December 6, 2023

Handmade Holiday: Origami Christmas Card Box

I'm recycling this post from one of my Kitchen Table Craft segments, since it's a great way to make little gift boxes or tree decorations, and also a good use for recycling Christmas cards.

I love making these tiny folded boxes out of old Christmas cards. They can be used to hold little Christmas gifts (or anytime trinkets for that matter) or also be hung on the tree for decoration.
It's also a great way to recycle all of those Christmas cards that you're not sure what to do with. It's a shame to throw them away, especially when they have nice sentiments inside. I save my cards for kids to use at art workshops that I teach during the holidays. They're great for cutting up to make gift tags, handmade cards and to decorate your home.

What you need:
  • Old greeting card or stiff paper
  • scissors
  • spoon or bone folder (optional)
  • pencil/ruler (optional)
  • tape (optional)
What You'll Do:
1. Open up the card and cut it in half so you have two pieces to work with (front and back of the card). It's best to use a larger card so that you'll have a larger box. And cards that are made from thinner stock are easier to fold. You may need to use the spoon to press a little harder for thicker papers.
2. Take the front part of the card and put the back panel aside (you'll be using it later). You need to cut out a square from the front piece. You'll want to make sure that the image that will be on the top of your box will be the most interesting, so the center of the square should be the center of the image that you want to use (for example, a face). You can measure out a square with a ruler and pencil, and then cut, or do what I've done by folding one corner down so that the edge lines up with the side of the card.
3. Cut out your square or in my case, snip off the bottom of the card (the white part above).
4. Fold your square in half from corner to corner (mine is already folded from making the square. Then open it and do the same with the opposite corners. You can use your spoon from here out to make the folds if you wish.
5. Next, open your card to the inside (white side) and fold the points of two of the opposite corners into the center.
6. Then fold the edges into the center. These will eventually form the sides of the box.
7. Open the paper and do the same for the other sides, folding in the corners to the center and then the sides.
8. Now for the tricky part. You'll open the card a little bit while standing up the two opposite sides of the box.
There will be some creases already that will guide your folds. With your two index fingers, push in the upper folds of the box while folding the corner point along its folds. It will form the third side of the box and the point will fold down flat into the inner bottom of the box. It's hard to explain, so hopefully the pictures help.
9. Do the same on the other side.
10. The inside of the box will look like this.
11. An alternative to those folds would be to cut the box a bit with scissors. Technically this wouldn't be considered origami, but it might be easier for little hands to fold.
You cut along the folds as shown above, making sure to leave the center square intact (there will be four little "squares" in the center from fold lines...don't cut into those). Then fold the sides in like this
and fold the two flaps over them to hold them in place.

12. If you want, use a piece of tape to keep the points together.
13. Congratulations! You've finished the lid of your box. Now with the back of the card that you set aside earlier, follow the steps again to make the bottom of the box. They are sometimes a little tight to try and put them together, but just wiggle the paper to fit the lid over the bottom.
14. Believe me, with practice, these become so easy to make. I can make an entire box in less than a minute. Granted, I learned how to do these in 5th grade, so I've had years of practice.
My little box family

You can see one of the boxes on my Christmas tree too (the candy cane striped one).


  1. very cool idea! roo likes to fold things, so maybe I will put her to work...

  2. You're too clever. I might have to give this a shot. Maybe to nestle some fragile ornaments in!

  3. Awesome idea Kathleen! Your tree looks beautiful. I will attempt the boxes. Your instructions are great, however my origami skills are not so great.

  4. That is so cool! My daughter's class is working on a box project I am going to print this out and try it!

  5. This is such a great idea! I'm going to try this instead of buying little gift bags this year.

  6. Well, I'll give it a try...but I think mine might look like a wadded up tissue!

  7. I learned how to do this a long long time ago, but I'd forgotten how - thanks for posting this and jogging my memory! My mother and I got caught up in it and made a bajillion boxes one year. A neat idea that my parents did was to create a scavenger hunt for a gift and leave these little boxes all over the house with hints to the next clue in them.


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