DIY Cardboard chest part 2 – paper hinges

So an important part to any chest is the ability to open and close it. While you can keep a simple box with a detachable lid, wouldn’t you rather keep the lid attached? I know I have a terrible habit of losing lids and such, so a hinge is by far the easiest way to keep it all together. Now, you could use a regular hinge, but why not try something a little different: paper hinges!

Well, mostly paper. Some of this project still uses cardboard, but I’ll show you how I made the paper hinges on my chest, as well as the clasp that sits on the front. It makes for a different feel to the project, and if you just want a chest that’s completely handmade, here’s your choice! The hinges took quite a bit of figuring out, but they work exactly the same way as a regular hinge. Just… don’t swap the hinges on your doors with these paper ones, they’re really not built for that!

Still, paper hinges are cool, and I can’t wait to experiment more with them. They’re versatile enough to be used in any cardboard craft. They’d be awesome in toy props or scenery, especially for puppets! This is the second part of a wider series on this cute handmade chest. If you want more, check out right here

tcc paper hinges - icon

Handmade paper hinge

Active Time: 1 hour
Drying time: 3 hours
Total Time: 4 hours
Difficulty: ♥♥♥♥♥

A paper hinge and clasp for use on a cardboard chest


  • Paper
  • Thin cardboard


  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Ruler


Making a paper hinge

  1. Cut two strips of paper that are both 4cm x 15cm.
  2. Next, roll one of the strips as tightly as you can, gluing it shut. Let the glue dry completely to form a paper tube.
  3. After that, wrap the second strip around the paper tube. Glue it shut, with a little flap left over, but try not to stick it to the paper tube! Let the glue dry completely.
  4. Take the inner paper tube out. Cut the outer tube into four equal sections (three if you're making a clasp).
  5. Next is the tricky part. You need to put the outer tube back onto the inner one, gluing two of the four sections to the inner tube. You must make sure not to get any glue on the other sections, or the hinge won't work. Let the glue dry. Two of the sections should be free to move, so twirl them about to see if they're working properly.
  6. While the glue is drying, cut out a rectangle of cardboard that is 4cm x 3cm.
  7. Using your paper tubes as a guide, begin to draw tabs on your rectangle using the diagram below. Cut the two halves apart. You should have two halves of a rectangle with four tabs that interlock.
  8. After that, you need to glue one of the halves onto the tube hinge. Each of the hinge's sections should have little flaps left over. Take one of the rectangle halves and match it to the sections you want to glue to. Glue the paper flaps under the tabs, and roll the tube section over the tab. Glue them in place and let them dry. Repeat for the other half of the hinge.

tcc paper hinges - tutorial 01

Making a paper clasp

  1. Do steps 1-4 of making a paper hinge, but cut the outer tube into three sections instead of four.
  2. Cut out a rectangle that is 4cm x 4.5cm. Round off the corners on one side. Cut an indent on the other side, and a rectangle hole (0.5cm x 1cm) in the centre of it, so it looks like the diagram below.
  3. Glue the tabs of the rectangle latch onto two sections of the paper hinge.
  4. Cut a rectangle of card that is 2.5cm x 3.5cm, and glue this onto the inner section of your hinge.
  5. Next, you will need something for the latch to hold onto. Cut out 4 pieces of card that are 2cm x 0.5cm. Glue them together to layer them up.
  6. Finally, cut a square of cardboard that is 1cm x 1cm. Glue the layered card onto the square, so that it's pointing outwards. When the glue is dry, you should be able to hook the latch onto the layered card.

tcc paper hinges - tutorial 02


You can use these hinges and latches the same as any other hinge or latch in a cardboard project, but do be aware that they're a little more fragile than regular hinges/latches. So, they should only be used in paper crafts or more simplistic crafts.

If you plan to paint these, please do that before you glue anything together. The hinges rely on the paper tubes being a snug fit, and paint can throw these tiny measurements off enough to ruin the hinge.

tcc paper hinges - pinterest image

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