Explosion boxes – don’t worry, nothing incendiary is involved – have been getting a lot of attention in the world of papercraft for years. They can consist of a series of card types, incorporating a series of traditional pop-up card techniques, but they’re all based around a simple frame that opens (or ‘explodes’!) when you take the lid off. They’re real show-stoppers – and they’re SO easy to make on a cutting machine. Watch it go!!
What’s great is, though it looks complex, you can make this project with beginner skills (cutting and scoring and er…gluing!) If you make the full version with five sections, you’ll spend quite a lot of time applying glue – BUT the beauty of this is that you can make as many or as few layers as you want! Two or three layers will still ‘explode’, and you can make all sorts of different designs using these boxes!
To make a Chocolate-filled Hexagonal Explosion Box on your Cricut you will need:
- White cardstock (I used about ten sheets of A3 300gsm card – the pieces will all cut on A4 or letter-sized paper, but if you use A3 sheets then that’ll save you a few trips to the cutting machine!)
- Coloured cardstock (quite a bit of it – a nice large pad of colourful or patterned A3/A4 letter/tabloid-sized paper will go a long way!
- PVA Glue (though virtually any type of craft glue will work!)
- Glue dots (to attach the chocolate to the box – if you want to re-use the box, removable ones are a good idea)
- A lot of chocolate in various formats!
- Our file – you can get it at the CraftAGoGo Studio Etsy shop.
Equipment to Make the Explosion Box:
- Cricut Maker (or whatever cutting machine you have!) with fine point blade
- Scoring wheel (or stylus)
- Deep cut blade (optional – I find that for the thick card I’m using, the ‘cereal box’ setting, which uses this blade, yields the best results)
- A sticky cutting mat
- Wonder clips
Preparing the Cut Files for your Hexagonal Explosion Box:
- Open a New Project and click on ‘Import Images’.
- Choose the file you’ve downloaded – it’ll be ‘fullhexagonalexplosion.svg’ (or whatever format your machine uses). Your canvas will show the design (it’s quite large, and is probably going to be quite ‘in your face’, so do use the Zoom button (it’s sort of greyed-out at the bottom left of the screen) so you can see things from a bit further out!):
- Click on the design on the canvas and choose ‘Ungroup’ from the top of the right-hand margin.
- All five sizes of the box are here – so delete the ones you don’t want.
- Click on the line on the rectangle on the top left, and click on ‘Ungroup.’ Click on the line across the top of the rectangle, and choose ‘Score’ from the dropdown at the top of the screen (beneath ‘Linetype’). The line will now appear as dashed, indicating that it is now a score line.
- Left-click and drag over the rectangle and right-click. Select ‘Attach’ from the drop-down (or alternatively, select ‘Attach’ from the right-hand margin).
- This piece is now ready – but you need to cut it six times! Copy and paste it five times (you can right-click to select these options).
- The first hexagon (shown in green) is fine as it is, so move onto the larger hexagon (which has lines on it) to the right – this is the lid of the box. Click on the shape and select ‘Ungroup’. Now, convert the lines marked in red in the diagram below to score lines (as you did for the line on the rectangle in step 5):Left-click and drag over the whole shape and click on ‘Attach.’
- Make another copy of the pink hexagon change its colour (I’ve changed it to blue just for guidance!) and six copies each of the remaining two pink rectangles. Copy ALL of the pink rectangles again, and change them the same colour as the hexagon I changed to blue.
- Once everything is ready to cut, you will have the following pieces:
- If you’re creating the boxes in the other sizes, convert the lines and duplicate the pieces in exactly the same way for each.
- If you’re making the egg ‘stand’ in the middle of the smallest box, then convert the score lines in exactly the same way you did for the lid. It’ll look like this once it’s ready to cut. (Please note: the black hexagon in the middle will disappear the moment you convert it to a score line!)
Cutting the Pieces of your Hexagonal Explosion Box:
- Cut the pieces that are in the mint green colour in our file – and the egg stand piece (the one that’s in a sort of cream colour) – from the sturdy card (I used 300gsm white card) that forms the base of your boxes.
- Cut the pieces in pink from the paper on the outside of your boxes (i.e. the underside of the layers) and the outside of the box lid.
- Cut the pieces in blue from the paper on the inside of your boxes (i.e. the top side of the layers) and the inside of the box lid.
Assembling Your Chocolate-filled Hexagonal Explosion Box:
Making the Lids:
- Fold over all of the score lines on the largest hexagonal piece. Apply glue to one of the small triangular flaps.
- Fold up the adjacent flap and attach, to form the corner of a box. Hold in place (Wonder clips do this really well!):
- Continue until the whole lid is assembled.
- Apply your paper hexagon and small narrow rectangles (from the pieces that were shown as pink in the file) to the lid as shown (make sure there is an even white border around the outside):
- Now, glue the matching pieces (the ones that were shown as blue in our file) around the lid on the inside. Allow to dry (I’ve held mine together with wonder clips again!):
Repeat this process for all of the other lids you make.
Making the ‘Boxes’:
The ‘boxes’ are – until you fold them up and put the lids on – really a series of layers in this shape (in our case, five of them). To create this shape, we are going to glue the rectangular shapes to the hexagonal base. We could cut the whole shape in one if it was smaller, but since we can’t (due to cutting mat/paper sizes) then we’re going to cut it in sections and assemble it:
Anyway – let’s start!
- Take all of your remaining basic framework pieces (i.e. the ones you cut from sturdy card, that were shown in mint green in our file) and fold over all of the score lines (that is, a line at the end of each rectangular piece). Apply glue to the flap created by the fold, and position it (flap pointing inwards) along the edge of the hexagon, making sure you match the edges carefully. Hold or clip in place until it’s dry:
- Continue around the hexagon until the shape looks like the one at the start of this section! Apply your six remaining paper rectangle pieces (that were shown in pink in our file) to the rectangles on the ‘outside’ of the piece (i.e. the side on which the flaps can’t be seen), as shown: Leave to dry (I highly recommend that, at this point, you cover the piece with a heavy book to flatten it, so it doesn’t dry in a warped shape).
- Glue the remaining rectangular pieces (the ones shown in blue in our file) as shown:Leave to dry (again, flatten it with a book as it dries if you can!)
- Now, you’ve completed a ‘box’! Keep going until you have as many as you need, and the egg stand (if you’re using it!). The ‘egg stand is assembled in exactly the same way as the lid (it’s just taller and has circles cut from it):
- When you’ve finished, you should have a collection of things that look a bit like this:Time to bring on the chocolate!!!!
Putting Your Chocolate-filled Hexagonal Explosion Box Together:
- Take the smallest piece, and put the ‘egg stand’ piece on top. Add the chocolate eggs (later I added chocolates, using glue dots, to the blue panels too, as otherwise they don’t open when you take the lid off!)
- Bring up the sides and attach the lid. You’ve now got your box! Put it on top of the next-largest layer, and apply chocolate (or whatever gift you want!) to the sides as shown. All you really need to do is ensure it’s heavy enough (and in the position) to flap open when you remove the lid.
- Bring up the sides again, and attach the lid.
- Repeat…until you’ve finished! Don’t worry if your boxes ‘bulge’ slightly – you can avoid this by resizing the boxes (they’re vector files, so you can easily do this)…however, a degree of ‘bulging’ is necessary if you want the sides of your boxes to open dramatically as you remove the lids! So…here’s our bulging box three:
- And four:
- And the last one!
And here’s what it looks like when you’ve taken all the lids off!
Want to have a go yourself? Get our file at the CraftAGoGo Studio Etsy shop.
And don’t forget to let us know how you get on making this or our other projects in the CraftAGoGo Crucial Crafting Facebook group!