Portfolio Case

This is a wrap around box made out of 2mm grey board. It unfolds like the Phase Box and is relatively simple to make. It is not so suitable for large books as it would open out too big.

You can cover this box in strong paper or thin fabric. Make your own bookcloth or buy bookcloth from an online supplier. This demo uses envelope paper to cover both sides of the case.

The grain direction of all materials should be consistent and run from head to tail (north - south).
1. Start by measuring the book you want to make the box for – height, width and depth – in millimetres. Draw a plan of the 9 pieces on a scrap of paper to look like above and jot down the sizes of each board – see below.

Tips on cutting 2mm grey board by hand

Measure and cut the 9 pieces as follows:

1, 3 and 5 : height x width of book

6 and 9 : width of book x half the height (minus a millimetre)

7 and 8 : width of book x depth of book

4 : height x depth+2mm (or thickness of board if not 2mm)

2 : height x depth+4mm (or twice thickness of board)
2. Stick all the pieces down onto your covering paper with a 4mm gap between the boards. Keep them straight and measure as accurately as you can. Turn the thing over as you go to check the boards are sticking well and that there are no bubbles forming. Then, lay a ruler up to the edges of the board and trim all round to about 2cm. (Save some of the offcuts for later.)

3. Cut from the corners of the middle board, through the turn ins, at an angle of 45 degrees. A set square with a 45 degree corner is useful for this.
4. Also, use a corner cutter, to cut away triangles on all the outer corners of the turn ins. (Save four of these triangle offcuts for later)
5. One by one, glue up and stick down the turn ins. Work the corners and edges in the same way you would do on a hard cover book.
6. Take four of the offcut triangles and cut each one as shown: fold the triangle in half and snip off the top to make the cut away shape.
7. Use these pieces to finish lining up the borders on the middle board. Make sure the offcut triangles go right up to the edges and push them into the gaps between boards.
8. Cut some strips of paper or other lining material big enough to cover the four side pieces and gaps (and on to the boards). Push these pieces gently into the gaps as you stick them down.
9. And then finish the box by cutting four pieces of paper to size and sticking to the inside of boards. Cut them to be about 1mm shorter than the boards as the paper will most likely stretch a bit when you glue it. Leave the box to dry under a board to keep it flat.

There are various ways to make a clasp for this box to keep it closed. A belly band is easy and fun but you could try burying magnets under the lining material or adding cloth ties. In Japan these boxes might be finished with a bone clasp. There are many variations to the design – some boxes miss out the top and bottom flaps or have an inner wrap of thinner card.

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