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Tutorial: making reusable tissue boxes

Now that you have made your reusable tissues, you would certainly like to know how to make them into beautiful dispenser boxes, similar to the disposable cardboard boxes of paper tissues.

I made 2 formats of boxes for our personal use: a standard format, which is perfect for leaving everywhere in the house, and even in the car; and another pocket, which will be used in a school bag, a satchel or in your pockets. The first type can contain up to thirty tissues, and the second about 5.

In both cases, you can fold the handkerchiefs so that they follow each other when you take one, as with paper handkerchiefs. Folding instructions are at the end of the article.

First step: choose the fabric

For the box to stand well, it is preferable to have a rather rigid fabric, of good thickness:

  • Cotton twill or cotton-polyester
  • Canvas for curtain or cushions
  • Jeans

You can match the fabrics according to your tastes and decor.

Second step: cut the fabrics

You can use just one fabric for the whole box, or use contrasting stripes for the opening. I favored the second option for ours, but the confection is similar in both cases. The diagram below shows you the pieces of fabric to cut and the dimensions, depending on the model you have chosen to make. They are all rectangles, to be cut along the straight grain of the fabric.

Third step: assembly

Fold the contrast strips in half and iron. (One piece pattern: fold over 1½” each side and iron.)
Sew the contrast pieces in place. Overlock is preferred, but straight seam and zigzag can be used as substitutes. (One-piece model: sew the 2 folds in place)
Iron the seams flat.
Align the 2 contrast stripes or folds one over the other.
Sew the ends of the 1¼” opening for the standard model, or ¾” for the pocket model. BE CAREFUL to sew only the openings!
Flip and center the opening.
Make an inward fold of ¾” for the standard model, or ¼” for the pocket model at the 4 corners.
Sew the 2 ends with an overlock, or with a straight seam followed by a zigzag.
Turn over and place the corners.

Folding the tissues in the box

Basically, we place the handkerchiefs alternately, offset by half, and we fold one over the other. It will be easier to understand in pictures.

First handkerchief in the pile
Second handkerchief placed on the right, halfway to the first.
Fold the first handkerchief over the second.
Place the 3rd handkerchief to the left of the pile.
Fold the 2nd handkerchief over the 3rd.
The next handkerchief is placed on the right of the pile, then the left handkerchief is folded over it.

…And so on until the desired number of tissues in your box. For pocket size boxes, the handkerchiefs are first folded in 2. Then, we make our stack by folding each handkerchief in 3, always alternating left and right. We therefore make 2 folds, we place the 2nd handkerchief which we fold 2 times, we fold the last third of the first over the 2nd, and so on.

We finish by placing our tissues in the box like this:

Slip the tissues into the box.
Take out the first handkerchief.

Enjoy your beautiful new boxes of tissues!

If you would like to have your boxes made by Taille & Retailles, rather than making them yourself, contact me privately for the cost and the choices of fabrics available.

Other articles on the subject:
Tutorial: Reusable Handkerchiefs Made from Recycled Fabric - Part 1 of 2: Jersey (Knit) Fabric
Tutorial: Reusable Tissues Made from Recycled Fabric - Part 2 of 2: Woven Fabric