DIY Christmas Gift Box: How to Make an Exploding Box With Kids

Photo of Holly (Teach Starter)
Updated | 3 min read

Making handmade gifts with your class this Christmas? How about taking things one more step with a creative holiday craft kids love — a DIY Christmas gift box that explodes!

Well … not literally! Think “jack in the box,” not something scary!  Not only will your students love getting creative with this Christmas craft idea – they will love surprising someone special to them with this handmade gift.


How to Make a DIY Christmas Gift Box

To DIY this Christmas gift box, you’ll need to download and print out our Holiday Decorative Square Templates.

This printable template includes a variety of plain frames and sentence starters. Students can pick and choose which they want to use in their exploding gift box.

This Christmas craft idea is very detailed and can take a bit of time to create. However, our best tip is to measure, cut, and decorate a layer a day (there are three layers plus a lid).

STEP 1: The First Layer

To create the first layer:

  • cut out a square that measures 11 inches by 11 inches
  • using a ruler, divide the larger square to create a grid with smaller squares measuring 4 inches by 4 inches.
  • cut out each corner square to create a plus sign (like the image below)
  • decorate each of the squares excluding the middle square.

We used leftover Christmas wrapping paper and some pretty sparkly paper. You can also pick up some Christmas scrapbooking paper that would work perfectly too! Or, why not re-use old Christmas cards? It’s a good way to show your students how to recycle items and live more sustainably.

The beauty of this craft is that once the templates have been measured and cut, you can let your students’ creative juices flow!

STEP 2: The Second Layer

For the second layer, we have added a bit more detail.

Measurements for the second layer are:

  • 10.5 inches by 10.5 inches for the large square
  • 3.5 inches by 3.5 inches for the smaller squares.

We glued some sparkly glitter paper on some of the squares first and then our Holiday Decorative Square Templates on top. This creates a really fun, decorative effect!

STEP 3: The Third Layer

This is the fun layer where your students can add lots of fun layers and effects!

Measurements for the second layer are:

  • 9.5 inches x 9.5 inches for the large square
  • 3 inches x 3 inches for the smaller squares.

As this is the top layer you will need something in the middle square – you can even add some height to this one as it will be the middle of the box!

Add a small gift for someone special in the middle as well.

STEP 4: Constructing the Box

Now that you have three completed plus-sign-shaped layers, it’s time to stick them all together! Make sure the decorative side is facing up.

  1. Place the first (largest) layer face up on the table and fold up the outside squares.
  2. Stick strips of double-sided tape or use glue around the edges of the center square.
  3. Place the center square of the second (middle) layer on top of the first layer and push down.

Repeat steps 1 to 3 for the next layer until the box has been built!  

STEP 5: The Exploding Gift Box Lid

To ensure that the receiver of this gorgeous craft gets a lovely surprise upon opening this exploding gift box, a lid needs to be made. We’re almost there…

  • Cut a square piece of paper that is 8 inches by 8 inches
  • Using a ruler, divide the square into a grid with the middle square measuring 4 inches by 4 inches.
  • Now, instead of cutting the whole corner squares out like we did for the layers, you only need to cut one line from the edge of the paper to each of the corners in the middle square. This will create four tabs!
  • Fold all of the ruled lines.
  • Put glue on the smaller square ‘tabs’ created by the cuts and folds.
  • Tuck the tabs into the long, rectangle sides of the lid.
  • Decorate!

There you have it! The coolest Christmas craft going around and your students will love creating this awesome surprise for someone special in their lives.


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