Crafting Handmade Paper Boxes for Gifting
With Margaret Burnham, Owner of MargueritaMom’s Boxes on Etsy
Editor’s note: We think boxes such as these would be a great personalized way to gift your handmade jewelry!
Paper Boxes as a Business?
Q: Did you originally set out to sell boxes, or did your business evolve as the boxes sold well?
A: I never meant to make boxes to sell. The boxes were actually a rejected idea for centerpieces for my daughter’s wedding. I got the idea to create nesting boxes one day when I was trying to see how small I could make a box. My largest box is a traditionally sized 4×4×2″, and the smallest is 5⁄8×5⁄8×3⁄8″—“chicklet-sized.”
Q: What are the best methods to make efficient use of paper?
A: Never throw away scraps. I can make the smallest two-piece box out of two pieces of paper, each 1¾” square. I sort my scraps and cut them to uniform sizes from 1½” to about 7″, which can later be used to make whole boxes. With the strip-sized scraps, I offer to make bows at
Inside Tips on Acquiring Paper
Q: What is the best way to get a good deal on paper?
A: Since so much of my business is custom, I try to have an assortment of colors and patterns on hand. I watch for 50% off coupons that can be used to buy pads of 180 sheets of paper. This works out to about 5 cents per sheet.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge to mass-producing boxes?
A: I’d love to recruit my family and friends to start making boxes for me, but for now it’s just me! This business started as a therapeutic craft, and I opened my Etsy shop as a way to keep my collection of boxes from growing out of control. I still enjoy making boxes as a means of artistic expression and hope that doesn’t change if the business grows so much that I have
a difficult time keeping up with demand.
Customize for Your Customers
Q: What is your process for working with customers on custom orders?
A: Communication is key. I ask a lot of questions, especially about the boxes’ intended purpose, not just the color and size. I have created boxes with fortune cookie bits of wisdom in each, nested boxes with money inside, and even a set that was used to progressively propose to
a girlfriend! I love trying to come up with ideas for the use of my boxes.
Q: What tips do you have for jewelry makers who want to start making their own boxes?
A: Be prepared to spend as much creative energy on the packaging as on the jewelry. I don’t consider boxes to be just gift packaging; they are carefully chosen artistic expressions.
Learn how to strengthen your jewelry business through smart packaging. Check out the on-demand web seminar The WOW Factor: Designing an Effective Branding Strategy by jewelry artist Kristina Hahn Eleniak.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF ED AND MARGARET BURNHAM.