Don't Toss the Old Calendar - Make Gift Boxes!

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This time of year everyone has a new calendar, which means we also have an old one (or two or three) to take down from the walls and fridge, and wonder what to do with.  We spend a whole year with these beloved collections of images, and then most of us toss them in the trash come January first.

Well, don't throw out last year's calendar just yet! And while we're at it, hang onto all your holiday cards and birthday cards too. You can breathe new life into them with just a few folds and snips, and turn them into great little re-used, and re-usable gift boxes. I love this easy, green, vegan-friendly project, and I think you will too. These nifty boxes are easy enough to make with your kids. In fact, it was a nice young man of about 10 years old who taught me to make them.

You'll need to start with an exact square. The calendar I'm using today just happens to have nice square pages. If yours doesn't, it's easy to turn a rectangle into a square. Just follow theses steps:

 If you're using a card, cut it in half along the fold. If you have rectangular calendar pages, use two from the same calendar, so they'll be the same size.
 Lay one rectangle over the other as shown above, matching up the top and right side edges.
 Use the top rectangle as a straight edge, and mark a line on the paper underneath.
 You now have a perfect square to cut out, but don't cut it yet!
 Lay the paper you've just marked over the one you just used as a straight edge, and repeat the line-drawing process.
 Now you have two squares of the same size, ready to cut out.
 Cut along the two lines you've drawn.
 And now you have two perfect squares, and two rectangular bookmarks, if you want to go that far into re-purposing. And why not?

Okay. Now that you have two nice square pieces of paper, let's make a box. (And I want to apologize for my gnarly old hands. Eek! All those years of beadmaking really took a toll! Note to self: hand lotion before photo shoots, Kim...)

 With a straight edge, draw a line from corner to corner, in both directions. The lines don't need to go all the way to the corner edges.
 The center of the X is the center of your box, and the lines will be guides for folding.
 Start by folding the corner closest to you so the point touches the center of the X.
 Fold that side of the paper again, so the first folded edge lines up along the drawn line.
 Turn the paper around, and repeat the folding process on the opposite side.
 Unfold, and repeat the same folding process two more times, on the two remaining corners.
 You'll have a grid of little folded squares like this.
 The center area (marked in green) will be the inside center of your box. The lines marked in red are the lines you'll cut. The red triangles will be removed.
 Cut along the marked lines, being careful not to cut into the green center section.
 Cut out the red triangles. Repeat 3 more times, on all the red-marked lines.
 Your paper should look like this now.
 It's Magical Box Assembly Time! Fold the points of the two larger sides to the center of the X.
 Fold the tabs of both side up.
 Fold up the tabbed sides of the box and hold them together.
 Fold one of the flapped ends over the tabbed side.
 The flap will hold the tabbed sides together.
 Fold the other flap over the tabs on the other side.
 Use a small piece of tape to hold the points together in the center of the finished box.
 Make another box half, and put them together as a top and a bottom, or just use one box half as a bowl for small items.
 HINT - To make the box bottom easier to fit into the top, let your first folds overlap about 1/8 inch over the center line of the X. Then continue on, using the drawn lines as guides, the same as you would for the box top.

That's it. Here's what last year's calendar now looks like, beautiful and useful. Many thanks to Kathleen Brennan for 2012's bounty of beautiful images and inspiration.

To see the folding in action, watch the short video on YouTube. Have fun with these!

~Kim

More from me at: http://positivelyvegan.blogspot.com/

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