Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Boxgasm - for perfumers, aromatherapists, bath and body manufacturers, chandlers. What the heck is a boxgasm? Well, read below and you may have one.

Project Boxgasm Announcement: If you are an artisan who makes perfume, bath & body products, aromatherapy products, candles - you can now make your own custom boxes!


The Natural Perfumers Guild wishes to share this discovery with everyone, so please share the link to this blog with other groups, forums and chat places you may frequent.  The more the merrier - let's upgrade our products to the next level, with lovely, custom boxes!  I am the President of the Guild, and I like to roam social media sites and check out, and "like" the various projects and announcements of the Guild members.  Little did I dream when I visited a Facebook page of one of our members, a page that only had 21 followers, since it's new, that I'd discover something that can help all artisan small business owners. But there it was, an iconic image out of South Africa - custom perfume boxes!

When I called some members of the Natural Perfumers Guild and told them about the discovery that they could now start making their own boxes for their products, they either screamed, moaned, said "wow wow wow" or "oh my god, oh my god, oh my god."  I mentioned this to the fourth member, as she started moaning - I said everybody seems orgasmic, this is so exciting and fulfilling for y'all".  She said "well, we're all having boxgasms!" Credit this sassy term to Lisa Coburn, who gave this creative, catchy name to the phenomena. To date, Aug. 23, only Elise Pearlstine,(click here for Elise's blog on the boxes)  Emily Pienaar (click here for her blog on the boxes) and myself are ready to blog about this.  I expect several other Guild members to join in the next week or month. We just wanted to get this out to the general artisan community asap.

If you're not an artisan in the fields mentioned above, you might wonder what all this is about. Practically every member of the artisan bath and body community I've spoken with over the years has told me they have spent hundreds of futile hours searching the Internet and trade shows for boxes for their products.  There are some box makers to the trade, but their minimums run from 1,250 up, and that's just ridiculous for our small businesses. Lisa in LA and Noelle in Toronto had just been to trade shows the week before I called and didn't find one suitable box. Not one. Many B&B and perfume folks just use jewelry boxes, pouches or pillow boxes. Oh, and let's not forget the organza, satin and other little bags.

You want to get your products into a store? Great boxes will help you get in. Boxes also protect perfume from light, which can degrade the perfume.  We needed boxes desperately - and now we can have them.

So here's the story, and it's a great one....including lots of details on the process, links and ideas.


Emily Pienaar of Rose en Bos Fine Fragrance

On July 30th, Guild Professional Perfumer Emily Pienaar, of Rose en Bos Fine Fragrance, The Western Cape Perfumery in South Africa, posted on Facebook  that she had her new bottle and box photos up. I knew Emily had taken advantage of the Guild bottle buy in April, so I went over to her page to look. She had stunning black boxes with red foiling. Now, I knew she had only purchased maybe 100 bottles, so I wondered how she got custom boxes, and I wrote her.  Imagine my shock when she wrote back "my mum made them on a little machine." What?!

 I wrote back for details, saying we don't have anything like that here, what is it?  She wrote back "I grew up thinking you had everything in America!" It was a scrapbooking die cutter called a Cricut - and it's made in the USA!  I had seen them on TV, and knew they cut paper, but never put it together.  It seems 99% of the artisans I know hadn't, either, or they would have been using it and I would have noticed more custom boxes.  I have no connections in the scrapbooking world, so I had no idea about all this. Wow, so easy,   so accessible!

Her mom Ros said she used a software program that was not allowed for use with Cricuts in the USA because of a lawsuit, so she sent me to the webpage for Make-the-Cut software to see what machines were sold in the USA and could use the software.  I spent days researching the different machines, and settled on an eCutter, made by Craftwell  in purpleberry.  They have a lovely choice of colors.  They also have great videos of the machine on the website.

eCraft Purpleberry die cut machine

Ros kindly shared her .svg (Scalable Vector Graphic aka SVG in the scrapbooking world) file for Emily's boxes with me, Elise, Lisa, Noelle, Kat, Stephanie and Chris so we could get an idea of what a box layout looks like. I've included how to measure a box and how to use a ruler (helps on the weird increments I had forgotten how to measure) below.

Click to enlarge


How to measure for the SVG template to die-cut your boxes


Note: Box dimensions are always inside dimensions and must be stated in the sequence of length, width and depth.

The length is always the larger of the two dimensions of the open face (flap opening); the width is the smaller. The depth is always the distance perpendicular to the length and width, and is measured from the inside of the box.

I needed this, since I was out-of-practice using a ruler. Click to enlarge.
The above were images from a box website, and it's for regular cartons.  Note the difference between those boxes and a perfume bottle template, such as Ros/Emily's. 
The eCutter was $400, and I wanted to spend $300, tops, so went to a discount site, and found it for $249, and was ready to buy, but decided to check it out a little more on scrapbooking forums before I bought. It got great reviews, and, on a blog linked to scrapbooking forums, I found a link to Cutters Creek, a small business in Maryland, who also had them for $249, with free drop shipping from the manufacturer. Plus, since she's a small business owner, I was able to get the owner, Kim, on the phone to answer my final questions about the machine. Always support a small business owner!

The eCutter from Craftwell will cut tissue paper, paper, cardstock vinyl, chipboard and fabric. It cuts materials up to a 1/4" thick. It can cut and draw at the same time. Make sure if you check out other machines that they have that ability, if you want that feature.  It's the new geneation of digital electronic cutters which have freed scrapbookers from having to use a stickymat and handcut their project paper - and it's a boon to us artisan product manufacturers! Turns out with the Craftwell machine I don't have to buy the Makes The Cut (MTC) software, since my machine has software built in.  It connects to my computer, or can work alone.

I had to go to Michael's hobby store to get some supplies in before the machine arrived. I found a "scoring board" (see below) which I will use until I get my graphic artist to figure out how to use the draw feature for automatic scoring, some paper and odds and ends for my research and development (R&D) phase. The standard paper for cutting machines is 12" x 12" (figure in a 1/2" border). I found the paper at Michael's ok for the prototypes, but I'll probably want heavier cardstock paper for my final boxes for my fine fragrances. The Craftwell machine has an adaptor that will allow you to load a roll of 12" wide paper on it, but I don't think that will work with heavier paper.  I could only do so much R&D in the time period allotted - I wanted to get all this out asap so y'all can start experimenting.

The machine arrived. I was soooo excited, and wondered if I could get it working right out of the box. I could! I was happy using the on-board software to cut out some simple forms, like hearts and stars. I was still waiting on my .svg software box design files and Elise to come over before we could really get into box-making.


My first cuts - easy!

Using Emily and Ros's SVG template, set at a smaller scale than the original, we had quick success!
You have to have your bottle measured, have a graphic artist draw the box design up on Adobe Illustrator (AI) and then save it for you as a SVG file. When it arrived from Stephanie, my webmistress, and Tim, Elise's stepson, we got to work.  We figured it was good to have two artists working on it, because it's the R&D phase, and there's bound to be a switchoff from one to the other in how they approached and executed the designs.

The Process

We had to practice feeding the paper into the machine, and determined the auto feed from the back tray was the best, not feeding it manually from the front. Lisa Coburn asked how I dealt with the fact that the paper measurement guide (a plastic piece that fit inside the feeder tray) kept trying to feed itself into the machine, causing a real racket.  Well, Elise and I never used it!


We had a lot of success with the cutting and were delighted with all the colors and sense of accomplishment.  So much fun for an R&D template project ;-)
Since we don't have the score lines programmed in yet, we had to manually press in the score lines with this scoring tray.  The white stick is called a bone folder, and you use the point to "cut" across the paper in the appropriate groove. 

Then we use the flat edge of the bone folder to actually fold the score lines.
 

The double-stick tape has a red backing which is peeled off. I am going to look at alternatives, since this was very time consuming.  Glue sticks or pens will probably work well.
Box with sticky tape on seam, ready to fold.


My existing labels do *not* look good on these boxes, but these are just R&D prototypes.  Chances are you'll have to completely redesign your color scheme and labels, too.  Still, the excitement of creating store-quality boxes (except for the leaner on the right) was something I'll never forget.  I'll bet when you get your first boxes finished, you'll never forget that either.

One designer gave us great tabs, which are necessary to hold the box closed when the flaps were tucked in. One had the measurements more tightly aligned to what we needed. One gave us a flat bottom flap when we needed one that tucked in. The designs were great, though, especially since it was their first time designing boxes, and we currently have our feedback in their hands, and we'll go forward once the SVG files are tweaked.  If you know AI, you're in luck, you can create your own, but if not, most graphic artists will tell you it takes maybe a half hour to create your design, and that's affordable. Factor in the cost of a tweak or two before you get your perfect SVG.

Emily uses corrugated paper inserts to stiffen the box. That is an alternative that I may consider and keep using the softer paper.  You can buy the corrugated paper in 12"x12" sheets and have an SVG design made for it.

The blade that does the die cutting is very sensitive to the setting you give it, otherwise, a low setting of three may not cut a thicker cardstock/paper, and a higher setting will tear up the paper.  Be prepared to mangle a lot of paper and cardstock. You need to practice a lot. Craftwell has videos that will help you with the settings. It can be set so sensitive it will cut a sticker from the backing paper and not cut the backing paper. Amazing.

McCoy Paper catalog - did they know I'd be celebrating? ;-)
So on a long worksession Sunday, Elise and I tore through a lot of paper, got a lot of successful cuts, and used the scoring board, double sided tape and some labels to produce BOXES! These are just prototypes, and I will be buying heavier weight paper from McCoy, a company I just discovered when I was googling.  Turns out their papers are rated among the best in the world, especially their silk finish, so how can I resist, with that name? ;-)


Turns out there are stores nearby where I can go and look at the McCoy paper in person. Now on to the options for design.  Have the paper printed? Use the pen to draw delicate scrolls on the box? Get a printer to use my cut out boxes (not assembled) and create a plate that will allow the printer to emboss and foil my boxes, like Emily does? Use this technique and try to emboss on my own? Elise is thinking she might like cut out designs on her soap boxes so the customer can see the beauty of handmade natural soaps.

I'm also thinking that if I get sturdy vinyl, maybe I can get an AI/SVG file with my logo and perfume name cut out, lay it over my bottles and hit it with sandblasting/etching spray.  Part of the reason I've been so excited is that my head is full of creative ideas.  My existing labels, which I used on tan recycled boxes that I have been using, and not loving, since they were softer paper and I had to stuff pretty tissue paper in them to make the bottles steady, look awful on the prototype boxes, no matter what color.  Elise played around with matte clear labels and those look good on the matte finish neutral color boxes.  However, I'm thinking a silk to shiny finish paper might be better, because the matte ones seem to show fingerprints, but then, maybe the shinier ones will, too.  R&D will take some time, and it will for you too, but don't you feel excited now that you can take one of the most important, previously-elusive components of your packaging and take control of it?

Lisa, Elise and I, the three that have actually played with the machine, realize that we have to completely re-do the graphics and aesthetics for our businesses. Color, font, texture - everything has to be redesigned.

Some considerations:

Economic:  

The initial outlay is for the machine, papers and maybe the software, if your machine doesn't come with it.


Paper costs:  I can fit three of my 15ml bottles on one sheet that costs $0.69-$0.99/each and six of my 3.5ml bottles.  More could fit, but when there are too many jammed on there, the cutting blade can have "too many nodes" to work with. I think soapers can get two boxes on each sheet. The costs are easy to absorb for perfume, and I believe the brand image upgrade with soap and other B&B products can justify the cost.

Adding corrugated paper liners adds to the cost, and they'll be respective to the number of items you have already fit on the sheet.

Designer costs:  Graphic designers per hour fee can vary greatly.  I need to check this out more, but I think the Make The Cut program is all you need, and some training on it, and then you'll be able to be create your own templates.  Ros, Emily's mom used it, and I need to get back to her on the learning curve.  The eCutter comes with its own software, but I haven't figured that out yet.  It should be simple, but I was so carried away with research I didn't have time to sit down with it. I will and post about it.  Knowing how to make your own templates will also help you be immediately responsive to a custom perfume bottle, if custom perfume is part of your business.

Software costs:  MTC is around $54 and you need to check carefully to see if your machine comes with an alternative, as mine does.  If you live outside the USA, you can use the Cricut with MTC.  If I understand correctly, Cricut doesn't produce a cartridge (don't understand that bit) to aid in box design/cutting, so the MTC is needed.  AI is pricey, and has a steep learning curve, as I understand.

Lisa discovered after she got her eCutter that there isn't a program for her Mac yet.  She may just purchase a PC notebook, which is inexpensive, especially refurbished ones, to start using the machine. So, check before you buy - is the machine compatible to your computer?

Some final thoughts and links

Elise and I used 1/4" double-stick tape to seal the side seams of the box, and hated it.  Very time consuming. We'll experiment with glue stick or glue pens next time.  We also had to score each line and can't wait until that is done by the machine.


I love the thought of embossing/debossing and will experiment with that.  In this video, the scrapbooker seems as excited by this method that was described to her, and that she successfully completed, as I was discovering the die cut machines. Since the eCutter draws and cuts at the same time, I need to perhaps draw in the score lines and turn the pen upside down to impress in the scores.  Maybe. Not sure that will work.


I'm going to take photos of Emily's boxes around to local printers and ask about the foiling process. There's another way to foil.  Using a laser printer for the text/images, and using a heat iron foiling process.  I'm just not sure that the paper to be cut can be registered properly and go through the laser printer.


Summary

I think this is the most exciting discovery for our businesses that I can remember in my lifetime, except for the Internet, which helps us get our supplies and sell online.  And to think it all happened because last year I saw there was a natural perfumer in South Africa, and I felt she might be isolated, so I offered her a one-year membership in the Natural Perfumers Guild. She took part in our bottle buy, and then posted the pictures of the bottles and boxes on her Facebook page, which only had 21 subscribers at that point in time.  I am so thankful that I was able to recognize something that could revolutionize our small businesses and have the audience to bring it to, complete with links, images and prototype ideas.

Links

  I was going to include a lot of scrapbooking links, but instead I'm encouraging you to search for yourself like I did because you'll probably find treasures and ideas that way.  Don't forget Youtube where there are thousands of videos on methods and tips. Just google scrapbook die cut machine also.  Good luck and be sure to share the link to this post to all the Yahoo groups, forums, social media you may be on because this discovery will help all of us in the artisan community.  Upgrading to beautiful boxes will help all our brands and heighten the perception of our products in the eyes of the public.
The Natural Perfumers Guild is happy to share this custom box information with everyone. Enjoy! 



Leave a comment before Friday, Aug. 26th, noon, EST USA, about this boxgasmic discovery and you may be chose to take part in a private chat group as we figure out how to create SVG files for ourselves, so we won't need a graphic artist!

79 comments:

  1. Very cool Anya..I like the idea you have a lot of choices of papers and design for all sizes of boxes...amazing..thank you for sharing this with the perfume world. You are very generous...

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  2. Wow! This is amazing:) thank you for sharing Anya!

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  3. Oh my goodness! Im having convulsions!!! I was hoping it would be something like this!
    I have spent a small fortune on boxes (around $2000 each run). Sooooooo excited! Going to buy one ASAP.

    Just a couple of tips: use a 300-400gsm paper stock. Even if your product isnt heavy, the box will hold its shape better, and flaps will stay tucked in. (The finer/smoother the board, the higher the gsm should be)
    Professionals glue the flaps by machine. It might just pay to contact one of these companies and find out what type of glue they use (essentially its the same type of system as a peel-and-seal envelope).

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  4. JoAnne, isn't this exciting? Happy to share.

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  5. Naheed, spread the word because everyone can benefit from this. Are you a perfumer or B&B person?

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  6. Liz, thanks for those tips about gsm. I wonder if that's what we call lb weight here. Now, I want you to think of what you've having as a boxgasm, dear, not a convusions, LOL!

    Thanks for the glue sniffing - you know what I mean ;-)

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  7. Congratulations Anya! Well done. Too bad about the Mac factor. Have you looked into glue dots and strips at Uline or other wholesale suppliers? They are pretty strong, come in different types for different uses.
    start here:
    http://www.uline.com/Grp_247/Glue-Dots?pricode=wf740&gclid=CJ6Ytsvk5qoCFeReTAodylOb6A

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  8. Wow Anya and team, this is great!! I am not a professional perfumer but I have been trying my hands at perfumery (pretty much learning from reading and experimenting) in my little corner - mainly mixing solid perfumes. To know that there is a gadget with which I can make my own boxes for packaging is wonderful!!! The freedom to decide on color, texture, shape and size presents endless possibilities. Thank you Anya, Thank you Emily, Thank you research group. I love the spirit of collaboration in the Guild - "the total is really greater than the sum of the parts!" Congratulations!!!

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  9. Katlyn, I have glue dots, and they are kind of messy to deal with too. I'm the type that fumbles, the glue strip/double-sided tape folds back on itself, somehow gets entangled in my hair, etc, LOL. Thanks for the suggestion, though, because I'm sure someone who is not as fumble-fingered as me can use your suggestions!

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  10. I learned about the Cricut machine from a cardmaker a summer or two ago, but, I had NO IDEA it could be taken to this level. Thanks so much for the in depth description, Anya!!

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  11. Aba, how much excitement can you take in one week? A visit to Alexandra's Strange Invisible Perfume boutique, and now this? LOL!

    Isn't the store of how this came to be just wonderful?

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  12. Meant to say *story*, but I still had SIP store on my brain ;-)

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  13. Hi jackie: Yes, I realized that somehow this hadn't "clicked" here in the USA, or many B&B people would have been using it. Scrapbooking is HUGE, so I wonder why the connection wasn't made. Well, it is now, so spread the word.

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  14. Great article! I'm starting to looking into making my own boxes for my handmade soaps. Found a lovely design but thought how many can I make by hand before my hand falls off? i know! Will definitely look more into this.

    Another thing to look into is called Artists Books. It's an art class on creating story books using origami-techniques.

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  15. That is super super dee duper cool, Anya! What a great example of innovation and collaboration. I'm excited to share this and see what beautiful things people do! Congratulations on this wonderful new discovery. It will help a lot of people!

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  16. And wow! You went to Alexandra Balahoutis's shop too? What a banner week you are having. If you took photos, I'd love to see. I am an admirer of hers.

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  17. dM, no, I didn't go. My writing can be confusing, I know. Aba, a member of the Guild from Ghana, comes to the US once a year, and went to SIP and then got excited by boxgasm. Two great Guild happenings for Aba in one week!

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  18. dM, from the moment I realized what this meant, I've been on a natural high. Waking up at 6:30 in the morning, full of ideas. Just elated. Adrenalin can do wonders. I feel this is historic, because it's the first time that artisans have the power to control their packaging, and let their creativity run free. It really will take everyone's businesses to the next level.

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  19. Michael Singels8/23/2011 11:31 PM

    What an ingenious idea! Much thanks to Emily, Ros, Anya, Elise, and all the other Guild members for sharing! It opens such a new and exciting solution for packaging.

    Michael

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  20. Indeed this is exciting Anya, thanks!. I have depended on a local Scrapbook store for several packaging ideas including tiny little boxes which the owner cut out for me. It never occurred to me to get my own machine!

    I agree, the double-sided tape is irksome but necessary because it's so strong and keeps those flaps sealed tightly.It would take a special glue to do the trick.

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  21. Anya, you are a woman of rare vision and drive. I have seen you go from one helpful project to another, while others are just human and look out for themselves, you are superhuman. Bravo! This is historical. Can I nominate you for Queen of Natural Perfumery?

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  22. I'm going to sit down with Gin and read this tonight! Looks very very interesting!!

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  23. Amazing resource. Thanks as always for broadening our capacity as natural perfumers!

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  24. Really neat! So great to give more power to the people!! Thanks for sharing all your research! xo

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  25. This rocks!! I've been cuttings boxes and tags by hand, which is outrageously tedious... I am so excited by the possibilities here =) Thanks for sharing!

    -Rose

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  26. Wonderful boxasmic news Anya! I had bought a Spellbinder Wizard machine years ago, hoping to use it for something like this, but never did. I have also put together templates on my Adobe Illustrator to print and cut - too labor intensive. Now they have software!!! Even better! I am quite familiar with AI and translating it for various uses, as I design and print all my own labels. A suggestion for gluing the boxes - office supply stores sell an applicator with double sided permanent "glue tape" that is quite easy to apply - roll it on where you want it, no blue tape to peel (just google for glue tape). I have some of this too!

    Thank you again for sharing your research and discovery!

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  27. Anya you and your team are truly amazing in bringing this creative tool to artisans everywhere. Surely beats 1000 to 5000 box minimums!

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  28. Was turned on to your site from an herbal friend. Thank you for sharing!

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  29. Finding a good packaging supplier is the number one question I am asked so its great to know about this resource for small business. I'll be sure and send people to this very nice article.
    Happy Packaging!

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  30. I have had my eye on a die cut machine by Stampin' Up for over a year now. I just wasn't sure it would be cost effective. Now I am convinced...I need one!

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful discovery!
    Sheree

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  31. Michael, the Guild is a wonderful collaborative group, isn't it? I can't wait to see everyone's new boxes, and how this discovery networks out in the artisan B&B world.

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  32. Rohanna, I can't wait to see the beautiful boxes you make for your gorgeous perfumes. BTW, you samples for the new Guild project have arrived.

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  33. Randy, thank you for your sweet words. I found a long time ago that I am great at putting people together, and forwarding ideas out to the public. My perfumerie often comes second, but when I see how happy everyone is for my other works, that's satisfaction enough ;-)

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  34. Francesca, so what does your friend Gin say? I expect a spirited response!

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  35. Hi Tara I don't believe I know you, but thanks for the kind words. I visited your site, but couldn't get the buttons to work. You now have the power to create your own aesthetic for your line, and I hope to see your boxes someday.

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  36. Jessica, haven't we spent so many hours discussing boxes and the problem of sourcing good ones? Your cedar boxes are outstanding and should win an award for creativity and resourcefulness. The cigar box manufacturer you might remember I was negotiating with this summer flaked out. His guy went to Ecuador, and besides, said they couldn't make the little boxes I needed for my 3.5ml minis. Well, those little boxes you see in the blog are for the minis! I'm just so happy.

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  37. dear Rose - are you the person from brooklyn who was tweeting about this? I'm glad this saves you from the drudgery of hand cutting. Did I mention the machine chirps and makes its own music while it's cutting? Sounds a bit like music from an old-time movie.

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  38. I purchased my cricut just for this same reason, to make boxes, also purchased the MTC program. I got a AVG glue gun for the glue, as it is 1/4 wide and holds real well, and the glue is less expensive than double stick tape.

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  39. Oh, no, it wasn't me, I live in Michigan -- but I am so looking forward to many boxgasms as I adore packaging design. And old-timey movie music -- what a great bonus!

    -Rose

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  40. Box or gasms very cool I still have some of my gorgeous white boxes I had designed in 1990 for a mere $4000.00
    I had so many produced, embossed with my logo gold print very fancy for Nordstroms. Alas these days maybe recycled brown paper boxes would suffice.
    back to basics

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  41. Hi, What a coincidence. I just joined this group, as I am still in he process of opening my Perfume Business "Spiritu Perfume". I have been looking for weeks for proper packaging for my bottles before I get my website up. I stopped by this site to see if I could search the archives to see if anyone had any ideas.

    How kind of you to share this great information with everyone!!

    Thank you,

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  42. Is there a great source for labels??

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  43. Rose T, my student! You just joined the Guild today, welcome. The Rose from BrooklynBath was tweeting about this project, so I guess I've got two Roses that are happy about this ;-)

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  44. Julie, thanks for the idea of glue tape, I will look it up. Now that there is software and digital cutting, with no need for a sticky pad, you should be making boxes in no time.

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  45. Susan, nice to hear from you. We'll have to get together soon. You can come by and see the machine in operation if you wish.

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  46. hula-la , I wish you lots of success with custom box making. Check back here and give us an update as you progress with this.

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  47. Hi Joann: I'm happy Donna Maria helped spread the word. This is a big advancement in packaging, and I'd love your feedback.

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  48. Sheree, does that machine have digital cutting and run the software needed?

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  49. Mudderpwee thanks for your input. I take it you're outside of the USA, because the MTC isn't allow with Cricuts here. Elise was thinking of a glue gun, too.

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  50. Victoria, your tale is a common one for those who have sunk a lot of money into boxes. If the market changes, or the brand refocuses, the $$$ boxes may be useless. There are beautiful recycled papers with flower petals embedded that some are considering. Or just recycled plain paper stock, too.

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  51. Hi Ruth/Spiritu - I'm so glad this article has helped you. About the labels, well, that's complicated, depends on the end use, the printer you have, or if you want to have them printed for you. Perhaps we'll need a label blog post.

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  52. This is very exciting - adds another creative dimension to our work and empowers us more than ever in our materials and packaging. Well done Anya!

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  53. Thank you for this information! Will work well for making incense sample boxes for my customers!

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  54. Hi Anya, Yes I had a good week! The story of how this came to be teaches me there is treasure to be found in places where we might not normally look, and that there is much power in working together.

    In response to Donna Maries's question I did not get to take pictures inside the SIP boutique as I learnt this was not allowed. There are a few photos on the SIP website though

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  55. Hi nellie

    I'm happy you're happy with this discovery I've shared :-) Is this EL from dollop, the Guild member?

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  56. Beth, I asked Katlyn to share this news on the incense group because I thought it would be of interest to you folks also. Glad this new opportunity to make your own boxes will find its way into your art.

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  57. Hi Aba

    Everything you say is so true. I feel blessed at my position in the NP community. It allows me to interact with all the members of the Guild in an ongoing fashion, and several fortuitousness benefits have been the outcome. This one is probably the biggest, and I can't stop grinning at the serendipity and randomness of it.

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  58. Liz, about your gsm recommendation of 400-500gsm paper weight. GSM isn't the designation here in the States. We use "pound" or "lb". So I searched for conversion charts, and the first one didn't even go up to 400, but that's OK, I liked looking at the chart in a nerdy way http://www.paper-paper.com/weight.html

    Then I noticed the second chart didn't go that high either http://www.papermojo.com/paper_weight_conversion.html

    Even Wiki was shy! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_density

    I'm supposing our 110lb weight is what you were indicating is good, thick stock. Today is rainy and relaxed here in Miami, so I'm staying in and working on my perfumes and box project, but tomorrow I will go to some McCoy paper stores and check it out. Thanks for your feedback, it helps a lot in understanding what works.

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  59. Oh, wait. A closer reading - now I have to see the difference between bristol and index. How confusing. I'll look forward to some clarification at the paper store.

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  60. This is great Anya. I've made a few boxes before and the cutting with scissors is very time consuming. Using something like this is still time consuming although less so and neater. It will be great. Thanks for the info.

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  61. Hi Anya, I would like to join your group. I need to make my own product boxes.

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  62. Anya, your creativity is really shining here, and your ingenuity is outstanding also. And if you have really low volume this probably works well. but for a little higher volume, and for a little bit more upfront outlay, the cost per box could be even lower than what I think you are realizing, and the time and labor would be reduced if toy buy a box...

    I just got an estimate for Boxes at http://www.boxcoop.com/ for my product launch.
    They have a really pretty low minimum order of 1250 boxes. And they are here in California, so you'd also pay for shipping to your business or home from Calif. Fortunately for me, they are 45 minutes away. I met them at two cosmetics packaging conventions that I have attended in Las Vegas.

    Granted I can do the graphic design personally, so that cost I won't bear, but the minimum run of 1250 boxes wasn't really that high, it was .78 each. for four color one side, white inside, light varnish on the printed side - like a cereal box, for a box .75" x 2.5" x 4.5". the total before shipping was under $1000.

    And your labels could be done both for your bottles and your boxes on the 1" Brother printer, maybe with the Gold and Black then you'd had a 1" by 1.5" (hypothetically) black label with gold words, (this can change according to the tape you buy, and the label could be any size length, as long as one dimension is the width of your tape, available in many widths, and you can even get a 1.5" wide printer, but research which tapes are available in each width before you decide...)

    you could run a set of boxes, and add labels to specify the perfume inside, and you could even run the exact same label for box and bottle, saving yourself time. and your cost for each bottle for label and packaging would be close to a dollar to a dollar and a half per item.

    Yes of course, this would lock you into using one box design, unlike the multitude of colors that Anya has shown, and you wouldn't get a second color inside which really makes the boxes shine, but the labor involved here for making each box seems high as well.

    Just an option for your ideas file...

    Paul Kiler

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  63. Hey Anya! Cindy Morrison at this end. I have trademarked a soap and created my own boxes in Illustrator (am also a graphic designer). Since I print, cut, score, and everything else myself (checked Cricuit out, too) this discovery is WONDERFUL!! I have a hint for you. . . At JoAnn's, I purchase "Duck" brand Easy Stick double stick adhesive in a roller (in green and red box and is acid free). It comes in single or 4 pack - get the 4 pack with your 40% off coupon - GREAT SAVINGS. Tape is .31" by 9 yards. Tried the glue sticks and the pencils, but they didn't stay sealed and this is just much easier to use. Just press down (has ridges that actually fit your finger) and lift up at the end of your box. Stays sealed for over a year (have test box still on hand and still sealed)!! It's over in the scrapbooking tape section

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  64. Hi Cindy:

    Oy, the scissors route. How time consuming, but we artisans are sometimes so intent on the handmade, yes? You will be delighted with this new discovery and your creativity will soar because you'll have so many new opportunities for quickly trying new ideas.

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  65. Hi Paul:

    Thanks for sharing your experience with boxcoop. I contacted them years ago but didn't have the sales to justify 1,250 identical boxes, especially since I have two size bottles of perfume. Others may benefit from your post, though, and hope right over there. I think members of IBN may get a discount.

    The other factor that makes this die-cut yourself idea so appealing is that as an artisan, I love being involved in the hands-on process. I think I could cut 100 boxes a month, or have my assistant do it, and that would suffice, heck, that's too many. I don't sell 1,200 bottles of each size a year. I sell a lot, but not that much. The machine can draw very beautiful, delicate lines on the boxes, and I may experiment with that. I will not have different colored boxes, at least I don't think I will, for each perfume. I just wanted to see what the different ones looked like. I still have to visit paper stores and I'm getting some samples online. I found some "suede" finish papers that intrigue me. As far as labels, well, I have a vintage box from Balmain with a green moiré pattern that is gorgeous, and a glued-on label. The label fell off, I have to re-glue it. I love the moiré finish. Suede. Silk. Oy, so many choices - and most of them recycled, "green" papers. Happy, happy. Again, thanks for stopping by and sharing your knowledge, you helped a lot of people, I'm sure.

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  66. Wow, Cindy M., what great news! I'm going to go get the tape you recommended, because you come with the knowledge of having observed the behavior of the tape over time. I was vaguely aware of scrapbooking before this, and I am absolutely amazed at the huge industry it is. I'm also amazed, as I wrote, that perfumers and B&B people in the USA didn't put 2 + 2 together before now. Wow. Well, every idea has its day, and the day has come for this!

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  67. Cindy, I looked at joanne.com online and this is all they showed, but I think it's very similar, right?
    http://www.joann.com/joann/catalog/productdetail.jsp?pageName=search&flag=true&PRODID=zprd_10711745a

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  68. Cindy, I googled the Duck tape and it seems they changed the formula and people say it doesn't work well http://www.joann.com/joann/catalog/reviews.jsp?pageName=&PRODID=prd23480&id=prd23480&resultsperpage=24

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  69. Sharryn Stormonth8/25/2011 10:07 PM

    Thank you so much for this post Anya, I have been looking for something this this for other packaging purposes. Fabulous.

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  70. I'm happy to help, Sharryn, Please pass this post on to others, if you frequent forums or blogs where this discovery might help others.

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  71. Just what I have been looking for! Thank you so much!

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  72. What happened to the images? All I see are grey triangles containing an exclamation point before a black background.

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  73. Anonymouse, thanks for alerting me that blogger had removed the images due to some glitch. It was a lot of work reloading them, and so I've saved this blog as a .pdf in case it happens again. If it does, I don't want to waste over an hour reloading the photos, so I'll post a message at the top of the post telling readers to contact me for the .pdf that I can email tham.

    Thanks again,
    Anya

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  74. Elise has a followup blog about the boxgasm moving forward and there's a giveaway! http://bellyflowers.blogspot.com/2011/12/much-ado-about-boxes.html

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  75. Hello Anya. Thanks for the great info. I am looking into the ecutter. There are a ton of bad reviews of it on Amazon. It looks like you got good results from it. A lot of complaints about it shredding their papers and not cutting accurately. Did you encounters problems like this? Is it a major learning curve to get it to work properly so that you can use it for production (aside from the box design itself, does it cut as it promises to)?

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  76. HI Andrea

    Other than the canned software and Emily's mom's templates, I just had no luck with it. Elise quickly taught herself Adobe Illustrator and figured the sequence of placing the lines and the lack of sharp turns in the cuttings made the difference. Then she saves the AI file as an .svg and cuts away with no problem. Do you know AI or know someone who does? The student and graphic artist that were mentioned did, but they didn't have time or passion to analyze the line sequence or angle problem.

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  77. Hi Anya, what do you mean by sharp turns exactly? Like a 45 degree angled corner? I know AI very well, I use it all the time, so making a svg file in AI should be no problem. If you want, I might be able to help with any file adjustments. I'd just really like to know that this machine really works before buying! This sort of thing, you just don't know if it'll work til you take it home...

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  78. No, Andrea, really sharp, like 3 degrees, I'd say, when the inner flap cut needs to make a sharp turn for an outside folding flap. Does that make sense? I can send you a file, if you write me privately with your email address.

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  79. I emailed your shop contact as I didn't see an email here. Just checking to see if you got it?

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