The Crab Claw Box: A Quick Tutorial


I designed this protective box during the 2004 Paper and Book Intensive so that the students in my Breathing New Life into Dead Media class would have a place to collect their class samples. It’s so simple that I’m guessing it isn’t new, but it’s been a good little structure, and I wanted to share. One nice feature is that the finished box, if it is wide enough, provides a perfect 90-degree-angle cradle for displaying the book.

The instructions were hand-written late at night in my dorm room – forgive the illustration; there may have been some alcohol involved. The initial structure was designed to have a strap that was woven into the edge, providing a simple tab closure. (If you were in my class you may notice a bit of image editing since the original photocopies.) I’ve found since then that if the box is sized properly, it stays snugly shut on its own, and that straps and slots rarely stand up well to frequent handling.

The original one from class, pictured above, has held up well after more than a decade of being handled many times over the years by students of all ages.

So, here’s a quick how-to video. If you have questions or comments, feel free to email me, robertalavadour (at) gmail.

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