Making Museum Boxes

Museum board is wonderful for boxes, but scrap mat board from framing is free and harder to fold. Two ply museum board works perfectly. Here are some basic steps for making simple, but effective, archival boxes for shelf or flat file drawers. Keep in mind when making these for flat file drawers they can’t be taller than the drawer otherwise the drawer won’t close. Below are some links with “how to” videos as well.

• Video: Clamshell Box
• Video: Portfolio making at Magnolia Editions

 Instructions: Easy Museum Boxes 


1. Place artwork on museum board or use the measurements of the artwork as your guide.

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2. Decide where the fold line will be outside the size of the artwork. If it’s too big the artwork will slide around. If it’s too small the paper (artwork) deckles could be damaged as not every paper is uniform, especially moulded and fine art papers.

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3. When marking your score line be sure to mark edge to edge, completely across the the board.

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4. Measure the height of your stack of artwork for this custom box, or make the box no taller than 1.75″. This way it will fit nicely into any standard flat file. Mark your box height score line on the museum board.

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5. Lightly score these lines with a razor blade or use more pressure with a bone folder (below). Then cut the corners out.

Image: bone folders. 

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6. Begin folding the flaps into the score. The scores relieve the strain of the fold on the paper fiber. Once all flaps are folded you may begin reinforcing the flap folds with linen tape. Self sticking will work, but gummed is best.

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7. Cut strips of linen tape approximately the length of each flap, wet and apply to the folded flaps. Drying time may be needed from one side of the box to the other. The flaps can be shortened if desired.

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Box shown here has two sides folded up. All four sides will have flaps that fold up and cradle the artwork.