Diagrams: Tetra Box

Diagrams edited by Ian McRobbie
The Tetra Box made from a strip of kraft paper (heavier-than-kami weight). See PDF diagrams.

This box had a curious beginning.

In 2014, the owner of a small jewelry store asked me to design a gift box that could double as a Christmas-tree ornament. I created the Tetra Box for her, but the store closed, and nothing came of the arrangement.

Left: The closed box, as folded for an office-design firm. Right: Jeremy Shafer’s $1 Caterpillar Fireworks was the gift inside.

A year later, I was able to put the box to use when I was commissioned to fold 105 of them along with the same number of Jeremy Shafer’s $1 Caterpillar Fireworks as gifts for visitors to the showroom of an office-design firm. I’ve also used the box to hold earrings, going back to the original purpose of the model.

The Tetra Box is not for purists. It requires a 1:6 rectangle and a cut to remove excess paper after precreasing. If you want a loop, you will need a few drops of glue. The advantage of gluing on a loop is that it prevents the box from unravelling once opened.

A mailing from the Walker Art Center put to good reuse, and a box containing earrings.

I’ve made the box from light cardstock, Kraft paper, thickish junk mail and Yuzen washi (in which case I stiffen or backcoat the paper). A 2″ by 12″ rectangle gives a box with 2⅜″ sides. The exact paper proportion required is 1:5.4, but unless you are working with precious paper, it is easier to measure the 1:6 ratio and have a bit of paper left over.