A New Twist to an Explosion box

Some explosions are loud and destructive.  Other explosions are silent and beautiful. Like a box that pops open and explodes confetti, only to reveal gifts, keepsakes, photos, candy or other items.

This tutorial and video will lead you through the simple steps of making a basic pop open template, made using sheets of card stock that sit inside each other. When folded up and the lid is on top, it looks like a normal gift box,  but with a twist by adding and constructing a way that confetti explodes from it when the lid is pulled off.  

Why It’s Cool

What’s more eye-catching than a unique handmade magic box full of surprises that when opened is like a booming firework?  An explosion box always looks beautifully intricate even the simplest styles look amazing.  It’s actually very easy to make, offering the best of both worlds. Your loved ones will love it when you give them this from the heart personalized gift, full of pictures, memories, and confetti that pops out when you take the lid off.  Opening up and revealing decorated elements and personalized messages all crafted by you.

Watch this video tutorial on how to make a basic explosion box with an added feature of confetti that exploded from it when opened.  This DIY project is much easier than it seems and doesn’t have a near-endless supply list. Before getting started you’ll want to consider the theme or occasion you’re creating the box card for.



Putting It All Together

The following is Instructions for a basic Exploding Box, and how to create the layers within the box. Opening to reveal photos, gifts, candy, messages or anything you can fit in it.


  • 1 12”x12” piece of heavy/sturdy patterned paper OR card stock. You want this to be strong, as it is the outside of your box. Double-sided is lovely but single-sided works as long as you don’t mind the inside border being white.
  • 1 piece of 12” x 12” heavy patterned paper or card stock for your cover. Again, make sure it is sturdy.
  • 2 pieces of 12”x12” coordinating card stock for the inside layers
  • Coordinating papers or scraps to decorate the inside pages (I recommend 5-6 additional patterns)
  • Embellishments and photos for your box
  • Paper trimmer
  • Adhesive
  • Ruler
  • Pencil

Gather Your Supplies:

Choose your papers first. It will be helpful to know which papers you want to use for your base layer, inner layers, and lid so there is no confusion later while cutting.  The finished explosion box will be a four-inch cube.

Outer Layer:

Begin with a clear workspace. Take your outer layer paper, a pencil, and a ruler. Softly mark your paper like a tic tac toe board at 4” marks. You should have two lines running horizontally and two lines running vertically.

How to make an explosion box

Now, fold inwards on those lines making sure that the side with your preferred outside pattern is in fact on the outside.  After folding cut out the four corners so that you are left with a cross shape, like the image below. Set aside all cut pieces for later use when you’re embellishing the pages.  

how to make an explosion box
Middle Layer:

Cut your middle layer paper to 10 ½”x10½ ”. Using your ruler and pencil make your lines at 3½ ” intervals. You will have another tic tac toe grid, only now slightly smaller. Fold and cut out the four corners as we did for the outer layer and set aside. NOTE: YOU CAN ALSO NOT CUT CORNERS ON EITHER MID OR OUTER LAYER AND CUT THE TOP OF A HEART OR SCROLLS.

explosion box tutorial

Inner Layer:

Cut your inner layer paper down to 9”x9”. Mark lines at 3” intervals and as with the other layers fold and cut out the corners as we have done for the previous layers so that you have a cross. Score the inner lines and erase the pencil marks.

NOTE: You should have three layers that look similar to this:

explosion box tutorial all layers


Trim your cover paper to just a smidge over 6”x6”. The “smidge” is to make sure the lid fits correctly over the walls of the box and I mark it at 1/16th of an inch. Even going to the 1/8th mark will make it too loose so just a tiny bit over the 6” mark.

explosion box tutorial lid

After trimming mark a 1” border around all four sides on the inside side of the paper.

Start at the lower right corner and cut up to the intersection. Do NOT cut the horizontal line. Rotate the paper 90 degrees and again cut up to the intersection on the vertical line.  Again rotate another 90 degrees and cut the third cut.  Continue to rotate one more time and make the last cut. Score along all remaining lines.


explosion box tutorial lid cut and folded


Now is when you can start to let those creative juices flow! Here are some ideas for each page can be:

  • covered with patterned paper
  • covered with a picture
  • stickers
  • Ribbons
  • inked
  • cut into shapes (one corner off, two top corners trimmed, circular edge, border punched, etc.)
  • matted for journaling

For your embellishing there is no right or wrong, let your imagination and creativity run wild if you like. However I do suggest that if you plan on inking or cutting the edges of your box, to do this before you adhere the layers together in the center. Try to vary the patterns and colors in an eye-pleasing way.

Here is what the completed box from the video tutorial with the confetti looked like.

explosion box tutorial finished

You can also embellish the center inner square or place small gifts fastened on a piece of cardboard and the inside of the cover, if you prefer not to use confetti. Oh and let’s not forget about decorating the outside of the box too.

When you are covering the side of the pages keep in mind if you would like some solid, lighter pages for journaling and I cut my papers ¼” less on the sides than the measurement of the most outer page (like if the outer page is 4×4 I cut my paper to 33/4 x 33/4) but completely your choice.   The most important thing is to have fun with it!

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