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This travel book tote is cheap and easy to make while still being incredibly sturdy and lightweight; perfect to keep your tiny ball jointed doll and her things safe while you travel. Small enough to fit into your purse, but big enough that she can bring along her favorite outfits and toys!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
Small box (I am using a small box in the shape of a book with a magnetic closure, from Michael’s)
Cardboard box the right size for inserting into the larger box and holding your doll
Very sticky contact paper (you could also use paper, Mod Podge and a brush)
Needle with opening large enough for your chosen ribbon
Heavy duty glue
Doll you are creating the box for
Step One: Measure the Doll Compartment
Take the small cardboard box you will be using for the doll’s compartment and hold the doll up to it, with the feet at the bottom of the box. Approximately ½ an inch to one inch above the doll’s head, make a mark on the box with your pencil. This will be how long the doll compartment will be. You don’t want to get too close to the doll’s head, or getting her to fit into the compartment will always be tricky. Make sure you give yourself room to get her into the compartment.
Step Two: Mark the Doll Compartment for Folding
Now you’re going to continue your mark all the way around the box. Lay the cardboard box flat onto your work surface, with the mark closest to the table. Take your ruler and place it where the mark is. Making sure everything stays level, draw a line up from the mark.
Extend just a tiny bit of pencil mark onto the next surface, then flip the box so that mark is now closest to the table, and repeat up the next side of the box. Repeat this for the next two sides as well.
Step 3: Mark the Doll Compartment for Cutting
It is important that the doll compartment be very sturdy, so we are going to make this a complete box. You should have marked your cardboard box to be about 5 inches in length. Measure the width of the cardboard box you are using, and add the width measurement to the length of your box. In my case, the cardboard box is 2/12 inches in width, so I am going to add 2 ½ inches to the length of my box, making it 7 ½ inches in length. This will be where you cut. DO NOT cut on the markings made in Step 2. If you do, you will not have a complete box.
Step 4: Cut the Doll Compartment
Using your exacto knife, cut your box at the marking you made in step 3. Then cut on the folds of the box until you reach the markings you made in Step 2.
Step 5: Mark and Cut Your Box from a Closed Box to an Open Box
If your cardboard box is taller than your outer box, insert your cardboard box into the larger outer box, and mark the cardboard box with pencil where the outer box ends. Then cut along those lines, so that your box is now open, and you can insert a doll into it.
Step 6: Finish the Doll Compartment
Fold the flaps (that part of the cardboard that you cut in Step 4) in to create the bottom of the box, and secure with tape. Trim any extra cardboard. You may now cover your cardboard box with any paper or fabric you like. You may also add any fabric, paper or contact paper to the inside of the outer book box a t this time. Once you have covered each to your satisfaction, glue the cardboard box to the inside of the book box and set aside to dry.
Step 7: Create the Padding for the Doll Compartment
Cut a piece of batting the height and three times the width of your cardboard box doll compartment. In this case, my compartment measures 5 inches in height and 2 ½ inches in width, so my batting will be cut to 5 inches by 7 ½ inches. Fold the batting in thirds, width-wise.
Step 8: Cover the Padding
Cut a piece of fabric that is approximately one inch larger on all sides than your folded batting. In this case, my folded batting is 5 inches in height by 2 ½ inches in width, so my fabric will be 7 inches in height by 4 ½ inches in width. Place the fabric right side down on the table, and lace the folded batting in the center of the fabric. Fold the fabric in on each side, securing with duct tape as you go. It is important that you use as large a strip of duct tape as possible, as this is going to help keep the batting reinforced when we insert the ribbon in the next step.
Step 9: Add the Ribbon Holder to the Padding
Lay your doll on the covered batting and mark both side of her ankles and chest. I am choosing not to secure my doll at the neck joint, as she is delicate and I do not want to take the risk of breaking her.
Thread your ribbon through your needle and insert the ribbon at the markings made.
When you are done, this is what your padding and ribbons should look like:
Glue your padding to the inside of the cardboard box doll compartment and set aside to dry.
Step 10: Create the Shelf
Determine where you want your shelf to be, and measure the length and width of the shelf. Add on inch to the length and cut the cardboard. Bend the cardboard so that the extra inch can be glued to the side of the box for support. Cover the shelf with paper and glue into place on your box. You may need to clamp the shelf down while it dries. Here I am using a wood block and a piece of folded paper to apply pressure to the shelf while it dries.
Step 11: Add Decoration
Add any trims or décor you wish to help finish any exposed paper edges, etc.
Once the box dries, you are ready to carry your doll securely and in style!
Need help or have a question? Let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to help you out.