Sunday, August 3, 2014

3D School Bus Box Tutorial

Celebrate going "back to school" in style
with this wonderfully realistic and detailed box composed of base and lid.
Measuring 9.5" long x 3.75" tall x 3.25" wide,
this box can sit on a shelf, act as a table center decoration,
carry gift cards and goodies to your favorite and deserving educator
or help those school kids in your life get excited about
their on-going education.

Available from SnapDragon Snippets through
the Silhouette America online store
and soon through SVG Attic and the SnapDragon Snippets website.

It may look complicated, but it is not really!
(Just a lot of details including the 16 or more windows
with liner shapes, layered hubcaps and tires, dimensional bumpers
side mirrors and more.

Follow the illustration images and descriptions on this tutorial
to create your own fleet soon.

1. Identify and cut the shapes:
A Base bottom
B Base right side
C Base left side
D & E Wheel boxes
F Base front
G Base back
H Lid roof
I Lid left side (with mirror)
J Lid right side (with mirror)
K Lid front
L Lid back
M Lid back bumper box
N Lid front bumper box
O Back license plate liner (attaches to G)
P Windows (front, back, left side and contrast liners; cut right side set also) & side stripes
Q Fenders, head and tail lamps, door and door liner
R Wheels and hubcaps
Not shown: "SCHOOL BUS" lettering and interior supports, license plate rectangle

 2. Position and join the base bottom (center) with base right and left sides, base front and back, overlapping the straight edges to the corresponding tab perforation line.

3. Position and attach the grill contrast shape aligned at  the base front shape, shown here. Also glue the license plate base contrast shape aligned at the bottom of the base back shape.

4. Build the two wheel boxes. Fold the sides and ends downward to form the box shape, then join the back section straight side edges to the corresponding side tab perf line.

5. Insert the wheel box tab through the slots on the bus bottom.

6. On the underside of the bottom, fold the wheel box tabs outward (not behind the wheel box itself because it will be easier to add pressure to the tab against a flat surface this way) and glue in place.

7. Form the base into a box by bringing the back tab perforation to align with the side straight edge, then glue in place. Repeat for the opposite corner.

8. Join the base side and front edges in the same manner, bending and adjusting the front perforation folds to match the angles of the side contour at base front edges.

9. Position the lid center (roof) with sides, front and back. Align and join corresponding straight edges with tab perforation lines.

10. Add the details to the lid assembly while it is still flat. Decor details include: fenders, windows (white) layered with liners (black); side stripes (short on the right door side); back and front windows; door with liner; head lamps; wheels and hubcaps.

NOTE: side windows top liner edge will be placed approx. 3/8" below outer roof perf line; back window slightly higher.

11. Form lid into a box by folding the side straight edges to align with the front tab perforation lines, then gluing in place (one at a time). Repeat for each side of the front piece.

12. Repeat the process to join the lid side edges to the back.

13. Prepare the front and back bumper boxes by folding on the perforation lines and attaching side straight edges to end tab straight perforation lines.

Here is the back bumper box being formed.

14. Insert the bumper box tab through the slot in corresponding front or back lid. Apply adhesive to the back surface of the bumper box so that it will attach to the grill liner. On the inside of the lid front, fold the tab down and glue it in place. The front bumper box is shown in this photo.

(Oooops! This construction image shows the lid front NOT attached at the side seams yet, though our tutorial sequence advises to have that step completed before attaching the bumper box.

15. Prepare the inner support by folding the tabs of two shapes outward, then gluing the centers (non-tab portions) together for a double-thick shape. Apply adhesive to the 6 tabs, then carefully slide it into position between the wheel box tabs so that the bottom perf fold edges are flush with the box bottom and hold in place until glue is secure.

16. Insert the base into the lid and slide together until the lid front and back contours match up with the contrast liners of the base.

17. Position the wheels under the fender/wheel bay cutout and with the bottom edge of the wheel flush with the bottom of the wheel box.

18. Prepare the mirror shapes by folding in half and gluing halves together, then folding tab portion back. Position and glue in place a little below the bottom of the driver's window. Repeat attachment for the opposite side window in the same position.
19. Position and attach the "SCHOOL BUS" lettering on each side of the bus below the stripes. (This can be done as part of the construction of step 10, if preferred.)
Here is the completed bus images.


  1. These would be perfect for a gift for bus drivers :)

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Love this!! I made it for my kids bus driver for a Christmas gift. Filled it with candy. She love it! Thank you for the supper cute design!

  4. Love this! I made it for my kids bus driver as a Christmas gift. We filled it with candy! Thank you for the awesome design!

  5. I am a school bus driver and I made one for my boss... Now all the drivers are asking me for one LOL.... This is a huge hit for Bus drivers and the transportation departments.

  6. What material do you recommend using to make this?

    1. We always use textured card stock or similar weight when constructing 3D projects like the school bus.