Monday, April 28, 2014

Gallery of Exploding Boxes

From time to time, a prospective customer will ask to see examples of exploding box designs that I've done in the past.  I have posted most of them here in the past, but since they are scattered around, I thought it would be easier to put them all in one post that I can direct people to if they want to see some of my past work.  Think of these as examples only- most of my work is custom, so I am tailoring a product to the particular person who is ordering it.  I prefer to work with each individual customer on the design of the box they are ordering so that I know that they are getting exactly what they want.

First up: a zebra-print box for a pre-teen girl:

This was the very first exploding box I made!  It was for a friend of my daughter who was having a birthday.  Her favorite colors were turquoise and purple and she loved animal prints.  I had my daughter give me cute one-word descriptions of her friend, and printed them for the inside panels, along with a Happy Birthday message.  My daughter made the origami box in the center to hold an ornament with her friend's name on it, since her birthday was just before Christmas.

This is my first graduation box, apart from the prototype that I never took pictures of.  When I got the idea to do a graduation box with a lid that looked like a graduation cap, I researched ways to make the box appear more round, like a real hat.  That led me to experiment with making an 8-sided box that, while VERY dramatic in presentation, is more labor-intensive than it is worth, and as such, I do not make these anymore.  More about the decision to discontinue those here.

And here is another one.  The student that this one was for was a varsity swimmer, and I was asked to incorporate that somehow into the box.  I found a swimmer graphic for that.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the look of these, I really do!  They are SO much work though.  If I charged what it actually cost me to make them in terms of supplies and labor, they would be so expensive, no one would buy them.  That is why ultimately I transitioned to offering the square graduation boxes only.

Here is one of those:

And another:

And another recent one.  For this one, it was requested that I add some graphics to represent the personal interests of the student, who is an avid reader, had authored her own book, and planned to pursue a veterinary career.
I used a book graphic, and as the students' mom requested, I even added the name of the book that her daughter wrote to the cover.  Other graphics include a veterinarian symbol and the high school logo.

(Now, having looked over the last few graduation boxes I've done, I'm wondering if there are any schools out there that have school colors other than red and/or blue?!)

This one is a repeat customer- she purchased the red/blue octagonal box a couple of years ago for her niece.  Now her nephew is graduating, and I made this for her:

This one had more personalization in it than any other box I've done!  Her nephew is quite an active guy: he swims, plays soccer and tennis, loves music and Colombia, so she wanted all of those things represented, in addition to the symbols for his high school and the college he will be attending.  Boy, was it a challenge for me to incorporate all of that!  I did it though, and I think she is happy with it!  Here's a close-up:

And, finally, I got an order for a graduation box that is NOT red or blue!  I was so excited to work on this one!   No custom graphics on it, just school logos, so pretty straightforward, and I was able to complete it in a couple of days.

Incidentally, those were my high school colors as well, though it has been a loooonnnggg time since I was in high school!  Nowadays, when I see orange and black, I think of the Oregon State Beavers!

Here's another one that is a little different.  The graduate is headed to Harvard for college- wow!  Her mom, who purchased the box, asked that the center layer be crimson, which is Harvard's color.  I wanted to use the Harvard logo in this box, but their PR page was pretty specific that that was not allowed, so I just used the red, and added sentiments that her mom asked for.  She also wanted a blue lid instead of the black, because that's the color of the high school's graduation caps.

Now here's one that is a little bit different.  Not only are the colors ones that I have never used before in a graduation box (hooray for something other than red or blue!) but the customer wanted to have a holder for rolled up cash bills.  At first, I thought she meant standing up rolled bills, so was thinking of making a tube, similar to a toilet paper tube that the rolled bills could stand up in.  She wanted the rolled bills to lay down though, so I suggested a shallow box to lay them in.  She was happy with that idea!  In order to fit the box, I had to remove the inside layer of the box, so it only contains the larger two layers.

Here you can see the box in the center, where the rolled bills would lay.
I liked this project, because it was something different!  I think the customer liked it too.  I really enjoy making products that exactly match what the customer expects- their happiness is my ultimate goal!

New for the class of 2015.  Since I got a Silhouette Cameo for Christmas, I have revamped my design, and the layers now lay much nicer together!  See the 5th one down and beyond for examples.

Here is the first one I made with my new Silhouette Cameo. Notice how the inner layers now lay exactly diagonally instead of just barely offset.

This next one was one where I contacted the university to ask for permission to use the logo, but they never responded.  Sadly, this is not uncommon.  The customer suggested using the heart graphic, and I also used a dimensional graduation cap sticker on the front panels.

 This is another one that I had to use non-university related graphics.  I emailed the licensing office to ask permission to use the logo, but after 2 days I had not heard back, and as this was a time-sensitive order, I had to proceed without it.  I used some general graduation graphics instead, as well as a font that is close to the one used by the university on their website, and I think it still came together nicely.  Ironically, the day after I shipped the order, I got an email back from the licensing office, but of course it was too late to do anything then. My customer seemed happy with what I came up with anyway.

 I really like this next one- the customer asked me to make the lid green, because the actual graduation caps that the students wear are green.  This is only the second one I have made a non-black lid- I like it!

Now, onto some of the more creative boxes.  Last year, while poking around in the floral section at Michael's, I stumbled upon these cute little terra cotta plant pots that are just 2.5 inches high or so.  Adorable!  I wondered if I could create a little flower arrangement in one and put it in the center of an exploding box.  This was my first experiment with that:

I put a variety of different flowers in this pot, and also added a "floating" butterfly and dragonfly, which are attached to thin strips of acetate.  Not pictured is a little sign that I stuck in the pot that said "Happy Easter".  I just sold this box a few weeks ago at the Jane Austen Faire- the woman who bought it said she was going to her sister's for Easter and planned to bring it there.

This was my next garden box.  I decided I wanted to go with a theme, and picked daisies, because I had some lovely yellow and blue daisy paper.

I love this one!  I will tell you, though, those daisies took FOREVER to make!  There are at least a dozen in that pot, all individually made with a daisy punch and mini-pompons that I had to ink with yellow pigment ink, then hot-glued to a floral wire.  Love the result though!  I sold this box last year at our Salem Etsy Team spring sale, for a Mother's Day gift.

This one was a custom box, requested by a frequent buyer for his girlfriend's birthday:

For this one, I was asked to make it in reds and pinks, and that was all the instruction I received.  I came up with the rose theme on my own, based on those colors.  Like the daisy box, the roses in this one were quite a lot of work.  These were made with a 3D rose die, which punches out a sort of a spiral shape that you then coil to form the flower, then hot glue to keep them intact.  They are very small- only about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch wide each.  They are hot-glued to floral wire for the stems, and again, there are at least a dozen in this box.  I really like how it came out though, and more importantly, my customer did too!

This is a Mother's Day box that I made in 2013 but didn't list in my shop until recently:

This one is much simpler than the ones with the pot, still pretty though.

And this is my most recent creation.  This one is brand new for Spring 2014:

This mum-themed box was inspired by the colorful washi paper with the mum pattern on it.  I love washi paper- it is one of my favorite mediums to work with, but I've never used it in an exploding box before.  This was one of those ideas that came to me and I just HAD to make it!  I have to say that it turned out at least as well as I had imagined it.  I used the mum paper on both the outside of the box and on the middle layer of the inside.  On the larger inside panels, I used a mum embossing folder to create the nice textured panels that you see in green.  There are a couple of blue 3d mums on the inside layer, along with two panels with "Happy Mum's Day" text- since, you know, Mother's Day is coming up.  (Clever, right?)  Finally, the pot of mums in the center.  These are made by layering different sized punched daisies together.  I used larger flowers than in the daisy box, so there are fewer in this one- just 3 larger flowers, and 4 smaller ones, but the effect is still a nice, full bouquet.

This is a recent custom order that I made for a customer who tracked me down at the Jane Austen Faire last month.  She remembered me from the previous year and wanted to find me to order a custom box for her daughter's 18th birthday.  Her daughter is in the military and likes the color turquoise, is not a girly-girl, is athletic, and loves to read.  This is her box:

This one is different that my usual style, but that is OK- I enjoy doing something different!  The customer who purchased this is very happy with it and feels that it reflects her daughter's personality well.

A Mother's Day box, for a mom who is into Tae Kwon Do:

I mixed some pretty red washi paper in with the martial arts imagery to soften the look a bit and make it pretty.  Every mom needs some pretty on Mother's Day!

Another floral box using Japanese washi paper:

And here's something new- an exploding box with a gift card holder in the center!

This next one was a custom order for a customer who wanted to send a nice gift to a friend, who is a hard working FT working mom of a toddler.  Boy, do I remember what THAT was like!  She sent me photos of her friend and her family to be incorporated into the box, and wanted bright, cheery colors like orange and yellow.  I chose this Chiyogami washi paper because it had just the right colors and is very cheerful.  I think it turned out great!

Here is a recent custom order for a Valentine exploding box.  I worked very closely with the customer, as she had a lot of very specific things she wanted to include.

As you can see, there was a lot of text that I was asked to incorporate, and I got to really test out my Silhouette Studio software!  I learned a lot by doing this project- as the ideas came to me, I researched how to create what my mind was seeing, and in the process learned things I had not known before.  That is what I love about custom orders- they really make me think outside the box (pun intended!)  This one had some neat things- word wrapping around a shape, some cool polygon fill effects, and it was another opportunity to make word collages, like I did in a previous project.  The feedback I got from the customer when she saw the photos was very positive.

Here are some highlights from the graduation season 2017:

 Note the new cash holder that I added this year! (2017) It has been pretty popular!

Also this year, I am expanding to add customized wedding exploding box cards! This is the first- I made it for a wedding I am attending, and it is made in the couple's wedding colors. I also included a quote and bible verse that they included on their invitation. I am really excited about this one, because I got to try adding reactive foil accents! It's hard to see in the photos, but the gold paper is a shimmery gold, and the panels that are printed in gold are the ones with the foil.

These are not the only boxes I've made- there have been others, mostly graduation boxes,that are similar in style to the ones I've shown here.  I've also done a couple of holiday-themed ones, but I am still working on that concept, so haven't yet made one that I'm ready to put "out there".    Anyway, my goal here was to have a gallery of examples of boxes that I can easily point customers to when they want to see what else I've done.  Hope you've enjoyed browsing!