Build a Custom-made Clamshell Box for Your Book

Clamshell boxes are custom-fit cases made for a precious bound book or set of books. They provide a stylish and professional appearance, while offering the...

Clamshell boxes are custom-fit cases made for a precious bound book or set of books. They provide a stylish and professional appearance, while offering the necessary protection against harmful light, dirt, and usual wear. Follow this tutorial to learn how to make your own cozy clamshell book box.

Supplies

whatwhatwhat

You can also use book cloth in this tutorial to cover the outside of your box. Typically, the material chosen for the outside of the box should somehow match or complement the book it will encase. For example, if your book has a cloth cover, consider using a flattering book cloth for your box. You will still need a handmade paper to line the inside. Click here for a tutorial on how to make your own archival book cloth.

The Anatomy of a Clamshell Box

A clamshell box is composed of three important parts: a small tray to hold the book, a large tray to close over the small tray, and a case that hinges the two trays together. It is crucial to build your box in this order because each piece is measured according to the one that goes before. Where do the measurements for the small tray come from? Well, since this is a custom box, it all starts with the book.

1. Measure Your Book

Step 1

Measure and record the height of your book. This is the side of your book that is parallel to the spine. Round up your measurements. If you round them down, your book will not fit its box.

measuremeasuremeasure

Step 2

Measure and record the width of your book. This is the side that runs perpendicular to the spine.

0b_clam_shell_box_measure_book_width0b_clam_shell_box_measure_book_width0b_clam_shell_box_measure_book_width

Step 3

Measure and record the thickness of your book (also known as the width of the spine).

measuremeasuremeasure

Repeat steps one to three to ensure your measurements are correct. This will save a lot of possibly wasted time and materials.

2. Determine the Size of the Small Tray

Each tray is made from one piece of board that is scored and folded to make the sides. To figure out the size of the trays, you will have to do a little math. Double check and clearly label all measurements to prevent any mistakes.

Step 1

Take the height of the book and add two times the thickness, plus two times the thickness of the binder’s board. For example, the height of my book is 11cm, the thickness is 2cm and the thickness of my board is 0.2cm, so 11 + 4 + 0.4 = 15.4cm. This will be the height of the small tray piece.

Step 2

Take the width of the book and add its thickness plus the thickness of the binder’s board. The width of my book is 13.2cm, so 13.2 + 2 + 0.2 = 15.4cm. This will be the width of the small tray piece.

3. Determine the Size of the Big Tray

Step 1

Take the height of the small tray piece and add four times the board thickness, plus 0.8cm to provide some wiggle room for the small tray. My small tray is 15.4cm and 4 x 0.2 = 0.8cm, so 15.4 + 0.8 + 0.8 = 17cm. This will be the height of your large tray.

Step 2

Add four times the thickness of the binder’s board to the width of the small tray. This will be the width of your large tray. 4 x 0.2 = .8cm and the width of my small tray is 15.4cm, so the width of my large tray is 16.2cm.

4. Cut and Score the Tray Pieces

Step 1

Using your measurements calculated in the previous two sections, cut the small and large tray pieces from the binder’s board. Make your cuts as straight as possible or your box will be crooked.

cutcutcut
cutcutcut

Step 3

To make the walls of the small tray, take the X-Acto knife and score a line along three sides that measure your book’s thickness away from the edge. To score the board, cut only half way through the thickness of the board. It usually takes around three to four passes with the X-Acto knife to make a good score mark.

scorescorescore
scorescorescore

Step 4

Make the sides of the large tray by scoring a line across three sides that measures the book thickness plus 0.3cm.

cutcutcut

Step 5

Cut off the four corner squares that were created with your score marks.

CutCutCut

5. Fold Up Your Trays

Step 1

Take the tray pieces and fold the edges along the score marks. If it is not easy to fold, check the score mark and make sure it is cut halfway through the board.

foldfoldfold

Step 2

Make sure that your trays and book fit correctly by placing the small tray in the big tray, and the book in the small tray. If the trays do not fit, you will have to go back, check your measurements, and make the proper adjustments.

MakeMakeMake
MakeMakeMake

6. Make the Tray Covers

Step 1

To make a tray cover, you will first have to mark the perimeter of the tray onto a piece of your cover paper. On the cutting mat, lay down the handmade paper you chose for the outside of the box. Place the small tray on its side, 5cm away from the edge of the paper. If your paper is deckled (the edges are uneven), place the tray 7cm away from the edge.

PutPutPut

Step 2

Roll the small tray along its three walls and make a mark on the paper with your pencil or X-Acto knife.

rollrollroll

Step 3

Mark the width of the cover by measuring two times the thickness of the tray plus 6cm. Again, add at least 2cm to this measurement if your paper has a deckled edge.

measuremeasuremeasure
measuremeasuremeasure

Step 4

Cut the tray cover.

CutCutCut

Trim off the deckled edges if your paper has any.

trimtrimtrim

Step 5

Repeat steps one to four to create the cover for the large tray. You should now have two folded trays and two tray covers.

RepeatRepeatRepeat

7. Cover the Outer Walls of Both Trays

Step 1

Grab your small tray, small tray cover, glue brush, and glue.

GrabGrabGrab

Step 2

Apply glue to one of the side walls of the small tray.

ApplyApplyApply

Step 3

Place the glued wall down onto the tray cover so that there is 2.5cm of paper sticking out from the bottom and the open side (the side of the tray without a wall).

placeplaceplace

Step 4

Rub the glued wall down with the bone folder to smooth out any air bubbles.

RubRubRub

Step 5

Continue to glue the cover to the two remaining walls of the tray. Pull the cover tight while gluing to keep the cover flat and smooth.

ContinueContinueContinue
ContinueContinueContinue

Step 6

Trim the cover so that an even amount is sticking out on both sides.

TrimTrimTrim

Step 7

Repeat these same steps to cover the outer walls of your large tray.

8. Cut Flaps in the Tray Covers

Now that the outer walls of your trays are covered, you will need to make some necessary cuts in order to wrap the rest of it. Think of it as if you are wrapping a present, but with glue.

Step 1

Take your scissors and cut straight down each of the corners of the cover. There are two on the top and two on the bottom of each tray.

cutcutcut
cutcutcut

Step 2

Turn the small tray on its side so that the bottom is facing away from you and the open side of the tray is facing your left side. On the flap that is on the table, make a straight cut that starts 0.2cm down and 0.2cm in from the left side of the wall.

makemakemake

Step 3

Then make a diagonal cut that is 0.2cm above the left corner of the wall and connects to the straight cut you made.

makemakemake
makemakemake
makemakemake

Step 4

Repeat steps 2 and 3 on the other side of the small tray, and on both sides of the big tray.

Step 5

Looking at the open side of the small tray, hold down the bottom flaps, and cut straight into the fold lines. This will create one flap to cover the wall, and one to fold up over the tray. Do this step for the large tray as well.

holdholdhold
holdholdhold

9. Glue Down All of the Flaps

Now that all of the flaps for your covers have been cut out, it is time to glue them down.

Step 1

Start with the bottom of the small tray. Glue the three bottom flaps down and rub with your bone folder.

GlueGlueGlue
GlueGlueGlue
rubrubrub
GlueGlueGlue

Step 2

Two tabs should be sticking out from the bottom flaps. Glue each piece and fold them onto the inside of the tray.

glueglueglue

Don’t forget to rub the glued area with your bone folder.

glueglueglue
glueglueglue

Step 3

Glue down the tabs sticking out from the sides of the tray.

 glue down the tabs sticking out from the sides of the tray  glue down the tabs sticking out from the sides of the tray  glue down the tabs sticking out from the sides of the tray

Step 4

Glue the remaining flaps to the inside of the tray.

GlueGlueGlue
GlueGlueGlue

Step 5

Repeat these steps to finish covering the large tray.

RepeatRepeatRepeat

10. Line the Inside of the Trays

Step 1

Take the paper you’re using to line inside the box. Cut a piece that has the same height as the inside of your small tray, and the same width plus 2cm.

CutCutCut

Repeat this step to make the liner for the large tray.

CutCutCut

Step 2

Glue the liners onto the inside of the trays.

GlueGlueGlue
GlueGlueGlue
GlueGlueGlue

Step 3

Rub the liners down with a bone folder.

RubRubRub

Step 4

Fold the flaps over and glue them to the bottom of the trays.

FoldFoldFold
FoldFoldFold

11. Cut the Board Pieces for the Case

Step 1

Cut two pieces of binder’s board that measure 0.5cm wider and 1cm higher than your large tray. These pieces will make the front and back sides of the case.

CutCutCut
CutCutCut

Step 2

Cut out a third piece of binder’s board measuring 1cm higher than your large tray, but with a width equal to the thickness (or outer depth) of the large tray. This piece is the spine of the clamshell case.

cutcutcut

Now you have all of the pieces you need to make the case.

nownownow

12. Cover the Case

Step 1

Take the leftover paper you chose for the outside of the box, along with the case pieces and two scraps of binder’s board to use as a spacer.

materialsmaterialsmaterials

Step 2

Arrange the three case pieces onto the cover paper with the spine in the middle. Use the scraps of binder’s board to measure two board thicknesses between each piece.

ArrangeArrangeArrange
ArrangeArrangeArrange

Step 3

Trim the cover paper so that it is 3cm wider on all four sides of the arranged case pieces.

TrimTrimTrim

Step 4

Remove the case pieces and apply glue to the cover paper.

RemoveRemoveRemove
RemoveRemoveRemove

Step 5

Arrange the pieces down on the glue, using your board scraps as a spacer. Make sure your boards are lined up straight or the finished box will be crooked.

ArrangeArrangeArrange
ArrangeArrangeArrange

Step 6

Trim off the four corners of the cover paper by placing a board scrap 0.2cm, or one board thickness, away from each corner and cutting with your X-Acto knife.

TrimTrimTrim
TrimTrimTrim
TrimTrimTrim

Step 7

Fold the side flaps over and onto the case boards.

FoldFoldFold
FoldFoldFold

Step 8

Work the cover around the corners of the case boards with the tip of your bone folder.

WorkWorkWork

Step 9

Fold the top and bottom flaps onto the case boards and spine.

FoldFoldFold

Work the cloth into the spaces with your bone folder.

workworkwork

Step 10

To finish covering the case, you will need to cut one last piece of the cover paper that is about 0.5cm smaller than your case on all sides. This piece will line the inside of the case and cover the spine piece.

cutcutcut

Step 11

Glue and place the last piece of cover paper to the inside of the case. Center the piece so that there is an even space on each side.

GlueGlueGlue

13. Glue the Trays to the Case

The last thing we have to do is glue the trays onto the case.

Step 1

Glue the bottom of the small tray.

GlueGlueGlue
GlueGlueGlue

Step 2

Place the glued side down onto the right side of the case with the open side facing the spine.

PlacePlacePlace
PlacePlacePlace

Step 3

Make sure the tray is centered on the top and bottom, and flush with the spine of the case.

MakeMakeMake

Step 4

Turn the case and glued tray upside down and apply pressure to allow the glue to bind.

TurnTurnTurn

Step 5

Follow the same steps to glue the large tray to the case.

FollowFollowFollow

Step 6

Center the large tray so that it is flush with the spine and folds over the small tray.

CenterCenterCenter

Step 7

Close the box and apply pressure.

CloseCloseClose

Step 8

Let the box dry. If you have a big book or another flat heavy object, set it on top of the box to help the glue bind better.

LetLetLet

Enjoy Your Custom-Made Clamshell Box

Well done, you’ve now created a custom-made clamshell box for your special book. You can use these skills to make boxes for other objects as a storage option, or for gift wrapping.

completedcompletedcompleted
completedcompletedcompleted

Did you try this tutorial? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave any questions or comments in the section below.

Source: crafts.tutsplus.com