DIY

Do-it-yourself tutorials teaching you how to make awesome things for you home and office.

FREEBIE / DIY: Thank You Milk Carton Printable

Milk Carton Gift Box

The freebie I am posting today is not a poster printable, but a printable template for a milk carton gift box.  These little milk cartons are pretty popular as party favors at the moment, and I thought it would be nice to design one for you.  They come in all sorts of sizes and colors.  Since I wanted to make sure you would be able to print it on your home printer, this one fits on a US Letter size / A4 size piece of paper.  I decided to make a black and white one, since some people may not have a color printer or color ink.

What You Need

You need the following tools and materials to make your own milk carton with this template:

  • A US Letter / A4 size piece of paper.  Regular printing paper might be too thin, but you don’t want to pick something that is too thick either, because that might be hard to fold.  I picked a thinner card stock type of paper;
  • A printer (or you can have it printed somewhere else);
  • Cutting tools.  Although scissors would work, you may achieve better results with a crafting knife;
  • If you decide to use a crafting knife, you will need a ruler or something else that helps when cutting straight lines;
  • A crochet needle or a kitchen knife that has a blunt edge (I will explain this one later);
  • Something you can use to make a small hole for the string;
  • Any type of string you like.

Step 1: Download And Print The Printable File

You can use the following download links to download the file type(s) of your choice:

US Letter size:

JPG version

PNG version

PDF version

A4 size:

JPG version

PNG version

PDF version

Step 2: Cut The Paper

Cut your milk carton using scissors or, preferably, a crafting knife.  If you are using a knife, make sure to use a ruler or another tool that will help cutting straight lines.

Printed and Cut Milk Carton Printable

Step 3: Score Along The Fold Lines

This is where the crochet needle or the kitchen knife with the blunt edge comes in: use it to score along the fold lines.  Make sure to include the ones for the tabs and, especially, the dotted lines.  Don’t press too hard or you may scratch and damage the paper too much.  Don’t use anything that is too sharp either.  You may wonder what this step is for: scoring will make it much easier to fold the paper, especially when it comes to the top part of the milk carton, where the dotted lines are.  Use the ruler (or other straight tool) again to make sure you get straight lines.

Score Along the Fold Lines

Step 4: Fold The Milk Carton

This is the tricky part and you may not even get it right the first time.  Don’t worry, you will get there!  The easiest way to do this, is by first folding all the edges and the flaps of the milk carton.  Then you can secure the flaps at the side and the bottom of the milk carton.  Now comes the tricky part: the top!  The easiest way to do this, is by first pinching the dotted areas.  This may take some practice, and it really helps if you scored the paper as explained in the previous step.  It makes it so much easier for the paper to bend along the diagonal lines.

Step 5: Make A Hole And Tie The String

You are now ready to make a hole for the string to go through.  You can use any sharp type of object that allows you to make a small hole, such as a very thick sewing needle.  You can put something inside the gift box at this point, but you can always untie the string again and do that later.  I decided to place the knot a bit to the side instead of right on top of the milk carton, because I felt the loops looked nicer that way.

Done!

Well, that’s it, you’re done!  I hope you like the way it turned out.  If you didn’t get it right the first time, just keep trying.

DIY: Heat Embossing

Heat embossing tutorial

A few weeks ago, I discovered a pretty cool technique for creating cards: heat embossing.  It’s almost the same as using normal stamps and ink, but it creates a beautiful embossing effect that adds a three dimensional look.  And, although the example shown in this post is a Thank You card, you can use the same technique for creating decorative items for your home or office as well.

What You Need

You need the following tools and materials to follow the steps in this tutorial:

  • Card stock;
  • Embossing ink;
  • Embossing powder;
  • One or more stamps (I like clear stamps, but you can use other types as well);
  • A sheet of regular paper (printing or something similar);
  • A heat gun;
  • A heat resistant surface;
  • A brush (optional).

Step 1: Choose Stamp(s)

This is the easiest step of them all, or the hardest of you tend to have a hard time making decisions!  Pick one or more stamps you like.  Paper crafting and stamping are pretty popular at the time I am writing this, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find stamps.  You’ll most likely be able to find them at your local craft store, but you can also find a lot of nice stamps online.  There are several different types of stamps, but it doesn’t really matted which type you choose.

I like to work with clear stamps, because they make it a bit easier to position the stamp on the paper.  The image below shows a set of clear stamps still attached to a plastic sheet:

Clear stamps attached to a plastic sheet

You carefully peel the stamps off the plastic, and then place them on an acrylic block.  You can then use them like you would any other type of stamp.  When you’re finished using them, make sure to clean them before reattaching them to the plastic sheet for storage.  Warning: be careful with stamp cleaning fluids, especially if you’re using clear stamps!  Cleaning fluids can be pretty aggressive and can actually destroy your stamps.  Always read the label to make sure they can be used with your stamps.

A clear stamp on an acrylic block

Step 2: Ink Your Stamp

You need the embossing powder to stick to the ink before you start heating it, so you have to use a type of ink that dries slowly.  I like to use special embossing ink, which is actually clear.  No matter what color you use, your final image will be the color of the embossing powder, not the color of the ink you use.  You can sometimes enhance the color of the powder a bit by using colored ink, though.  Make sure you end up with enough ink on the paper to make the powder stick, so it’s best to press the ink pad against the stamp multiple times.

Ink your stamp

Step 3: Stamp Your Image

Stamp your image immediately after inking the pad.  Remember, you need the ink to still be wet and sticky for the next step, or the embossing powder won’t stick.  Also, make sure you already have the embossing powder within reach, so you can start pouring it on the ink before it dries.

Step 4: Pour Embossing Powder On Ink

Put your card on a regular sheet of paper.  I will explain why in the next step.  Start pouring your embossing powder immediately after stamping.  Make sure to use more than enough powder to cover the entire image.  No need to worry about wasting powder, I promise!

Pour embossing powder on your image

Step 5: Remove Excess Powder

Carefully shake the excess powder on the regular piece of paper.  It also helps to tap your card against the surface of your table to remove even more powder.  You might still notice very small amounts of stray powder.  I like to use a small brush to get it all off the paper.  Make sure to do this before you start using the heat gun.  After you have removed the excess powder, you can roll your regular piece of paper into a funnel and pour the powder back into the container.  If you do it this way, you will not waste anything.

Step 6: Heat Powder

This is where the magic happens: you will now start heating the powder.  But first, make sure to place your card on a heat resistant surface.  It’s called a heat gun for a reason: it gets really, really hot.  You don’t want to burn anything.  Most guns need about a minute to heat up.

In case you’ve never seen a heat gun before, most of them look like this:

A heat gun used for heat embossingAnd in case you were wondering if you can use a regular blow dryer instead of a heat gun: bad idea.  Unless you want to keep finding embossing powder all over your house for days!

Hold the gun about 6 inches away from the paper, and then start sweeping it over the image.  You can see the change as the powder melts.  Make sure not to keep the gun in the same position too long, or you may overheat and even burn the powder and paper.

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Done!

That’s it, you’re done!  I hope you like the result  You may want to experiment a bit with different types of paper and different colors of embossing powder.