How to make a graduation card box that looks like a mortar board

Written by jane smith
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How to make a graduation card box that looks like a mortar board
Graduations are cause for celebration. (cap on books image by timur1970 from

A graduation card box helps corral cards and cash gifts while everyone is busy celebrating with the new graduate. When the box is an oversized mortarboard, there is no question whether the card is in the right place. A hatbox and a sheet of craft foam become a mortarboard card box in minutes. Use the box afterward to store your graduation gown, mortarboard, tassel and any photos, cards and mementos of the occasion.

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Things you need

  • 380 mm (15 inch) diameter hatbox
  • Dust sheet
  • Black, high-gloss spray paint
  • Medium sandpaper
  • Tacky craft glue
  • Shallow bowl
  • 50 mm (2 inch) wide trim brush
  • 765 by 765 mm (30 by 30 inch) square of craft foam
  • Utility knife
  • Gold acrylic paint
  • Detail brush

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  1. 1

    Remove the hatbox lid and any carrying string. Lay the lid and the bottom outside on a dust sheet with their open sides facing down. Krylon advises using a fan and opening doors and windows to provide ventilation if you cannot paint outdoors.

    How to make a graduation card box that looks like a mortar board
    A round hatbox will look best. (Mens Hat Boxes image by Scott Williams from
  2. 2

    Shake the can of black, high-gloss spray paint vigorously from side to side until you hear the ball inside clacking. Continue to shake for five to 10 minutes.

  3. 3

    Hold spray paint can upside down with the spray nozzle pointed at the hatbox lid and bottom. Cover them with paint using short, even strokes. Stop every 30 to 60 seconds to shake the paint can. Allow paint to dry overnight and repeat.

  4. 4

    Pour tacky craft glue into a shallow bowl. Apply glue to the flat hatbox top only, using a 50 mm (2 inch) wide trim brush. Do not apply glue to the sides or to any part of the box bottom.

    How to make a graduation card box that looks like a mortar board
    Pour glue into a bowl. (bottle of glue on black marble image by phizics from
  5. 5

    Rub medium sandpaper over the hatbox top. Beacon Adhesives suggests that a rough surface will provide a better bond between the foam, glue and box top.

  6. 6

    Center the square of black craft foam on top of the hatbox lid. Use firm pressure to make a complete seal between the glue on the lid and the sheet of craft foam. Allow to dry overnight.

  7. 7

    Cut a 150 mm (6 inch) long, 12 mm (1/2 inch) wide slot through the craft foam and the lid, using a utility knife.

  8. 8

    Lay the hatbox bottom with its open side facing the ceiling. Paint "Class of" around the hatbox bottom, using gold acrylic paint and a detail brush. Paint the graduation year in a diagonal line across the craft foam top.

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