This page will show you the basic steps to assemble one of my hatboxes.  I have used a plain colored paper to cover this sample to help keep the photographs clear and simple.

This covers only the covering and assembly of the box and lid, and the attaching of the cording handle.   Individual boxes will be decorated differently, according to the kit design.

Just follow the steps one by one, and see how easy it is to turn that hatbox kit into a wonderful work of art.

If you have trouble printing this page, use the link below to download the lesson in PDF format.



Your kit will contain four cardstock pieces. Cut out each piece around outer lines.

On the lid side and box side, there is a straight line just above the notched area.  You need to score this line.  Place a straight edge ruler over this line and score with a needle tool, needle, stylus or other sharp object.  DO NOT cut thru the cardstock, just score well so that folding will be easier.
Using sharp scissors, cut away the clips across the long edges of lid side and box sides as shown here.
Box sides and lid sides ready to cover. 

A Note about gluing.  To apply your paper artwork, I have found that mod podge works the best.  If you do not have this available, use a thin white glue, and a soft brush.  Apply the glue evenly over the entire piece, making sure to spread glue to the very edges of the piece.  Do not allow puddles.  Place paper carefully, and be sure to smooth down into the glue well, removing any bubbles. 

Your artwork has been treated with a sealer to protect the printed design, However, you must use care not to get glue on the outer surface of the design, as the glue WILL remove the ink.  Keep your hands and your worksurface clean when gluing artwork

Artwork will vary from kit to kit, but each piece will be labeled as to the cardstock piece it is used to cover.  Find the artwork for the lid sides.  Cut out and fold this piece carefully, right sides facing out, lengthwise.

Open the paper out, and place the cardstock lid sides piece inside the paper.  Notice that there is excess paper extending beyond both ends of cardstock.

Now that you have the position figured out, apply glue to the back side of the cardstock piece, and glue in position shown in photo.

With the remaining edge of paper folded out flat, fold under and glue ONE END of the paper.  Leave excess paper extending on other end of piece.
Apply glue to remaining surface of cardstock.  Note that you are only gluing the solid area, not the notched edge below the scored line.

Fold paper down into glue and press well.

Covered lid sides.  Notice that both sides are covered, one end is finished, and the second end has a paper tab still extending from beyond the cardstock.


Apply glue to one side of box side, from the scored line UP to the top of the box sides.
Apply paper for box sides to the glued side of cardstock. The bottom edge of the paper should be placed even with the scored line.  Paper will extend beyond BOTH ends of the cardstock.

Always be sure to smooth paper down into glue well.

Turn piece  over and fold one end over and glue into place.  Apply glue to the remaining edge of paper and fold over the top edge of cardstock and smooth into place.

Photo shows covered box sides from the inner side.   Note that one end has a finished edge, and the other has a paper tab extended. 

If you purchased my hatmaking tool kit, it's time to discover what that strange white form is for.  If you don't have the tool, try to find a suitable substitute to shape your piece around.

Begin with the box sides.  Place this piece around the white shaper tube.  Scored edge of piece should be even with top edge of the tool.

Remember your two ends of the piece??  One is folded under (finished) the other has a tab of paper extended.  Apply glue to the paper tab.  Pull the piece tightly around the form, and place the finished edge of the piece overlapping the glued paper tab.  You will see that the actual ends of the cardstock will butt up perfectly, and the tab serves simply to attach the pieces without overlapping the heavy cardstock.

If you are using your own tool, please make sure that the ends of the cardstock only meet, and do not overlap when gluing this seam

Wrap a couple of rubber bands around the piece to hold in place while the glue dries well.

Using the opposite end of your tool (the end with the silver coating to shape and glue the lid sides.  THis end will result in a lid that is just slightly larger than the box base.  (Important if you want to get that lid on and off!!)  Overlap the folded end of the cardstock piece over the paper tab and glue in the same way you did the box sides..  Wrap with rubber band to hold till dry.
Gently fold down the notches on the box lid sides.  Apply a tiny bit of glue to each notch.
Apply cardstock lid to top, lining up outer edges evenly.  Use your tool as a guide and feel carefully around the lid to make sure that the circle is positioned properly,
Turn the tool over and press firmly on a hard surface to anchor the lid top into the glue.


Apply the box bottom in the same manner, repeating the last three steps for the box bottom and sides.


Glue paper artwork to lid top and box bottom.  Apply paper artwork to inside of lid, and inside bottom of box to cover notches.

Notice that the entire box is covered, no raw edges exposed.

When dry, gently remove the box top and bottom from the tool.

I'm using the hatbox from the April kit to show you here how to apply the hat box handle.

Use an x-acto, awl pointed scissors or very large yarn needle to make holes in the sides of the hatbox.  Make the holes spaced evenly across the hatbox from each other, and make sure that they are low enough on the box that they are not going to be covered by the lid when it is placed on the box. 

Place glue on each end of your cording and twist to make a point and to prevent unraveling. 

Tie a knot in one end of the cording.  Beginning from the inside of the box, thread the unknotted end of the cord thru one hole.  Then thread two jump rings onto the cording.




Pull the cording up snugly to the desired length.  and tie a knot in the end of the cording.  Clip off excess.  Pull the cording handle from the outside so that the knots are against the inside walls of the box.

Place a tiny bit of glue around the hole on the outside of the box, and slide a jump ring up against the box and into the glue.  This gives a nice finish to the hole.  Repeat for other side.

Each of our hatboxes is trimmed and embellished in a different way. Now that you have completed the basic construction and attached the handle, you can go back to your lesson to see how to trim your particular box.