DIY Re-usable Gift Box using Vinyl and Free Flowers

VinylBox_Done_Low“Just buy a dollar store bag and save yourself time”, hubby said. But what’s the fun in that? OK, so I was kind of rushed, but it’s a different kind of rush right?


I salvaged a stationery box from work that fit my gifts perfectly, but of course it’s ugly. I amassed the largest pieces of scrap vinyl (salvaged from a sign store) that would go together.


I made sure the vinyl would cover the box with some excess on all sides, removed the wax, and placed the box right in the middle, using a bone folder to squish out the bubbles from the middle to the outside edges. Then I cut 45˚ slits toward the corners.


I brought the long flaps up, stuck it against the box and trimmed off the excess triangles, leaving a tab to fold over to the other side. This ensures you’ll never see the old box.


Then I adhered the short sides and trimmed off the excess all around.

My family and friends know I try to be as eco-minded as possible. I’ve had to ask for my xmas gift bags back and cushion their crestfallen faces by reassuring them another gift will come in the same bag next year. I don’t tend to do that with birthday gifts, so when my sis-in-law saw this box, the first thing she said was “Can I keeeep it?” and hugged it to her chest. I can’t tell you how happy that made me!

I’ve used this free flowers file for other projects in the past like cards and flower pots:

Transformer Birthday Card (Vinyl)

My most complicated die cut vinyl card to date – 5 colors and tiny details that added up to a card I hope my 11 yr old neffy-poo will remember. I got the vector file at Vector Junky but some of the details were so fine I had to open up the areas, as it kept getting caught in my blade.

FREE Soccer Jersey Placecard

Since blogging about the soccer themed place cards made for my nephew’s baptism, I’ve been asked about them numerous times. I used an electronic die cutter (Silhouette) to cut them out, but there’s no reason why it can’t be done by hand.

I’ve made a PDF with fillable name and number to print out. You can cut them by hand or use the SVG and DXF files on your electronic cutter. All 3 files can be downloaded here.

Please credit my blog and I’d love it if you could comment with a link to your blog or a photo of how your finished project  looks. Your enthusiasm keeps me inspired!

Gigi Cat Halloween Card in Vinyl

I loved the animation Kiki’s Delivery Service which featured a cat who had to pretend it was toy, and stay still even though a dog was nearby. In this scene only his eyes are warily moving which only made it funnier. I imagined it would make a great Halloween card with the inside greeting “Watch out! Halloween is coming!” Some readers have asked to see what the process is like to cut vinyl and assemble. In this case, since I made more than a few, it is best to cut many of the same shapes at the same time to save time and material (even though it’s reclaimed scraps of vinyl).

The 110 lb weight of black card stock was purchased at Opus, an art supply store and cut down to 10×7, then folded to 5×7. The paper came with the deckled edge, which I thought was appropriate for a spooky feeling.

Red Bow: Small shapes like the circle in the middle of the bow get plucked up while removing unwanted areas.

White Eyes/Ears: I flipped them upside down and amongst each other to again save material.

Body: The plus signs you see all over the place are registration marks. They help me align all these elements, which can be difficult to see through when using transfer tape. Transfer tape is like masking tape – less tacky, but tackier than the vinyl. After placing this tape on each element at a time, rub to pick up all elements, then put into position on the body, then remove transfer tape. The shiny black vinyl on matte black card stock is a wonderful effect, kind of like the Black Magic box of chocolates.

Birthday Cards in Vinyl

Saving these scraps of vinyl from the landfill gives me a total thrill because something so nice can be made from nothingness – kind of like a MacGyverism. Still learning which fine lines don’t cut well on vinyl. I was shocked brushed metal (kind of like heavy duty aluminum foil sticker material) is offered in vinyl and couldn’t wait to use it on the blue card – it just made it!

I used Adobe Illustrator to layout the elements, and Sillhouette/Craft Robo to cut vinyl, then manually aligned as straight as possible. The vector illustrations are free and found via these links: Lovely Flowers / Happy Space Pack

Die Cut Vinyl Transform Ugly Black Pots

I don’t want to buy nice pots because I want to move one day out of the townhouse and grow in the ground. Until then, these free black pots will have to do – but they don’t have to stay ugly! 2 down, 8 to go…

Baby Shower Card: Spit Happens

It sure looks easy when it’s all done, even to me. So let me record here the behind-the-scenes moments. I first worked on the bib. There is the actual cutting line, the stitching line, and the button hole. Each had to be on their own layer in Adobe Illustrator and their own settings (solid vs dotted, ink pen vs blade). Since the dotted stitching line is not the same size as the cutting line, it off-shifted the result on my first trial. Let’s just say, 4 attempts later, I succeeded.

Let me digress for just a moment. One attempt failed because my die cutter mat was losing it’s tackiness. I had been using a 20 year old roll of airbrushing frisket to gain back some adhesion (I rolled the frisket with sticky side up onto my mat and after peeling wax had a new clean surface), but it sometimes got cut through so it got caught up in the roller and my paper moved, hence attempt #4. I found another method online using Zig 2-way glue (blue when wet = permanent bond, clear when dry = temporary bond). It’s not bad but I find some residue comes off the mat and sticks to my papers.

The text was easy out of vinyl. Each part of the duck was a separate file and pass because they are all different colors of paper, even the wing and body. The orange was so thick it would not cut through even after 8 passes, so I finished cutting by hand. I cut the pupil from the same blue vinyl as text, but it was so small, I thought it didn’t even get cut. Let’s just say, my dreams of making cards to sell and getting rich quick is evaporating with the alarm clock chime – I think I’ll go blind first – but it was certainly worth doing for our new little nephew 🙂

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