I must preface this entry by saying that this is not the perfect tutorial. When -N- and I got our square business cards (I can still hear the printer exclaiming, "But that's not a standard size..." Needless to say we went with someone else), figuring out what kind of case to carry them in was a challenge. And then it hit me. I'm a huge proponent of book art. And since we have bookboard and chip board in the art closet, why not make our own. As soon as the lightbulb popped, I executed it immediately with little care of figuring out certain details like - oh, say a...clasp or closure mechanism. But who needs one when you have an original business card holder?


Ruler (preferably cork lined for stability)

X-acto knife

Book board (double ply chipboard works too) - 1 large sheet

Self-healing cutting board

PVA bookbinding glue (PH neutral) - This type of glue is especially malleable and dries quickly. Although you can use standard Elmer's white glue, I don't recommend it. The PH neutrality of this glue also makes it handy to have for other archival and book projects - totally worth the money.

1. Draw out a rough sketch of the holder with all the separate planes labeled with dimensions. Since I came up with the design on the fly, I don't have a full breakdown to give you. But I built a box so I knew I'd need five sides with one open side.

2. Cut out the panes with the X-acto blade going straight down. If you cut at an angle, the edges will be beveled and not match up correctly.

3. Now comes the tricky part. It's ideal to build the box around the top and bottom pieces, say the foundation of the box. None of the side pieces would butt up against the bottom panes, they'd sit on top of them. Make sense? If not, email me. Take a thin layer of the PVA glue and apply to one side of an outer pane. Place it on top of the bottom piece and hold in place for at least 10 seconds like so:

4. Repeat on other side. Let set for five minutes. For the back piece, cut off a few millimeters so it wedges nicely between the two outer pieces. For the top and final piece, you will need to trim millimeters off of two sides so it wedges into the three sides like sliding in a drawer. Once you have the piece fitting snugly, apply glue to the edges and let set overnight.

When I went out to lunch today, I got to use it and it received a few positive comments. The finishing is yet to be determined. I notched out a "U" on one side where I thought an elastic could fit around. I'm also pondering on what finish to give the raw board. I'll most likely paint it but if I find a great paper in the meanwhile, I may consider covering it as well. I'll post update photos when I finish it.

It has a solid, substantial feeling in my hand and I love pulling out a handmade piece that's utilitarian.

Let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have questions. Like I said, it's a very rough tutorial because I just thought of it and just wanted to see if I could do it. And I did.

Good luck.