How to Make a Cool Exploding Box Greeting Card

Gift box
fahima sultana chowdhury / Getty Images

If you're worried about the safety of a DIY exploding box, rest assured that it's much more harmless than it sounds. The term is used to describe paper box greeting cards that been constructed so that the sides cascade outward as the lid is removed. These creative cards are a fun and innovative way to personalize a birthday gift, an anniversary gift, or even boxes for wedding favors. Just change the color and theme of the paper or cardstock used to create them.

Because this is a DIY craft, you can customize this exploding box any which way you'd like. For instance, add tags that have been rubber-stamped with a special message or attach decorative embellishments, keepsakes, or mementos. If you are feeling exceptionally crafty, make a tiny box that holds the recipient's present and attach it to the center of the box.


For a sturdy end product and the best result, use thick cardstock.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Tacky or hot glue


  • Paper or cardstock
  • Embellishments of your choice


  1. Print or Create a Template

    Start by printing out the templates for the various sized boxes you'd like to use and transferring them to scrap paper to practice with first. If you've decided not to use a template, use your measurements to create your template directly on the scrap paper. Because exploding boxes are cascading boxes, you'll need to create a few templates of varying sizes: small, medium, and large.

  2. Trace the Patterns Onto Paper

    Once you have a good idea of how the pieces need to be laid out, cut, and folded, trace your patterns onto the cardstock or thick paper. To avoid wasting your expensive paper, print the templates onto scrap paper and place them onto the cardstock to make the most efficient use of space.

  3. Cut out the Cardstock

    After you have the templates traced onto the cardstock, cut out the exploding box pieces.

    Back of exploding box greeting card
    Rita Shehan
  4. Decorate the Box

    Decide which embellishments are going to use for your card and glue them to the base of the card. Feel free to make different designs, press on stamps, or write messages on the sides of the different sized boxes that you've cut out. You are only limited by your imagination.

    Decorated box simple box card
    Rita Shehan
  5. Fold the Box

    After you've attached your embellishments with glue and tape, fold the sides of the card box back as shown on the template. Make crisp and definite folds, as this will ensure that the sides cascade outwards effectively.

  6. Decorate the Lid

    Once you've created your simple base or have decided to have various sized boxes, it's time to create the lid. Add any special attachments or embellishments to the lid of the box before folding it. Leave a 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch space around the perimeter of the box top. You can learn how to make boxes with lids here.

  7. Tuck the Lid

    To finish the box, simply tuck the base into the lid. When the lid is removed from the box, the sides will cascade outward on their own.

    Folded and finished exploding box craft
    Rita Shehan