How to knit and finish sturdy gift boxes

Continuing with this week’s theme of knitting for the 2018 holidays with scrap yarn, I’ll show you how to knit little boxes that can hold jewelry, gifts, candy, and any number of little curios. Yesterday I showed you a crumb catcher doily knit with cotton. Today we’re moving into a wool and acrylic blend that comes in intense colors — meet Classic Shades Frenzy, in a box, literally. See my full review on Knitting with Classic Shades Frenzy, for all the details.

Classic Shades Frenzy

Little gift boxes can hold little curios and mystery gifts that will charm the recipient, or be the gift itself.

To make this little box with its own lid, you need to knit in the round on needles that are 2 sizes smaller than those recommended on the ball band. This reduces the drape and makes a sturdy fabric. You don’t want the sides of a box flopping over! I’ll also show you a finishing treatment that will help each part hold its shape.

These little knit boxes are perfect for making a holiday treat readily available.

The ‘recipe’ for knitting a box

Use any yarn you like, I used leftover yarn from 2017. Use either a circular needle with a long enough cable to work magic loop, or a set of dpns two sizes smaller than the ones you would usually use with this weight of yarn.

Box bottom

Cast on 48, 52, 56, 60, or 64 stitches. You can work with more stitches if the yarn is extremely thin, but the boxes will become less sturdier the wider they are. Be sure to work with a multiple of 4.

Join to knit in the round, being careful not to twist the cast on stitches, and knit 1 or 2 rounds. 2 rounds or more will create a curled edge, which may be just the thing you like.

Then purl 1 round to form a ridge.

Knit as many rounds to achieve the depth of the box you’d like.

To form the bottom ridge and corners you need to divide the total number of stitches you have by 4 and place a marker between each set of stitches. For example, with 48 sts, you’ll have markers with 12 stitches in between each. Then work the ridge row: [Slip 1, purl to next marker] 4 times.

Shape the bottom of the box

Decrease round: [K1, ssk, knit to 2 sts before the next marker, k2tog] 4 times.
Next round: Knit.

Repeat these 2 rounds until you have 12 stitches left.

Last round: Sk2p 4 times—8 sts left. Cut yarn, leaving a 6″ [15cm] end.

Using a tapestry needle, thread end through the live stitches in a circular manner, remove the circular needle and cinch the stitches tightly closed. Weave in both ends.

To make the box lid, make another piece by casting on 4 sts more than you did for the box bottom. This makes the lid large enough to sit over the box bottom.

Unfinished boxes waiting to be treated and blocked.

Most items you need to finish these boxes will already be in your household.

Finishing the boxes

The next step is to treat the boxes so that they stay firm. This is done with some common household items:

  • square shaped plastic containers about the size of your knit pieces
  • white craft glue
  • plastic wrap
  • a mixing bowl
  • a toothpick or other disposable stir stick
  • a protective sheet for your work surface in case the glue splatters

Here’s what to do:

  1. Mix equal parts white craft glue and water in the mixing bowl.
  2. Stir until there is no undissolved glue residue on the bottom of the bowl.
  3. Soak your knit boxes separately in water.
  4. Once they’re well soaked, squeeze out as much excess water as you can.
  5. One at a time, place the box pieces in the glue and water mixture.
  6. Soak for 5 minutes.

This bedraggled looking, glue-soaked little knit piece will soon take on a box shape.

Squeeze out as much of the glue and water mixture as you can then stretch the pieces over the square plastic container that is covered in clear plastic wrap. If you have plastic children’s blocks you can build squares that are just the right dimension to stretch tightly over the edges of your box.

Once the craft glue dries clear, you’ll have a sweet little box to hold other sweets and treats.

Find a sunny spot or other warm place to dry. These aren’t projects that you can make the night before you want to give the gift as it does take lots of time to dry. I was able to accelerate drying by placing them under the hot water radiators in my home.

Nothing like a little cozy warmth to dry off, but this time it’s your knitting that’s keeping warm.

I hope you try out some of these little boxes. Tomorrow we’re going to be using hyperbolic knitting to make a tree ornament.

This is part 3 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 2: Knitting a flat circle in the round becomes a crumb catcher

Go to part 4: Using hyperbolic theory to knit a holiday ornament

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