Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Fire Truck Box Card Assembly

Construct the box frame that becomes the fire truck chassis
for this interesting and dimensional card in a box.
Add the details to flaps, bridges and back
that bring this vehicle to life.
Then, fold it flat to put in an envelope
to give as a special birthday or other celebration (or get well) card.
Cut file now available from
SnapDragon Snippets in the Silhouette America online store,
and soon in the SVG Attic online store.

1. Identify and cut the shapes.
A box side/front
B box side/back
C box side accent with latch (2)
D box front accent with latch
E box back accent
F bridge strips (3)
G flap side accents, rims, ladder, wheels 
H flap front accents, grille, wheels, windshield
I flap back accent rectangle
J flap back decor shapes pre-assembled
K hose and reel (back bridge decor)
L tank (middle bridge decor)
M bell and support (behind front bridge)
N seats decor pieces (behind front box edge)

2. Fold the box base shapes flaps down (back "flap" remains upright), tabs back. 

Join front side seam by overlapping straight edge to tab perforation and gluing.

3. Position the box accent shapes over the outside panels of the box base. NOTE that the side and front shapes will line up at the top perforation line, and other edges will offset slightly. Back shape lines up at box bottom edge, with offsets at other edges.

4. Attach the shapes to the box panels, keeping the latch tab folded away slightly and unattached (that is, don't glue it down).

This picture shows how the flap edge will eventually fold down and be held in place by the latch semi circle cutout. (NOTE because of the weight and spring of the cardstock, other "sticking" help may be needed, including double stick tape or sticky dot, if the card is to be kept primarily in its open position and shape.

5. Add the decor shapes to left and right side flap accent shapes (wheel bay rims and ladders).

6. Add the decor shapes to the front flap accent shape (grille section is the flap accent; others are attached to it, including contrast back rectangle behind grille openings, upper black and silver strips, lower chassis and wheel bay rims, light circles.

(Other shapes shown will be added behind front box edge (windshield and steering wheel) or to first bridge (seats, shown layered).

7. Lay the box base face down. Position side flap accent assemblies, front flap accent assembly, and back accent rectangle over their respective flap panels, then attach. Back accent aligns with bottom straight edge even with box bottom edge. Others align with top edges even with flap perforation lines.

8. Assemble hubcaps centered in tire circles. 
Fold the flaps down into their final positions, then position the side wheels in place onto the box surface  within the wheel bay recess, and with lower edges aligned or slightly above box lower edge. Also position the front wheels similarly. 

9. Fold the box into a tube and join side back seam by overlapping back straight edge at tab perforation line.

10. Prepare the three bridge strip shapes by folding end tabs back.

11. Position and glue the first end of bridge #1 inside the box, lined up with the center of the side extension wall shape. Make sure the bridge upper edge is even with fold of flap, and that the bridge's fold edge is perpendicular to the fold and box bottom edges.

12. Position and attach the opposite end tab of the first bridge on the other side of the box interior, taking care that the bridge is positioned straight across from the first tab joint.

Then, before the adhesive is completely cured . . .

. . . fold the box into flat position and "pinch" the layers at the bridge strip tab folds to help make any minor adjustments to positioning to allow the folding operation.

13. Repeat the process for the second bridge strip, positioning it approximately one-third of the way back between the front bridge and the box back.

Repeat for the third bridge, dividing the remaining space in half.

14. Prepare the windshield decor shape by folding the wheel stem back, and then in accordion fashion to build up a slight extension onto which the steering wheel will be attached. The stem should "stack up" on the backside of the windshield.

Apply glue to insides of each of the folds, then press the extension on top of itself to form a light stack "post".

15. Position the center of the steering wheel shape over the stack and glue in place.

16. Position and attach the windshield's flap behind the front flap fold.

17. Prepare the back "flap" decor shapes by layering the components as shown.

See the next image for a trick to help with position of individual cut letters.

Save the cutout "stencil" from the waste of the cutting process (if cut as a unit, of course), to position over the base of the "fire burst", adjust to be centered, then hold in place while gluing the individual letters in the "holes" of the stencil. Then carefully remove the stencil position, leaving the letters in place.

18. Position the upper decor piece at top of back "flap", extending beyond top edge (lower edge approx. half way up the extension).

19. Prepare the hose and reel decor assembly. NOTE that nozzle end will remain unattached to anything, extending away from the truck side body when in final position.

20. Position (centered) reel in front of back bridge with perf guideline aligned at top of brdige strip. Attach in place, with nozzle and hose end hanging over the side of the truck.

(NOTE that if you fold the completed box flat, with flaps UP, you will need to take care that the nozzle remains flat and not accidentally bent out of shape.

21. Prepare the tank assembly.

22. Position (centered) behind the second bridge, with perforation guideline lined up with bridge top edge.

23. Prepare and position the two seats in front of the front bridge strip, with perforation and lower shape line at top of bridge.

24. Prepare the bell assembly. 

25. Fold support bottom end tabs back, then position the structure behind the front bridge slightly and attach tabs to inside box sides.

Here is the completed box card, in its open position.

Here is the box card folded flat with flaps down (recommended flattened position, although it can be folded with flaps up, but the side wall extensions will bend, perhaps undesirably).

And here is one more finished view,
from the front.


  1. Awesome Box Card. Got mine from Silhouette store. Can`t wait to make it :-)

  2. Hi! I followed the link from the Silhouette store to get here. I bought the file and cut all the pieces but the file doesn't match the pieces in the instructions here and unfortunately I don't think I can figure it out :(

    1. Teresa, I am so sorry you are having difficulty deciphering this. I have had others say it works just fine. Can you send me an email with more specifics about which pieces you think are different from what is pictured in the blog tutorial? That way I may be able to help you a bit better. hearthsewnpatterns(at)yahoo(dot)com

  3. Thank you! I love this and hope to get it done in time for DS's birthday -- Sunday!