Artist’s Packaging Tips / Sara


‘I thought I’d pass on how I customise my boxes, maybe it can provide some handy tips.’

DIY Custom Gift Boxes for Shipping Fragile Contents.

I found that I needed to create customised boxes that would display different ceramic figures for gift giving and also hold them firmly in place when being shipped around the world. Exactly the right box dimensions for a range of different items are hard to find, especially when I wanted them to be recycled, so by making inserts for the interior I found that my pieces could be raised inside for display and also held safely in place for shipping.

I start by making a paper template for each figure I make. I save and recycle any clean and tidy corrugated card from boxes that have been sent to me and then use the paper template to cut multiple card inserts in one go. A good steel rule and the sharpest craft knife is essential. The insert is wider than the box on each side by the amount of depth I want it to have. I also mark through the template where I want to fold the card and use the steel rule to impress a fold in the card so it bends nice and straight along the line.

I have taken a photograph of some of my textured pottery to print A4 sheets to cover the insert with. It is grey scale at the moment because I refill my cartridges and the colour one has unfortunately temporarily clogged up. I spray the back of the printed sheet with spray mount glue and then add it to the smooth side of the card. Cutting the paper larger than the template means I can fold it over any ugly corrugated edges and create a neat line. Rounded shapes just need plenty of cuts away from the edge of the card to get the paper to fold over in a smooth curve. I also don’t cover the card along the edges where it folds down so it can be glued securely to the box walls with a hot glue gun.

A strip of the same card folded into an L shaped wall beneath the middle of the insert makes everything completely rigid so it can be glued securely to the box walls with a hot glue gun. With strategically placed ties around the contents, either to the insert or the bottom of the box, and then double boxing with biodegradable loose fill, my figures withstand all the heavy handling given to them by the shipping companies.

Nothing is wasted, I then use all the printed paper offcuts for accenting my jewellery packaging and any bits of card go to light the wood-stove in the workshop.   My boxes are as recycled/biodegradable/compostable as possible while working around a prehistoric theme, but the methods could easily be transferred to other styles, graphics and materials.

About destructivetesting

I'm a self-taught artist who prefers to use found objects in ways that were never intended. I'm not interested in making 10 or 100 of the same object. This, of course, takes more time to make each piece. I also prefer a more minimalist look, where each part of a piece can be appreciated. I consider my clocks to be small sculptures with moving parts. And, my lamps to be small sculptures with light. My mirrors are reflective sculptures. DESTRUCTIVE TESTING means to push something to it's limits to understand it's structural performance or material behavior under different stresses. I interpret this in my artwork as using materials in different ways or combinations than they were designed to be used. I also just like the slightly ominous sound of the term...
This entry was posted in artist's tips, business, ceramics, other artists posts, recycled, sculpture. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Artist’s Packaging Tips / Sara

  1. It would be great if you had a picture of this unique packaging. I’m trying to imagine it but can’t get a fixed picture.
    After a while of scouting for good size cardboard boxes on the street I got tired of the spent time and mess and found a great source of 100% recycled boxes:
    Having 4-5 set sizes that I can work with makes packaging a lot easier for me.

  2. Sara says:

    I’m in the UK and searching for recycled boxes took ages here too.

    These UK companies provide recycled gift boxes and packaging, between the three of them you can source just about anything.

    Corrugated boxes are harder to find if you don’t want re-used or other people’s old print runs. The best I could find is 80% recycled here:

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