Organize with Custom Foamcore Boxes

If you’re joining us from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s Organization Week…Welcome to Art Camp for Women!  We love to hang out in our PJ’s and what better place to do that than Art Camp…so we have a Pajama Giveaway happening during the month of January.  Sign up for our newsletter during the month of January and you’ll be placed in a random drawing to win a $50 gift certificate to pajamagram.com. 

Read on to learn how to make your very own foamcore box (designed by Lorri F) so you can start organizing your stuff!

 

Custom sized boxes for beads, thread and markers

These nifty custom made boxes are super easy to make, sturdy and inexpensive! I’ve made boxes to fit shallow map drawers and deeper cabinet drawers. You could also make boxes with deep sides to sit on shelves…the sky’s the limit!

Cutting mat, white duct tape, Foam Board, kraft knife, extra-fine black Sharpie, ruler

Supplies Needed:

  • – 1/4 inch thick foamcore board also called “Foam Board” (3/16″ thick foamcore works just as well and follow the directions as if you have 1/4″ foamcore)
    – Ruler
    – Kraft knife (treat yourself to a brand new blade – you’ll be happier with your finished cuts!)
    – Cutting mat
    – Extra-fine Sharpie or sharp pencil
    – Duct tape (I used white…but the sky’s the limit)

Markers snuggled in their customized foamcore box

Let’s start by making a shallow box to hold Sharpie Markers.  This box with 2″ high sides will fit in both a shallow map drawer or a deeper cabinet drawer.  I measured a marker and decided I wanted a box with outside dimensions of 6 1/2″ x 10″ with 2″ high sides.   If you are using 1/4″ thick foamcore, the inside dimensions of the box will be 6″ x 9 1/2″.

NOTE:  If you are making a box to fit a space – determine the space you want to fill and that will be your finished measurements.  If you are making a box to store items of a certain size,  measure your items to determine the inside dimensions of the box and add 1/2″ to the width and 1/2″ to the length to get the finished measurements.

Finished height of box sides =  2″

Finished width of box (If you’re making a rectangle shaped box, you will have a short side and a long side. If you’re making a square shaped box, both sides will be the same length)

Finished short side =   6 1/2″

Finished long side =    10″

Use the measurements above and the steps below to determine the size to CUT the foamcore board (Just click on the photo to enlarge it to read my notes):     

Use a ruler and sharp kraft knife to cut through the foamcore on the marked lines.

Determine the cut width of the short side:

Finished height of sides x 2 = 2″ x 2 = 4
Plus Width of short side = 6 1/2
Minus Width of foamcore x 4 = 1/4″ x 4 = 1″

Cut width of the short side = 4″ + 6 1/2″ – 1″ = 9 1/2″

Determine the cut width of the long side:

Finished height of sides x 2 = 2″ x 2 = 4
Plus Width of long side = 10″
Minus Width of foamcore x 4 = 1/4″ x 4 = 1″

Cut width of the long side = 4″ + 10″ – 1″ = 13″

Cut a piece of 1/4″ foamcore board that is 9 1/2″ x 13″.  Mark the cut lines using an extra-fine Sharpie.  Use  a ruler and a sharp kraft knife to cut on the marked lines.  (If you’re using 3/16″ thick foamcore – just pretend it’s 1/4″ for the purpose of following these directions. The difference is not worth messing with.)

When you’re ready to make your own box, here’s a downloadable form you can use to determine the cut size of your foamcore board.

 

Now, onto the fun part…let’s make a box!

(Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them to read my notes)

Step 1 – Using a ruler and an extra-fine Sharpie or sharp pencil, mark the score lines on the short sides of the box.

Step 1: Measure and mark the score lines on the short sides of the box.

Starting with the short sides, measure in the height of the side less the width of the foamcore board – in our example this is 2″ – 1/4″ .   Measure in and mark (using an extra-fine Sharpie or sharp pencil) a line 1 3/4″ from the short edge along both short sides of the foamcore.

Step 2: Mark cutting lines for corner pieces.

Step 2: Measure and mark the corner cutting lines.

Calculate the height of the side less 2 x the width of the foamcore board (in our example this is 2″ less 1/4″ x 2 = 1 1/2 “). In each corner of the foamcore, measure in 1 1/2” from the long edge and draw a line from the short edge to the line parallel to the short edge.

Step 3: Using a ruler and an extra-fine Sharpie or a sharp pencil, mark score lines for long sides of box

Step 3: Measure and mark the score lines on the long sides of the box.

On the long sides, measure in the height of the side less the width of the foamcore board – in our example this is 2″ – 1/4″ = 1 3/4″.   Measure in and mark (using an extra-fine Sharpie or a sharp pencil) a line 1 3/4″ from the long edge – starting and stopping at the line parallel to the short side of the box.

Step 4: Using a ruler and a kraft knife, cut out each corner, cutting through the CORNER LINES only (do not cut all the way along the short and long edge lines).

Step 4: Cut out the corners.

Using a cutting mat, kraft knife and ruler, cut out the CORNERS ONLY.  Do not cut all the way along the short and long edge lines.

Step 5: Using a ruler and a kraft knife, “score” along the marked lines. “Score” ONLY HALF WAY THROUGH THE THICKNESS OF THE FOAMCORE. Do not cut all the way through the foamcore.

Step 5: Score along remaining lines.

Using a cutting mat, a ruler and a kraft knife, “score”along the remaining marked lines starting with the short sides first and then the long sides. “Score” means to cut only half-way through the thickness of the foamcore.  VERY IMPORTANT – Do not cut all the way through the foamcore board. Cut through one side of the paper and a bit into the foamcore.

Step 6: With the scored side towards you, gently break along score lines and fold the sides away from you. The “score” side is the back side of the box.

Step 6: Break along score lines.

With the scored side towards you, gently “break” the foamcore along the score lines and fold the sides away from the score side (or back side).

Tape the corners by cutting a 4″ piece of white duct tape for each corner. Start 2″ from the corner and wrap the tape one one side and around the corner onto the other side. The tape should be even with the top of the box . If there’s extra tape along the bottom, wrap it over the edge.

Taped corner – note the short side overlaps the edge of the long side. Click on this photo to get a better view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 7: Tape the corners.

Turn the box so the front is facing you.  Using white duct tape, cut four  4″ long pieces of duct tape (one for each corner) and starting with one corner, adhere a 4″ piece of tape starting 2″ from the corner so that it wraps around the corner with half the tape on the short side and half on the long side.  Have the duct tape line up even with the edge of the box opening.  If your duct tape is wider than the side of the box, fold the extra onto the bottom of the box.

Tada! Your box is complete and you’re ready to start organizing!

Thanks for playing…and please comment about how you used your boxes!

 

What if … you just want to use up some foamcore scraps AND you want the box to fit into a drawer (so you care about the height of the sides) but you don’t care about the size of the box??

Start with Step 1 above and continue through Step 7 using the scrap piece of foamcore board you have.  You will have a box with the desired side height and you won’t have to find a place to store that random piece of foamcore!  This is how I got started making these boxes…and I found lots of uses for them.

Here are some photos of my studio:

My Studio View 1…and yes, I cleaned up a bit!

My Studio View 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Folded fabric stored on pull out shelves

Thanks for Playing!

 

8 comments to Organize with Custom Foamcore Boxes

  • What a fabulous idea! Some people are just so clever and then some of us are just smart enough to recognize that cleverness and copy it! heehee Thanks for the great idea. Time to buy a new knife blade anyway!

  • admin

    Lisa, I’m usually the one coming across the clever idea and using it myself…so this is my 15 minutes of “clever idea fame”! I’m pleased to share it and I hope you enjoy using your new boxes to get your stuff organized! Send us some photos of your boxes when you get them made!

  • […] Julie’s blog so I had a heads up and was the tester for the tutorial she posted over at the Art Camp blog. So if you look at the picture of my paints, you might be able to see that I used her box […]

  • DD Wilson

    Lorri, love this idea,just wish I had a map drawer or two…
    please do a tutorial on beading 101. Sizes, kinds, how to and whatever you can think of for a learning experience for using beads.
    Thanks, DD

  • Love this idea! I just brought home a metal map cabinet for 14.99 at Goodwill! I’ve been wanting one forever for organizing my watercolor paper, but I love the idea of making these little boxes to fit it! Now I’m off to make some boxes!

  • […] week I made foam core boxes to organize my stamp drawer by using the tutorial my business partner, Lorri F wrote. I did not like making the boxes – but BOY do I love […]

  • Thanks for the great instructions! It’s worth noting that the finished measurements at the top of the article are the outer dimensions of the box, not the inner ones. I made a box for some playing cards and ended up with something exactly two foam widths too narrow to hold them. I’ll find a good use for the one I made, I’m sure.

    • admin

      Thanks for the comment Dave! You’re right, the instructions were designed to make boxes to fit into a space, versus a box to fit the contents so as a result, your box was too small. Sorry about that! I added a note at the beginning to address this issue and I appreciate you taking the time to write. Lorri