Guest post: Paperboard Mystery Message

by kath_red on 17/05/2011

in Guest Blogger, Paper+Mixed Media, Whip Up Tutorials

Introducing Anne from flaxandtwine blog, Anne has a wonderful project she is sharing here today – she explains…

Hi Whip Up Readers.  I’m so happy to be here.  I am a sewer, a knitter and a crafty-thing-maker.  I started my blog flax & twine []  to re-discover my artistic voice through creative exploration.  I strive to share the value of hand made and the important place it holds in my life with my children and with others.  And, to have a ton of fun along the way.  I’d love it if you joined me in the adventure.

A Paperboard Mystery Message
This special word puzzle was originally made for a sweet, strong, little boy in my life who has cancer.  I designed this “get well” gift to have a meaningful message, be easy to do while sitting in bed and have the flexibility to play with over and over. Original purpose aside, I think ANY kiddo loves to decode a secret message.  What a fun birthday gift!  Or gift from a visiting friend.  The added benefit is that the letters can be used for word building long after the original message is solved.
paperboard (used cracker/cereal boxes)
alphabet stamps (can use printed letters from computer)
ink pad
craft knife
cutting mat
sewing machine
scraps of fabric
Make the Message
1. Make a “card” by cutting two pieces of 4×4 paperboard and sewing them together with decorative stitches around the border.  Write the greeting and instructions on one side and the secret message to be decoded on the other.

Make the Letters (Note: The tutorial for the letters below is for a different message than the photos above).
1.Cut a 2×4.5″ paperboard strip for each of the letters you need for your puzzle.
2. Fold strips in half, with the printed side facing in.
3. Stamp your desired letters on one half of the paperboard with local craft store alphabet stamps.*
*If you don’t have stamps or don’t want to buy them, you can print large font letters (try Arial Black – 120 pt) from your computer printer, cut them out and paste them on to the paperboard then proceed with the below instructions.
4.  Cut out letters with a craft knife.  If you have a letter like “O” with a center, cut out the center piece and save it to glue back on the letter later.
5. Select fabric scraps and trim to fit inside the folded paperboard (with a small margin).
6. Sew paperboard sandwich closed around edge with a zig-zag (or other decorative) stitch.
7. With fabric glue, glue down centers of letters and any other cardboard pieces that might bend.
8.  Trim edges of paperboard where corners didn’t quite line up.
Wrap the Package
The message and letters can be wrapped and presented in many different ways. I wanted a handmade reusable bag so the puzzle could be played with again and again.  If you want to make a bag like mine, you can find directions for that here.


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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jacqueline May 17, 2011 at 9:33 am

Thanks for the tutorial, love this idea. I keep all out cereal boxes and sew them into all sorts of goodies.


2 Jenn May 17, 2011 at 11:16 pm

I could see this being used to make super cute banners too!


3 Lorrie May 18, 2011 at 12:21 am

what a wonderful idea – so adaptable, but I love the original sentiment


4 Holly May 20, 2011 at 6:42 pm

This is awesome! My niece will love it. Thanks for the tutorial. And best wishes for your young friend.


5 Lisa May 31, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Absolutely wonderful! I love the idea and the message behind it too.


6 Kirsten June 8, 2011 at 4:24 am

Great blog post and great idea, thanks!! I’m definitely going to give this a go (-:


7 Make handmade August 24, 2011 at 12:44 am

Great tutorial for lover and more. thanks……….


8 Rebecca January 1, 2012 at 5:58 am

This is a lovely idea. So pretty. Can’t use a sewing machine but I guess you could glue them as well.


9 Crystalyn December 10, 2012 at 6:41 pm

My husband is planning on dropping our recycling off tonight and I’ll have to grab a few boxes before he does! These are awesome.


10 chemise burberry femme pas chere November 23, 2013 at 12:13 am

Dernires collaboration dans les trois nouveaux inspiration cratrice, ils sont faits de Osamu Tezuka a cr la “Grande Fort”, “Crime et chatiment” et “Firebird”,


11 sac longchamp pliables November 23, 2013 at 12:13 am

Osamu Tezuka (1928.11.3-1989.2.9) est un crivain japonais de bande dessine, dessinateurs, animateurs, producteurs,


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