the accident of the little lid

I’ve been letting my inner packaging nerd have its own way this evening. I need to wrap up Lava Flow in order to submit it on Friday, and the question of how best to do this has been preying on my mind in the wee small hours. It’s too long and thin for a standard box size and it’s too textured to be rolled like a scarf. In the wee small hours one can devise all kinds of fantastical methods for dealing with such problems but I think the option I’ve gone for is pretty straightforward: a homemade box.

On Sunday I bought a standard flat pack box at Staples, but, rather than fold it along the designated lines, I have cut it up into long pieces. Because of those designated lines, however, it wouldn’t be terribly stable just made of cardboard. So I commissioned the trusty Stuart to cut up some cheap battening to make the sides of the box. (It doesn’t need to be very deep, after all.) And then I glued the batten pieces to the cardboard and Stuart let me play with the clamps. Woohoo! I like the clamps. The base of the box now looks like this:

My first thought for the top of the box was just to use another rectangle of cardboard and staple it into the battens, but the packaging nerd rose up and pointed out that this was not a very flexible format and that a proper lid would be preferable. So, while the first two lengths of batten were adhering, I made a lid.

Can you see the problem? The lid is in fact wide enough — it’s just sitting away from the clamps — but, yes, it is about 7 cm too short.

Slaps forehead and has a cup of tea.

New lid.

It’s a bit hard to tell for sure (the clamps being now attached to the other two sides), but this one does seem more promising.

I’m planning to line the box with acid-free paper and then stitch Lava Flow gently to the bottom with some nylon line. The main challenge between now and Friday is to make sure that nobody chews either box or lid. Especially not the lid.

the accident of the little lid” was posted by Cally on 26 July 2011 at

Creative Commons License

4 Responses

  1. Meg in Nelson
    | Reply

    What a great post! And good for you for sticking with what you think works.

    I don’t think it would have suited this piece, but for the textile exhibition I helped hang and take down earlier, a lot of the more 3D pieces were packed in Styrofoam cases of various sizes and shapes. We have a big sea food industry here in Nelson and I thought the packaging store would no doubt have some of those to be purchased in small quantities, too. I’m also a package/stationary nut, so I’m curious to find out more. (And then I’d have to make something 3D so I will have a need for them? No, didn’t think that far….) But Styrofoams are lighter to post, too.

    As to the chewing…. I have no comment. Just feed Stuart lots of cake! 🙂

  2. Evelyn
    | Reply

    great construction technique!

  3. Sandra Rude
    | Reply

    Good job on the box! Sometimes a masterpiece takes a couple of tries 🙂

    As it turns out, I decided not to send my piece off to the Elements exhibit, but rather keep it in my booth at the next few shows I’m doing over here. I’m sure that Lava Flow will do a splendid job of representing textiles in the exhibit.

  4. Cally
    | Reply

    Good point about the styrofoam, Meg. I had thought I might use blocks of it for the box sides, but couldn’t find anything suitable locally (or in the mountain of miscellaneous packaging in the house…)
    Fortunately, I’m only taking this down the road to put in the back of a van, so I don’t need to worry about the weight.

    Of course, there’s no knowing whether it will be accepted, but there are a few weavers submitting work which is great – there has to be fabric in a show called “Fabric”, doesn’t there?

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