How to make a box with PET ribbons

Box-making Tutorial

The technique used in it can be applied to many other types of PET products, such as folders, pencil cases and bags.

You will need:

  • scissors
  • flat pliers
  • adhesive tape
  • a cubic mold (10 cm sides), with the top part open, which can be made out of wood or a synthetic similar material. It is ideal that the mold’s walls are thin, or at least that its top part has thin walls (which can be obtained by using wooden sheet to coat the mold).
  • 4 PET bottles, each entirely cut in a ribbon 2 cm wide.
1. Take one PET ribbon and cut from it a segment sufficient to skirt three sides of the box (two sides plus the bottom) 8 cm (this is in order to leave 4 cm for finishing each tip of the ribbon).
2, Measure 4 cm on one of the extremities of the ribbon and fold it transversally at that point. Hang the ribbon to the edge of the open part of the mold so that the longer part of the ribbon hangs outside the mold. Then stretch the ribbon across the mold, along two sides and the bottom of the mold. Make wrinkles in the ribbon in order to mark the edges of the mold. When you finish covering the mold's sides, fold the remaining portion of the ribbon toward the inside of the mold.
3, You can use rubber bands to fix the ribbon to the mold.
Cut another four PET segments and fix them to the mold as described in steps 1 and 2.
5. Cut another five PET segments in order to skirt the remaining two sides of the mold but still do not fix them to the mold.
6, Notice that, at the bottom of the box, the ribbons yet to be fixed will meet the ones already fixed (warp). At that point, you will have to make some weaving. Take one ribbon, wrinkle its first 4 cm and hang it to the edge of the mold. Stretch the ribbon across one side of the mold. Wrinkle the ribbon at the point where it meets the bottom edge of the mold. Then pass it under the first ribbon of the warp, then over the second ribbon of the warp and so on, until you reach the last fixed ribbon. Then cover one more side of the mold with the ribbon and fold the remaining part of the ribbon toward the inside of the mold.
7. For the next ribbon, follow the same procedure described in step 7, but, now, pass the ribbon in an inverted pattern: where the first ribbon was passed under the fixed ribbon, you shall pass the new ribbon over the fixed ribbon. Do the same with the other ribbons. After that, you will start making the sides of the box. For that, cut five PET ribbons long enough to coat four sides of the mold plus 10 cm (for finishing).
8. You will start weaving from lower to the upper part of the mold. Take one ribbon. It will have to be woven in a pattern opposite to that of the pattern used for the bottom ribbon just adjacent (and parallel) to it. Start weaving from right to left and stop when you reach the end of the firs side of the mold. Now you will have to adjust the positioning of the ribbon, since its weaving must have a specific starting point. This starting point has to be the first position in which the new ribbon stays over the fixed ribbon. To set that point, use the parallel ribbon at the bottom as a guide. After setting the starting point, take the free extremity of the ribbon and weave with it from left to right.
9. Weave with the ribbon around the whole mold.
10. After doing that, you will need to "hide" the remaining portion of the ribbon you are working with under the already fixed ribbons (warp). This is made passing just normally weaving the remaining portion (over the already woven part) along approximately four more positions. In the last position, the ribbon must be under the fixed ribbon, thus hidden. Cut the ribbon at the point.
11. Repeat steps 8 to 10 with another three ribbons. One ribbon will remain unused for now.
12. Take the remaining ribbon and cut it in two, longitudinally.
13. Weave normally with these narrower ribbons.
14. When the sides of the box are ready, it's time to deal with the vertical ribbons sticking from the laterals. Fold the ribbons that are passing under the warp towards the outside of the box.
15. Cut the ribbons at the point in which they meet the fourth position of the warp (top-down). Then incase their tips under the third ribbon of the warp. Remove the mold from the PET box and. Fold the remaining ribbon tips towards the inside of the box. Cut them at the point in which they meet the fourth position of the warp (top-down), then in case them in the warp.
16. Use the pliers to strenghten all the folds of the box. If needed, protect the box with a piece of PET while doing so.

More designs by Miriam Mitsuko Utsumi

Cubic box
Thinly woven PET box
Orange square box
A cube
Waste paper basket
Large basket with cover (unfinished)
Toilet paper holder
Cylindrical pot

Other woven projects

Folding screen
Folding screen
Notebook cover
Pencil case

Utsumi, Brazil


Brasil-based designer Takashi Utsumi designed the PET bottles shredder (filetadore), and Brazilian designer Miriam Mitsuko Utsumi reuses PET bottles in the making of many craft pieces, as bags, pencil cases and folders.

Main Research Source
Other Reference Links