I hope you’re in the mood for a bit of nostalgia, and a large helping of charm. Today I’m bringing another one of my intricate paper craft dreams to life. Take in all the lovely details of my whimsical, 3D music box, and see how you can make one for yourself.
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I don’t know if music boxes are nostalgic for you, but they are for me. My great-grandmother collected music boxes, and I remember admiring them on her shelf. When she passed away, my grandmother actually gave one to me!
The other memory of music boxes that I have is a bit sillier. As a kid, I always liked the movie The Great Mouse Detective (I’m pretty sure I was the only one). If you happen to be one of the few fortunate individuals to have enjoyed this bygone Disney film, you may remember the unique, wind up musical ballerina that Mr. Flaversham gives his daughter. It starts out as a flower, and blossoms into a beautiful ballerina that dances across the table when it is wound up.
Recently, I watched that movie with my husband (thank you Disney Plus)! While I knew I couldn’t make something quite that enchanting, seeing that toy gave me the idea to design my own version of a 3D music box.
- 6″ Lollipop Sticks (x2)
- Material for the ballerina skirt (I used gold vellum)
- Hot Glue
- Bone Folder (optional)
- A Cutting Machine or X-ACTO knife
- My Free Template
How to Make
1. Use your cutting machine or X-ACTO knife, along with my template, to cut out all of the music box pieces.
Note: If you are using the SVG files that includes the score lines, don’t forget to set them as such in Cricut Design Space and attach them to their shapes before sending through your cutting machine. I used a lime green color to mark the score lines, so hopefully that helps! If you’re not using the SVG file that includes score lines, you can use the PDF version as a reference to know where your folds should go.
2. Start by assembling the base of your music box. Layer your rectangular shapes behind your 5 base panels as well as the face of your drawer. Fold and glue your base as shown. Fold and glue the drawer as well. Attach your handle, making sure to leave the paper raised from the surface slightly, so that you can pull the drawer in and out later.
Next, use three strips of paper to create a level platform for your drawer to slide on. Within the design, I’ve included some score marks on the base piece to give you an idea of where these should go. Make sure that they are level with one another and that they are approximately 4mm off the ground.
3. Add your decor. Attach a “window” liner to the inside of each of the holes in your side panels and top pieces. Then, add a frame around each window (inside and out). Along the top and bottom of your side panels, attach your border detail. Then, fold your side pieces and glue on the top sections.
4. Assemble your ballerina. Attach your ballerina pieces together like so, making sure that each ballerina is a reflection of the other.
For the Skirt
How I Did It
I tried making my skirt our of cardstock at first, but didn’t like how stiff it looked, so I switched to a thinner, more flexible material (vellum). The skirt pieces include partial score lines on one side. Use those score marks to create pinch folds, alternating direction (like folding a fan, but without creasing all the way across). Then, hot glue each pinch fold together: one or two at a time. Let the hot glue dry before moving on, and don’t forget to do the backside as well!
Because of the stiff nature or vellum/cardstock, this can be a slow, tedious process (and be hard on the fingers). So, even though I personally love the way the skirt turned out, there are some great, alternative materials you could use to make your ballerina unique and beautiful!
Other Material Options
- Tissue Paper
5. It’s time to add your stage decor! Layer your stage pieces together and insert the tabs into your music box base. Glue the tabs down (on the backside).
Note: As you can see, I placed my ballerina turntable in before doing this, and it made it much more difficult to add my stage decor, so learn from my mistakes!
6. Now, add your ballerina turntable! Trim your lollipop stick to the height of your ballerina (I trimmed mine down to go just below her neck), making sure to account for the length that will be beneath the base. Then, use hot glue to attach the bottom of the lollipop stick to the center of the large wheel (It’s really important to make sure it’s perfectly centered, so I’ve included a scored circle in the center of the wheel that you can line yours up with).
Then, add your small circle piece to the top, and attach your ballerina figures opposite each other on the stick. After that, you can attach the skirt. I just used a dab of hot glue on the center of my skirt pieces and placed them on my ballerina’s torso. I also added a semi circle to the top of each skirt to cover the hot glue marks beneath.
7. Nest, insert the other lollipop stick into the back hole in the base (this is going to be the “hinge” for your doors).
Note: To make the base of my hinge a little sturdier, I added a few layers of cardstock (glued together).
8. Now it’s time to form your hinge loops. You can do this by folding the strips on the edge of your side pieces and glueing the edges down. For me, the easiest way to do this was to use another lollipop stick to wrap the strips around as I glued, and pulled it out when I was done. Then, I carefully wove my interchanging loops over the hinge.
9. The cardstock I used for my music box doors was fairly heavy, so, in order to keep them from sagging while open, I added a couple “kickstands” that fold in/out. Depending on the weight of your paper, you may want to do the same. If so, the “kickstand” pieces are included in the template.
10. Finally, you can add your clasp to the front of your music box! Attach the little handle on one side (the same way you did the drawer handle), and then glue the left side of the swirly hinge on the other door like so.
Note: If you’d like your clasp to be able to rotate, you could include a brad or something similar instead of glueing. Otherwise, the doors are flexible enough, that gluing it in place still allows for easy opening and closing of the box.
I am just so thrilled with how this 3D music box turned out! I really wanted to make a box that can be opened and closed, and include a ballerina that actually spins! The idea for the little keepsake drawer came later, and once it popped into my head, I just had to include that as well.
Overall, it was a tall order, but I’m glad I pushed through the challenges in order to bring this beauty to life!
I use Adobe Illustrator for all of my designs, and a Cricut Maker to bring my creations to life. For tips on creating fun paper cuts like this one, see the FAQ section on my website. Also, be sure to check out the other awesome 3D projects available on my blog!
Enjoy putting this stunning 3D music box together! When you do, I’d love to see how it turned out! You can always share your creations with me on Instagram, and by using #designsbymissmandee.
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