I was always told to prize gifts that people had put time and effort into. Hoping my SO shared the same view, I decided to make her a little something for her birthday.
Being creatively barren, I attempted plagiarism.
I remembered seeing this Kickstarter project ages ago. It’s based on an old parlour game: the idea is to conceal little messages inside a nice-looking block, to be popped out with a pencil when the recipient feels like it.
Now, that Kickstarter project is long since finished but I reckoned I could have a pretty good go at making my own version. Here’s what I ended up with so you can decide whether to keep reading or not:
I know, it looks like shit doesn’t it? Don’t worry: they’ll be blown away that you made the effort 👌.
The structure of the block itself is really simple: it’s just a square-ish cut of wood with holes drilled through. Rolled up notes are inserted into these cylindrical holes, and we stick crêpe paper on both faces to hold them in place.
To make the object a bit more appealing, we’ll add some patterned paper to the top and bottom of the block, with holes pre-punched in it. This makes it easy to see where the notes are hiding, and hence where the recipient should poke a pencil to get one out.
Lastly, we’ll use washi tape – basically patterned sticky tape – around the edge, to keep the crêpe nice and tidy.
This shows a cross-section of the completed box:
What we’re aiming for here is a wood block with holes drilled in it, and patterned paper with holes in it that exactly match the layout of holes in the wood block.
To do that, we’ll sandwich the wood and paper together (using two sacrificial wood blocks to prevent tear-out) and drill holes in the wood block and patterned paper at the same time. This guarantees the holes in your paper will line up with the holes in the block.
Here’s how the wood-paper sandwich looks before and after drilling:
To ensure that there wasn’t an unsightly crêpe paper join at the edges of the box, I cut the bottom piece of paper too big and wrapped the excess up and around the sides of the box. That way the top piece of crêpe met and overlapped with the bottom piece.