box. The tricky thing with half clamshell boxes is to make the cover to stay in place when the box is closed.

Once again we share a video tutorial by Sage Reynolds, luckily he have made many and they are really nice! =)

Please find some other examples here:

#3 Hugo Peller’s Pop-Up Box

2015.12.08 - Hugo Peller's Pop-Up Box TutorialThat exotic structure is a mix of a clamshell and slipcase boxes. It may help you to solve one of the problems all slipcases have — you don’t need to pull the book from the box by the back. But it would eliminate the friction.

For almost any type of boxes listed in this post it would be easier to make a box if you decide to use double layer of board like in this example ( It makes your box heavier and thicker, but that wouldn’t really be a problem even for a standard-sized book.

Hugo Peller’s Pop-Up Box Tutorial at the Book Arts Web

#4 Cigar Box

You may use cigar box for a book, but the tray has walls on all four sides and that makes it not so convenient to take the book out of the box. At the same time it is a perfect solution for small objects, or things like photographs.

Another video tutorial by Sage Reynolds.

#5 Hidden Compartment Box

I’ve put it here mare like a fun thing. But maybe you will like the idea and diced to make some boxes with hidden compartments =)

#6 Single Tray Box

2015.12.08 - Single Tray Box TutorialThat type of a box is something both similar to clamshell boxes and portfolios. You still have a tray, but you cover it with two flaps — almost like portfolio. I personally like that type of a box the most — it has a rather simple structure, but you can make it to look really nice.

Single Tray Box Tutorial at the About the Binding

#7 Portfolio

2015.08.12 - Bookbinding Portfolio with Soft Flaps TutorialStrictly speaking, portfolio is not a box. But many stages of making a portfolio remind of making a box and a bookbinder should definitely know how to make a portfolio.

There are different types of portfolios. Here is one of the standard styles.

Portfolio with Soft Flaps Tutorial at the Book Arts Web

#8 Chipboard Boxes

2015.12.08 - Chipboard Box TutorialYou may also use the standard bookbinder’s Davey board for that sort of boxes. I don’t really like that structure because the sides hold only by the covering material. Boards are not glued to each other at the edges. It may be an easy and light construction that takes almost no time to be made, but it is not a durable type of a box.

Here is a clamshell box tutorial, but really should be placed with other chipboard boxes tutorials, because the sides of trays are not glued together but scored and folded. That’s a less time consuming method, but the box would be rather unstable.

A couple more video tutorials:

#9-10 Boxes with Drawers and Compartments

2015.12.08 - Bookbinding Box with Four Drawers TutorialAlmost any type of boxes listed above may be turned into a box with drawers and compartments. By the way, it is almost the only other use of a slipcase box, besides holding a book, when you put a drawer inside =)

Of course there are some special designs of boxes that are made to have many drawers and compartments inside. Here you can find two examples:

Materials and Tools

Further Reading

As a bonus check these teaching models by Big Jump Press. You can easily see how all the cuts should be made for perfect corners.

I haven’t listed several nice types of boxes here. One of them is round boxes. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any nice tutorial that will show how to make round boxes the way I was taught at the American Academy of Bookbinding by Peter Geraty. I suppose I’ll have to prepare a tutorial before posting 10 More Box Making Tutorials on the Internet =)

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