Tuesday, September 20, 2016

SPOOKY 3d Letter Box Ensemble

Each letter is assembled as snugly-fit lid and base with 
decorative front panels to imitate painted wooden block letters. 
Small 'O' includes skull dangler, large 'O' includes spider & web.
Mount them together on a paper or fabric-covered 
cardboard or foam core board base 
for a fun Halloween season display 
that measures approx.  3" wide x 20.375" long. 
Add separate projects (snake S shape, ghost 3d slice half form, 
pumpkin 3d slice form, witch hat 3d mini, bat 3d mini) 
for block-buster decor. Letters measure approx. 2" deep, 
and range from 3.75" to 5.85" tall. 

This tutorial post will present letter box construction
along with "attached" 'O' designs, and foam core base.
Other projects are described in a separate tutorial on this site.

1. Identify and cut the shapes for each letter box,
S, P, small O, large O, K, Y,
as shown in the following individual layouts.
A) Each letter box will include letter LID shape, accent front,
LID boxing strips (shown at top of each frame),
letter BASE shape with BASE boxing strips.
B) Each letter's boxing strips include SYMBOLS to assist in
identifying how the strips join around the letter shape.
LIDS have individual symbols (circles, triangles, ovals, etc.)
and BASES have the same symbols doubled.
 Diagrams showing symbols in relationship to the
position on the LID or BASE shape where they
will be attache are shown before each letter box is demonstrated.
C) Boxing strips also include tiny "letter" cuts (S, P, O, K, Y)
as well to identify which letter box they belong to.
Small 'O' also includes the 'L' letter cut to identify
the boxing strips as "little".

The letter box designs were prepared with "digital"
accuracy, meaning the edge measurements
correspond exactly letter edge to strip segment.
Use best accuracy practices to line up, adjust,
and glue segments.
The model shown was constructed from 100-110 lb.
black card stock, thicker than textured or plain card stock. 
This thickness caused some edges to be "off" 
a minute fraction, as well as fit together even more snugly.
Textured or plan card stock in the 65-75 lb. range
should fit accurately.
P & both size O letter boxes include
"interior" openings or windows.
The interior opening has a boxing strip
to build it out. 
To assist with attaching this opening boxing strip,
a separate LID & BASE shape is provided
to which the boxing strip is attached
To complete the LID or BASE element of the letter box,
 that unit is glued to the backside of
the main LID or BASE shape, lining up the
opening edges of main and opening units.
(This will be shown hereafter;
for now, this will help identify the cut shapes shown.)

NOTE: Y letter box will be described first as
the representative construction type.

2. Study the Y main LID & BASE and boxing shapes 
to identify the assembly symbols, and the location
where those ends of boxing strips will attach
(angle where the seam between two strips will fall).

Most symbols are cutout shapes (circles, triangles, rectangles, etc.).
For the Y, the strip edges have 
a half circle "bite" or a sawtooth "bite".

3. Prepare the LID boxing strips by bending back
all the TOP edge flanges (also called tabs).
Also bend the vertical perforation lines forward
or back to follow the edge angles and shape of
the "Y" letter. Position strips around the lid
to help identify where the strips should attach,
and the direction of the bends, as shown.
Here is a closeup of the single half circle "bite"
that will be the first tab connected to the Y LID shape
at the top of the left "arm".
4. Position the first tab or flange under the
corresponding edge, align the edge length
with the tab perforation edge length (side to side)
as accurately as possible, and glue in place.
5. Bend the next segment of the strip to line up
the tab perforation edge with the Y shape edge,
and glue in place.
6. Continue in the same manner to bend and
align, adjust, then glue the edges in place.
NOTE: it may prove helpful to consider a "sequence"
of segments, such as the left slant-center-right slant
sequence shown in the image below.
By preparing, applying adhesive to the three flanges,
then positioning the far end of the sequence first,
then quickly adjusting the "in between" segments,
it may be easier to avoid inaccuracies that
may continue to affect further portions of the assembly.
As the gluing process progresses, it may be helpful
to turn the LID over onto a flat surface and
press the backside of tabs to ensure complete
attachment. In tight corners, consider using
an appropriate tool such as a spatula blade.
7. At the end of the lead strip, bend the end tab
back or forward as the letter shape determines
(forward in this case), position and align the
lead side edge of the second strip over tab, 
and attach along the tab's perforation line.
8. Continue to position and attach the next portion
of the joined strip as previously done . . . 
. . . working in "sequences" as it makes sense,
as is shown here with the three segment tabs
that surround the Y's stem.
9. BEFORE the final segment is aligned and attached,
anticipate the connection of final end tab to bend
it, then apply glue "in sequence" fashion with
the end segment. Bend and slide the two tabs
into position, align with Y edges, adjust, and
glue in place.
10. Apply glue to the backside of the accent
letter front, then position it, with uniform offset
margin all around, onto the LID.
NOTE: it may be helpful to turn the assembly
face down on flat surface and apply finger
pressure to the backside to ensure complete
and uniform adherence.
11. Complete the BASE in the same fashion
as the LID.
12. To close the "box" and make it into a "block",
slide the LID over the BASE.
NOTE: this will be a tight fit.
13. If desired, spread the LID away from the BASE
and insert glue between the sides to join the
LID and BASE, particularly at the angles
where the to shapes may tend to separate.

14. Study the boxing strips then arrange the
LID strips around the LID shape,
BASE strips around the BASE shape
with the symbols shown here in their
corresponding positions.
(Refer to the illustration for the Y letter
above, step 3.)
Bend the strips forward or backward to match
the angles of the letter shape.
15. Position the LID lead strip edge (with the tiny circle end)
at the top curve end as shown. Align letter straight
edge overlapping to the strip perforation line.
16. Continue bending to align the letter straight edge
at the corresponding tab perf line, to adjust and
glue in place, as described for the letter Y, above.
17. Join strip ends as needed, one by one, as
each preceding strip is completely attached.
18. Anticipate the final end tab attachment
as described for the Y letter box, then complete
the boxing attachment for the LID. Then, also
complete the S BASE in similar fashion.

19. Study symbols for LID strip positioning, then . . .

. . . then arrange and bend the K strips as for
previously-described letters.
20. Begin at the top stem end (rectangle symbol)
to position letter straight edge over the corresponding
segment tab's perforation line.
21. Continue to bend the strip to match the letter shape,
aligning the next segment's tab perf line
under the letter's straight edge.
22. Complete the connection of the first strip's segments,
join the second strip, then the third strip to
complete the K lid.
23. Complete the BASE in similar fashion.
If there are inaccuracies in the joining of strips,
you can carefully trim excess strips to improve
the appearance.

24. Study the O LID and BASE shapes, as well as
the 'interior' shapes for the LID and BASE
to understand where the symbols on the
outer edge half strips will fall, as well as
the single strip interior strips on the
interior bases.
25. Prepare the outer edge strips by bending the tabs
26. Bend the interior strip tabs back, and the interior strip
end tab forward slightly.
27. Identify the first segment tab 
(tiny circle symbol) . . .
. . . then align with the top outer edge
of the letter shape as shown.
28. Follow the same procedure as described
previously to position the letter straight edge over
the first segment tab's perf line, adjust and attach.
29. Bend the second segment into position
to allow the next straight edge of letter shape
to overlap, and attach . . .
. . . and the third edge, and so forth.
Remember that it may be helpful to apply
pressure from the backside (inside of box)
during the tab attachment process.
30. Prepare the position and attach the second
trip by identifying the triangle symbol in
the end segment tab that corresponds to
the triangle symbol in the end tab of first strip.
Overlap straight edge to end tab perf line
and glue in place.
31. Continue to position and attach remaining
edges and segment tabs . . .
. . . anticipating the final end attachment
so that last segment and end are positioned
and attached in the same step.
32. Prepare the interior opening strip by
bending the bottom tabs back, also
bending forward at the vertical perf lines to
form a ring. (NOTE that in the photo below,
the face of the card stock is inside the ring.)
33. Form the strip into a ring to bring the
end straight edge to overlap the face side of
the end tab opposite, adjust and glue ends.
NOTE that the tab should end up 
on the backsideof the ring.
34. Position the ring over the interior form, with the
tab perf lines lined up at the interior opening straight
edges. NOTE that the first segment of the ring - 
with symbol in it's tab - will be placed at the
shape's top interior edge. The widest segments
will fall at the interior opening's side edges.
35. Attach all shape edges to corresponding
strip tabs at perf lines.
This is the completed LID interior shape insert.
NOTE that the X cut in the shape's face
indicates how the insert should be oriented
(X at lower right position).
36. Apply adhesive to the face of the insert shape . . .
. . . then insert into the back of the previously-completed
LID assembly . . .
. . . matching interior straight edges
to the over-laid LID's straight edges.
Adjust as necessary, then apply pressure
to join the interior opening insert completely
to the backside/inside of the O main assembly.
37. Position and attach the O accent shape.
38. Complete the BASE O assembly in the same manner,
with main outer assembly, and interior opening unit.
39. Insert the BASE into the backside of the LID . . .
. . . taking care that the interior LID boxing fits around
(and on the outside) of the BASE interior boxing.
NOTE that it may be helpful to use a thin blade tool
such as the spatula shown here to assist the
two to fit together.
40. Position and attach the web accent (where it overlaps 
LID or accent shape), positioning the top end
and side edges even with LID edges as shown.
41. Assemble the spider/string by attaching eyes unit.
Then position and attach to the large O front as shown.

42. Assemble the small O in the same manner,
both LID and BASE, with accent front attached.
Then insert BASE into backside of LID.
(If adding the skull dangler to the inside of O opening,
wait to insert BASE until after skull is added.)
NOTE that if it is difficult to complete the connecting
of these, you may be required to slice between
segments (try to select a position that may be
hidden in the final ensemble assembly)
to allow the lid to be "enlarged" to allow fitting.
After components are together, re-close and
glue free edges in place onto BASE.
43. To attach the skull dangler, thread two 9-10" lengths of
perle cotton or soft twine onto a darning needle,
then thread each one through the pair of holes
at top and bottom of skull unit.
Use the attached needle to thread left twine end
through corresponding left hole of LID interior wall
and out the back opening.
Repeat for each of remaining three ends,
threading through corresponding punch holes
and out the back.
Pull ends as pairs at top and bottom to adjust
for positioning and tautness, then . . . 
. . . secure ends as flat as possible against the
interior wall near where they exit the punch holes.
This can be done with thin layer of quick set glue
(such as hot glue) or with permanent tape.
Trim tails just short of wall edge.
44. Insert the BASE, and complete the small O as shown.

45. Prepare the strips for the P box in a manner
that follows description for Y (exterior straight edges)
and for O (interior opening edges).

46. Bend top end tabs (LID) or bottom end tabs (BASE)
back, and bend on horizontal perf lines to
imitate the letter shape edges and angles.
47. Begin with the top outer straight edge and
long tab than includes the oval symbol. Attach
the first tab . . .
. . then continue to attach tabs under corresponding
letter edges. Join second strip and complete
boxing as previously described for Y.
48. Prepare the interior boxing shape in a manner
that follows the O interior boxing (beginning in step 32.)
Overlap end straight edge over face side of opposite
end tab to perforation, and glue in place, as shown here.
49. Position tabs on the backside of interior shape,
matching the long symbol-containing tab at the
long edge of interior opening. Then adjust 
edges and glue tabs in place all around.
50. Position the interior insert unit behind the
LID's int. opening, and adjust to line up
the edges, then glue insert in place securely.
51. Repeat the process for the P BASE,
then add accent letter to front.

52. For the base of the ensemble, carefully cut
a rectangle of sturdy material, such as foam core
(also known as form board). Suggested size: 3" wide x 20.875".
53. Dress up the foam core to match the ensemble
by quick-set gluing (Fabric Tac or hot glue)
cardstock or fabric, etc. to the base. The example
shown here uses 12x12 sheets of corrugated paper
(available at JoAnn Fabrics in 12x24" sheets also).
First, apply glue to the foam core bottom surface,
then line up the back edge at the paper edge
and attach in place. If using 12x12 sheets, this
will need to be repeated for the remainder of
the base rectangle, making a seam. Luckily,
corrugated paper will hide a seam quite completely.
54. Assist the wrapping process, by scoring the paper
exactly along the front bottom edge.
Here, a hera marker creases the backside of the paper
to create a neat bend mark.
You can also use a knitting needle tip, sturdy credit card edge, etc.
55. Bend the paper into position and glue the
narrow front edge to the paper's backside.
56. Repeat the scoring process to wrap the paper
to the top surface, glue in place, then repeat for
the final narrow back edge.
57. Trim excess paper even with back wrapped edge.
58. Cut a strip to size to place across the ends
to complete the wrap.

59. Prepare the platform to position and attach
the letters, by first studying the diagram below . . . 

. . . then lightly mark where the lead edges
of the 5 letters that touch the base will be positioned.
NOTE that the letter front bottom edge should be placed
1/2" back from the base front edge.
60. Apply quick-set glue to bottom of S, then
position 1/2" back, and with lead (left) edge
at mark.
61. Repeat with subsequent letters: P*, large O, K, Y
(*before positioning 'P', you may wish to apply
glue to the right "touching" edge of 'S'
so that the two will join.)
62. Position and "dry fit" little O suspended
between P and large O. Note where the
letter boxess touch, then remove, apply glue to appropriate
faces, then re-position and hold in place until secure.

(Refer to separate blog post for "embellishments"
63. Position 3d ghost with bottom attachment
extension behind P, centered
between S and small O, and attach securely.
 64. Position and attach mini witch hat on platform
below small suspended O.
65. Position and attach 3d pumpkin on the
K shorter arm's "platform".
66. Position and attach 3d bat on a wire 
centered behind Y.


  1. I LOVE this! Wonderful design. Where do I purchase the cut files, I can't find it in the Silhouette Design store. kf4116@yahoo.com

    1. It is available as several different down loads. Look for the Spooky letter blocks, the spooky letter fronts which includes the skull and spider, with snake, 3d ghost, 3d mini witch hat, slice form pumpkin and 3d bat. Look under the "Designers" button, SnapDragon Snippets, and they will be near the "newest" designs FRONT. If you still can't find them, email me directly at hearthsewnpatterns(at)yahoo(dot)com and I will email you the Silh online store numbers. Good luck.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This is amazing! I found this on the Silhouette website. I don't have a designer's button. Is there another option? Thank you in advance, Tudy

  3. Are you meaning that you can't access the Silhouette America online store? You will see the "Designers" in the "button" to click on near the top. These designs are also available from SVG Attic and SnapDragon Snippets.com .

  4. I'm in desperate need of assistance. I downloaded the design from silhouette store and I love it. I am fairly new to the Cameo and I have the designer edition software and I am learning how to use it. I was able to cut and make beauiful cover letters....but I have no idea how to ungroup and cut the box letters for the rest of the design. I can make the ghost, hat, etc....but the box letters are group gigantically and when I ungroup and try to put them on the mat....I loose the cut marks. I may have picked a design that is not for a newby but I just love it!! Can you give me some guidence....I am quitting for the evening and trying fresh tomorrow. Any guidence for this newbie would be greaty appreciated. I truly want this design up in my house before my halloween party....it is awesome.

    1. Kellie, in the SVG Attic file downloads, the ratio should be indicated in the name of the file, such as DSX2 (Design Space times 2, or at 200%. You also have to re-group these so that the dash perforation lines remain connected to the shape. We wish Cricut would make it easier to use outside SVG files. May wish to get a Silhouette system. However, in the meantime, if you can email me at hearthsewnpatterns(@)yahoo(dot)com with this same question, I will forward it to our lead contact who knows MUCH more about the use of the Cricut software and trouble shooting. I will forward your message and see what we can get accomplished. Another option is available in the meantime that I will answer once you email. Warmest good luck wishes.