DIY Christmas Exploding Box

There's still a few days left to sneak in some last-minute Christmas presents, so I took advantage of this time to make a heavily personalized exploding box for my significant other. I couldn't do a step-by-step tutorial because of the time crunch, but I made sure to take photos and videos of every component of the box before I handed it to him. Read more to see what's inside!

Every little thing in this box has a significance and I'll try to explain what each part means, but I probably won't do it justice because they're all very personal experiences from our relationship. I worked on this project for about 3 nights, but I'd say it took me about half a day overall. I had so many more ideas but I figured I'd save those for future gifts!


Right when you open the box, the song Theme of Mitsuha from the anime movie Your Name (Kimi no Na wa) starts playing for about two minutes as long as there's a light source. The sound module is light-activated so it stops whenever the sensor is covered completely then restarts once it's exposed to light. He showed me this movie one night and I absolutely loved it, so I chose this song since it's also his favorite anime film. 
The center of the piece is another box where the LED candle sits. The translucent walls surrounding the candles are decorated by silhouettes of some of my favorite dates with him. It was definitely a challenge to pick four of the most aesthetically pleasing dates, but I managed to narrow it down to these. 

The first one represents our date at the Aquarium of the Pacific, and jellyfish happens to be his favorite animal so I thought this silhouette was perfect for the event. The second is when we went stargazing at the beach while we were sitting on a lifeguard tower until 3 a.m. The third is when we saw a screening of Ratatouille where the score was played live by an incredible orchestra at San Diego, and the last one is based on our favorite installation from the Enchanted: Forest of Light at the Descanso Gardens. The green light and specks of glitter inside the box were actually inspired by that station, so I ended up going with this theme for the whole thing.

I had to include a polaroid pocket somewhere because we're definitely gonna need someplace to store our pictures if we ever get them printed out. We haven't taken one with my polaroid camera yet but it will definitely go here when that time comes. The image on the right is a poster illustration of the anime I mentioned earlier. The sound module is tucked in and concealed inside this pocket and the opening allows for a light source to hit the sensor.

These two are each of our Zodiac constellations and it was actually a quick last-minute addition because I was running out of ideas for what to do with the second layer. When we went to the Griffith Observatory, I saw that our constellations were right across each other on one of the ceilings, so I thought I'd mimic that image. You guys should already know by now that I have a deep fascination with stars, so it's no surprise that the components of this box have somewhat of a celestial quality. 

This "squash" card looks super complicated but it was actually one of the easiest sections to make. It just takes elementary-level origami skills and some cutting and pasting! These photos are from some of our date nights and I chose the venues that were the most aesthetically pleasing. The top one was from a super fancy dinner date that we had back when we first became an official couple; the second was from a shopping date where we first held hands; the third is a remarkable view of LA at the Griffith Observatory; and the last is from the Enchanted: Forest of Light exhibit.

This "waterfall" card is probably one of the coolest features in this box. As you can see from the GIF, you just pull the tab to flip through the series of photos. I wish I could take credit for these ideas, but I owe it all to Youtube DIY tutorials for showing how to make these fun additions. I wish I could add more photos as well, but the sides of the box can only fit this much.

For the last layer, I wanted to make the cards a bit more interactive and functional by making him put items in them over time for our future dates. He has a bucket list of his own, but I wanted to add one here so we can think of some new things to check off together. We also love watching movies and we usually collect the tickets, so I thought making a little pocket would be a convenient storage idea, and the same goes for the events that we've attended/will attend. Lastly, I wrote a note inside this envelope because what kind of DIY gift would it be if there wasn't a heartfelt letter? 

That wraps up this very special present for a very special someone. This is probably my favorite craft project I've ever done so far and that says a lot because I was all about that craft life when I was younger. I went all out with this one because the second I get invested in any artwork, I always end up putting way too much effort and making sure that I'm satisfied with every detail. Immersing myself in art comes by rarely nowadays, so whenever I tap into that realm again, I get reminded of something that was such a big part of me growing up. This is also my first gift to my boyfriend and the first time we're spending the holiday season together, so I wanted it to be extra special! 

Anyway, I hope this sparked some ideas if y'all are trying to make something last-minute for someone special! I'm sure you have that one person who is incredibly difficult to shop for because perhaps they don't care about materialistic things, so this would be a fun and unique gift idea for you creatives if all else fails. 

Happy Holidays!




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An Irvine-based style & beauty blogger

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