Envelope Style String and Button Closure for Drop Front Boxes
Custom made drop front boxes are ideal for housing fragile objects stored on open shelves. The front of the box is designed to fold open from the bottom, allowing free access to the object stored within. While a separate lid can secure the drop front with no additional fasteners, large or tall drop front boxes should be secured at the sides. The drop front has flaps which are fastened to the side of the box with envelope-style string and button closures. This system is more reliable than pressure sensitive adhesive backed hook and loop fasteners commonly used.
Rebecca E. Newberry
Science Museum of Minnesota
120 West Kellogg Boulevard
Saint Paul, MN 55102
Photo Credits: Rebecca Newberry
The envelope style string and button closure secures the drop front box more safely and securely than hook and loop fasteners (fig. 1). The hook and loop fasteners are available with pressure sensitive adhesive backing. This is often used to secure the drop front to the side of the box. The hook and loop fastening is almost as strong as the adhesive backing, meaning the entire tape may detach from the box upon opening, leaving a sticky mess. Non-adhesive backed hook and loop may also be used. It is attached to the box with hot melt adhesive or by sewing. The former method is just as likely to fail as the adhesive backed hook and loop while the latter is time consuming. The strength of the hook and loop can also make opening the box gently a challenge.
The envelope style string and button closure is quick to attach and easy and gentle to use (fig. 2). If the thread stitching the buttons to the box should fail, it is a simple matter to sew the buttons back on the box in another location. The system is well suited to boxes which must be opened frequently. Overview: Envelope Style Button Closure for Drop Front Boxes
Materials, Tools & Supplies
- Corrugated plastic board or corrugated cardboard
- Cotton tying tape
- Heavy duty thread
- Cutting mat
- Utility knife
- Tape measure or ruler
- Yarn needle or small crochet hook
- Lay out a box from corrugated plastic or corrugated acid free card board.
- Cut the sides and score and fold them from the base.
- Measure the flaps for the front and back of the box. Make them wide enough to fasten to the sides (at least 2 inches or 5 cm) but not so wide that the front and back flaps overlap. Leave at least 2 inches/5 cm between the flaps for attaching the buttons.
- Score and fold the flaps slightly wider than the width of the box at the base, so they will fold neatly around the sides of the box and not push the sides in.
- Score and fold the front and back from the base.
- Fasten the back flaps to the sides of the box, using your preferred method.
- Locate a good spot to attach the buttons on the side of the box.
- Sew one button to the side of the box, with the flatter side against the box. Use heavy duty thread.
- Place the second button against the first button, with the flatter side facing out, Stitch the second button through the first button and through the side of the box. Use heavy duty thread.
- Fold the front flap up and locate the spot which corresponds to the buttons sewn to the side.
- Poke a hole through the flap and tie a length of cotton tying tape through the hole, leaving a long end (fig. 3).
- Repeat on the other side.
- Secure the drop front by wrapping the end of the tying tape between the two facing buttons on the side of the box (fig. 4).
- Alternately, stitch two buttons to the flap. Secure the front by winding cotton tying tape between the buttons on the flap and the buttons on the side (fig. 5).
Use larger buttons for better security. The buttons shown in the images are approximately 1 inch/ 2.5cm in diameter.
Be sure the score the flaps wider than the width of the box so they fold neatly over the sides. This will ensure even pressure when wrapping the tying tape between the buttons on the box side.
This method could be adapted for use with washers. The washers could be attached to the box with rivets or bolts and nuts.
Special thanks to the Museum of Belize for permission to photograph the Buena Vista vase shown in the drop front box.
Drop front box