Recently, a friend of mine asked me if I could make decorative boxes. I hadn’t in some time, probably not since university, but the knowledge had to be in there somewhere, right? While I was confident that I could excavate the knowledge from whatever cobwebbed corner it was hiding, utilizing it in the midst of my circumstances now as opposed to my college days was a different matter. However, not one to pass up an opportunity for creative
mishap adventure, I agree to make six boxes.
I get out my trusty copy of Books, Boxes, and Wraps and set to work getting my measurements charted and listed. This is always a fun part for my analytical mind, because I get to work on graph paper, do a little bit of simple algebra, and generally make the world on the page a very precise and orderly place.
Then I actually start cutting things out, and this is where things begin to go off the rails.
The boxes are made from binder’s board – a kind of high density paper board that is cross-grained, a fancy term meaning that it doesn’t warp easily. Cutting binder’s board is one of my least favorite activities; it rates somewhere between running when not chased by a bear and cleaning a cat litter box. It is also a slow process, because the best way to cut oneself instead of the board is to rush. And so I set to work with my straight edge and blade, with as much patience and precision I can muster.
I cut out the pieces of Side B for all six boxes requested before I realize that the proper way of doing things is to make one entire box first. This is because if my calculations, or more likely my cutting precision, are off at all, I will have to cut every single piece again instead of making the mistake once. Have I mentioned how much loathe cutting binder’s board more than necessary? Actually, loathe doesn’t capture it enough. Maybe detest. Or despise. Aha! Abhor.
Muttering about how it would’ve been nice if my brain could’ve been so kind as to remember this a bit earlier (thanks for nothin’, brain), I prepare the rest of the pieces for one complete box. And as I had feared, my calculations or precision were off enough to need adjusting. To say I was irritated would be an understatement. With speed that my four year old would marvel at, I reassign the blame my ruler. I am working with increments of 1/32 of an inch – I had to mark the ruler because it didn’t bother with that level of accuracy. My inner 4 year old content that it wasn’t only her fault, I can move on.
With that whole fiasco behind me for at least this box and the appropriate notes made for the rest, I start assembling the boxes. I use a neutral PVA adhesive, since it dries relatively quickly but not instantaneously (good for when you have to adjust corners and the like) and also isn’t so watery as to cause boards and paper to warp and wrinkle immediately. Starting with one of the shortest walls (Side B again), I move in a clockwise direction, gluing the sides onto the base. Once all sides are on, I leave the boxes to dry under a coffee table book that hasn’t ever sat on a coffee table, mine or otherwise.
PHEW! Now that the hardest part is over, we can move onto better things. Right? Please?!
Stay tuned to this same bat-channel for the conclusion next week!