Exploding Photo Box

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Day 16 – Cook, Craft, Create: December 2012

It was my husband’s 40th birthday on the 14 December, and as part of his gift, I gave him an Exploding Photo Box, so for day 16 of Cook, Craft, Create: December: 2012, that is what I am sharing with you :)

Exploding Photo Box | The Purple Pumpkin Blog

I didn’t know what an exploding photo box was until I saw one on Pinterest and loved the idea so much that I decided to make one for my husband for his 40th birthday. I love scrapbooking, but haven’t done any for a loooong time, so this was an ideal way for me to get back into it.

So I set up my iPad on my coffee table and pulled all my scrappy materials out of the back of the cupboard and started to follow the tutorial. I had already printed off my photos, finding 40 different ones of hubby (on his own, with me, or with me and my son) to provoke 40 memories for him – for his 40th year!

However, as I started to follow the tutorial, I knew it was going to be way too small for my photographs, so I had to start over and adjust the size to suit my needs.

Exploding Photo Box | The Purple Pumpkin Blog

I didn’t take step-by-step photographs of me making this, mainly because I forgot -___- but also because I was having so much fun decorating the pages I just didn’t stop to do anything else! I also had to make this is secret, as it was a surprise for my hubs, and worked quite quickly to get it finished in time for the big day.

I am going to try and explain to you how to make an exploding photo box, and provide a couple of diagrams that I’ve quickly drawn out to illustrate as best I can. I am more than likely going to make one of these again and will be able to provide a fuller tutorial for you.

It looks like it might be tricky to make, but really, it is quite simple – the only hard part is deciding how to decorate your box!

My box used 6 sheets of 12 x 12″ cardstock, and the lid used an 8×8″ piece of cardstock. You’ll also need your photographs, backing papers and other embelishments to decorate with. Plus glue, double sided tape and a couple of paper clips to hold the box lid in place whilst it is drying.

These diagrams are not to scale or size, but to help illustrate what I mean when I describe where to make scores and folds!

To make the pages of your exploding photobox, you are going to layer up several sheets of cardstock that have been cut out into a cross. Score lines 4″ in from the edges and then cut out the four corners. Fold the edges inwards.

Put the card colour you want to be on the outside of the box on your work surface (I used different shades of blue inside my box, and black on the outside.), then taking each cross of card, in turn, apply glue or double-sided tape to the centre square only and glue each piece of card on top of one another. The top most layer will then be the inside base of your box (I really hope that makes sense!)

You can then decorate each of the pages how you like. As I was decorating I wondered if it would have been easier to decorate each section before sticking together, but where I used quite a lot of 3-D embellishments, the pages, as I folded them up may not have worked properly…I’m not sure – it was the first time I’ve made one of these, so it was a bit trial and error!

With every page now decorated, it was time to make the lid – this too was a bit trial and error. As I said I used 3-D embellishments, and the first lid I made, just didn’t fit! You may find you have to adjust yours to fit your box better.

I cut down a 12×12″ piece of cardstock to 8×8″, and then scored lines 2″ from the edges. Then, turned the card over and scored lines in the small squares in each corner, from corner to corner (as shown). Then it was a bit of folding work to fashion the lid, and I hope me explaining it will make sense!


Folding inwards, push the two corner (now triangles) together and they will form a corner. Do this to the other three corners so you get an idea of how it will form into the lid. At this point, before applying glue/double-sided tape, check that it will fit your box! I used paper clips to hold in place while I fitted the lid to the box. If you’re satisfied that it’s all okay, glue/tape the two edges that form the corner together, then fold that to the side of the lid and stick there too (it will probably become apparent as you actually do it). Hold in place whilst everything dries with some paper clips. When dry, you can decorate the lid too. I used washi tape around the sides (gave some extra strength!), and created a cover on the computer, which I stuck to the top of the lid.

Exploding Photo Box | The Purple Pumpkin Blog

My husband loved his box of 40 memories (actually, it was 45 – I miscounted my pages!) and he was seriously impressed with my skillz!!! It was a joy to make for the man I love, and it’s rekindled my spark for scrapbooking – I’d forgotten how much I love that!

I hope to make more of these exploding photo boxes in the future – I’ve seen so many beautiful ideas on the net that I would like to adapt and make my own. They are such a personal gift and well worth the effort to make one. I hope you try and make an exploding photo box yourself!


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