Four Wrapped Paper Projects

In this project, James Bertelson makes delightful wrapped-paper items from Japanese handmade papers, including a wrapped cigar box, accordion book, matchbox and greeting card.


Thanks to James Bertelson of Malden, Mass.

Materials and Tools:

Yuzen/Kozo paper
match box
Italian fine stationery
Fabrianio paper
museum 4-ply board
Arturo stock paper
cigar box
tree branches
card stock
Japanese Washi and art papers
sand paper
book binding board
match books
craft knife, Olfa blade knife
Yes! stick glue, Uhu Stic, Elmer's
stiff fashion brushes
bone file
cutting board
needle awe
wire cutters
paper cutter
sharp edge/straight edge


To make the accordion book card:

1. Select museum board. Measure and cut board pieces and stock paper. Select a Yuzen color combination and appropriate ribbon.

2. Cut Yuzen paper to correct size and cover museum boards. The museum boards will be covers but the Yuzen paper will also strengthen the binding of the book.


3. Measure, cut and recess the location where the ribbon will be placed on the museum board. One piece of museum board will be the "top" while the second board will act as the "bottom" or backing, which contains the ribbon.

4. Paste and glue the Yuzen to the board. Trim, cut and fold Yuzen to wrap over boards. Smooth and press firmly onto board.


5. Fold stock paper into the appropriate accordion size. Insert and paste ribbon into place. Glue the accordion paper onto the finished museum boards. Press and dry the entire accordion book.


For the matchbox greeting card:

1. Remove the matches from the box.

2. Cut pieces of Yuzen paper to build the match box. It will be wrapped and decorative tiny boxes will sit atop the match box. Museum board and 3/16-inch foam-core board will be used.


3. Measure, cut, fold and trim the two small decorative boxes. Wrap the match box with Yuzen paper.

4. Cut wooden strips to act as runners or "feet" for the box. Paste the wooden feet in place on the bottom of the match box.


5. Attach the tiny "boxes" on top of the match box.

6. Measure, cut and paste Yuzen to the match box drawer.

7. Allow all parts to dry for a day.


8. Punch holes into drawer and loop copper wire through drawer. The copper wire is part of the match box handle. Attach the wooden stick with waxed linen.


9. Cut a miniature card and attach a tiny decorative box atop the card. Place the greeting card in the match box.


To make the greeting card:

1. Measure and cut three 1/8" x 5/16" blocks of the museum boards. Wrap the blocks in Yuzen paper.

2. Cut a "foundation" out of Yuzen paper. Measure and cut wood sheets to frame the Yuzen blocks. Assemble the cut blocks and wood frames onto the Yuzen foundation.

3. Embellish with the addition of Washi paper, tree bark, polyester netting, dry flowers, etc.

4. Match the envelope and the back of the card with a small Yuzen design.


For the cigar box:

1. Clean the cigar box with baking soda.


2. Measure and cut museum boards to decorate the box top and inside panel. Select appropriate Yuzen and/or Kozo papers and colors. Like the accordion books above, build and paste paper to the museum boards. Fit together each museum board piece and arrange the color design.

3. With medium sandpaper, remove the stain/finish where the board will be glued. The museum board can only be glued to the "bare" wood of the box. Then glue the boards to the box.

4. If desired, the cigar boxes can be "dressed-up" with mini cards. Think of the decorative mini-cards as a greeting before opening the box.


5. Fill the box with greeting cards or stationery.


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