How To Make A Wedding-Cake Card Box
Many times when brides are making decisions about reception décor, they forget about the gift table, and all the cards they'll receive at the reception. With the cost of mailing packages and letters these days, it's easy to see why many guests bring those things with them to the wedding. But where does the bride put them? It's not like she can mingle with guests, dance, eat cake, throw her bouquet, all while she's carrying around a stack of gifts and cards!
A separate gift table is the perfect solution, but then that leaves one more area at the reception that needs some décor. A nice gift table can be rectangular or round, although generally round looks more attractive, with a tablecloth to the floor where boxes and garbage bags can be stowed away for packing up gifts after the reception. Of course, then there is the question of safety of any cards people may drop off at the table, especially if they contain a monetary gift for the couple.
Many places sell decorative card boxes for guests to drop their cards into; these boxes can run anywhere from $20 to close to $100. A more personal and budget-friendly touch is to make your own card box where guests can drop their cards, to keep them secure until the bride and her new husband have time to open them
Supplies You'll Need
The card box we'll make resembles a three-tiered wedding cake with all the trimmings. Hopefully, if you do a great job on your box, your guests may mistake it for the real thing!
These are the supplies:
- Set of papier-mâché nesting boxes. Nesting boxes are of graduated sizes with one fitting inside the other. Make sure the smallest box is large enough so that you can cut a slot in its top that will easily accommodate the average greeting card.
- Glue gun and glue sticks
- Tacky glue
- Coordinating paint, wallpaper, heavy duty gift wrap, or scrapbook paper to cover the boxes
- Box cutter or X-acto knife for cutting the slot in the boxes
- Decorations: assorted trim, beads, sequins, pearls by the yard, silk flowers, etc., to decorate the boxes to look like a wedding cake.
- A ruler
- Paintbrush or foam brush
Cutting a Card Slot
It's up to you whether you want to cut your boxes first and then cover them, or cover them first and then cut. If you cut the holes first, your edges will probably be neater, but I did mine a little backward and covered the boxes first, then cut. I don't like having to tediously wrap and glue the edges under to cover them. If you choose to do it the lazy way as I did, make sure you have a very sharp box cutter or X-acto knife, so you will have clean edges. Then you will only have to go back and touch up your cut edges with paint.
Your smallest box will be the box that you will cut the slot in for cards, so make sure the slot is long enough to accommodate them. Mark your slot with a ruler and pencil; make it the length of a standard greeting card and no more than 1/2" wide. If you plan on putting a topper on your "cake," you will need to put the slot off-center and toward the back of the box top. Carefully cut the slot. If your edges are a little messy like mine, use your X-acto to clean them up.
Making Holes For The Cards To Drop Through
This part is complicated, so pay attention! Set that box lid aside, and draw a circle on the bottom of the box that goes with that lid, with about a two-inch border of box bottom left. Cut it out. Measure the width of the bottom of that box. This, minus an inch, is the size of the hole you will cut in the lid of the next box. You don't want to cut the entire bottom out, or cut it the same size as the box on top, or you won't have any edge to glue the boxes together.
Draw your circle on the lid of that box and cut it out. Take the bottom of that box and draw a circle leaving a two inch border around. Cut that circle out. Measure the width of the bottom of the second box. This, minus an inch, is the size of the hole that you will cut in the lid of the biggest and final box. Do NOT cut out the bottom of your biggest box or you will have a card avalanche! The holes don't have to be pretty, because when the boxes are stacked you won't see them anyway.
When you stack the boxes with the smallest box with the slot on top, you should be able to drop a card into the slot and have it fall all the way through all the boxes into the bottom box. Try it...if it doesn't work, you goofed!
Covering The Box
I used a combination of paint and wallpaper I had left over from another project to cover my box. I painted the rim of each lid to avoid having to cut pieces of paper to cover them, but I did cover the tops and sides of the boxes with the paper as well as the bottom of the bottom box. This wasn't necessary, but I like my projects to look finished! For the lids, all you have to do is lay the lids down on your paper and trace around them, cut them out and glue them down.
If you cut the slot and holes before you put the paper on as I did NOT, you will have to go in with your X-Acto knife, make a cut in the center of the slot and holes, fold under the cut edges and glue them down on the inside of your box. See why I didn't do that, that is for the OCD people!
For the sides, measuring is involved, because you will have to measure the height of each side and measure around the box to get the correct measurement for your paper before you cut it. I always add about 1/2 " of overlap just to be safe. Glue the paper to the sides.
Trim any overhanging edges on the box anywhere if necessary. Try not to worry about your edges if they're not beautiful, because you can always cover them up with trim, but do glue any loose edges down.
Decorating The Box...At Last, The Fun Part!
After all the torture of cutting and gluing, you now get to decorate your "cake!" The sky (your imagination) is the limit here, but do try to keep it in the style and tone of the wedding. If you used a smooth paper or just painted your boxes, you could go for the look of a fondant cake and add ribbons around the bottom of each layer and a loopy bow for the topper. If it's a fun kind of wedding with bright colors, you could cut polka dots out of scrapbooking paper or make a fun topper from a children's toy to go on your cake.
I chose to do a more elegant-looking cake. I took some 2"-wide iridescent ribbon cut into 4" lengths and made them into loops which I glued to the top box, making sure to stay clear of the slot, so as not to block access. I then glued three large silk roses on the top over the loops, just so they would peek out a little, and made small loops of wired pearls to tuck in here and there. I used the same wired pearls around the bottom of each layer to cover any ugly edges, and glued a strip of scalloped wedding-look lace around the edge of each box lid to look like decorative frosting.
I them glued all the boxes together and set them on top of a pedestal cake plate. Finally, to keep guests informed, I made a tent card from scrapbook paper, with the word "Cards" written on it in Vivaldi Script, so guests would know this creation was for cards and not try to eat it!
When the bride and groom are ready to look at their cards after the wedding, they simply take the lid off the bottom box and there they are! Beautiful and fun, and a unique way to keep those cards safe and in one place!