Chinese takeout boxes, also called oyster pails, are leakproof, microwave-safe storage containers suitable for hot or cold food. Though inexpensive and less wasteful than foam or plastic takeout boxes, the containers are rarely used outside of Chinese restaurants. Each box is folded from a single piece of stiff paper. You can trace several takeout boxes and use them for party favours, gifts and, of course, storing leftovers.
Wash and unfold a takeout box from a Chinese food restaurant, or print out a takeout box template from the Mirkwood Designs or Package Tech website. Cut out the template.
Trace the unfolded box or template onto a piece of card stock. White is the most recognisable colour for takeout boxes, but red or gold are suitable for a Chinese New Year party. If using card stock decorated on one side, trace onto the plain side.
Using a ruler, draw guidelines for where to fold or cut on the box. Use a dotted line to indicate a fold and a solid line to indicate a cut. Copy the markings on your template or copy the creases and cuts you see on the unfolded takeout box.
Cut out your takeout box and make cuts for the tabs and any other cuts indicated on your template.
Score the folds with a knife, then make your folds and crease with a ruler to make them crisp.
Glue the overlapping side folds, if present. Some Chinese takeout boxes don't require gluing, but the traditional white box with the overlapping sides should be glued. Glue the flaps where they overlap and clamp them in place with clothespins until the glue dries.
Punch a hole on two opposite sides of the takeout box. On the traditional box, punch the holes where the flaps overlap.
Bend a wire so it resembles the handle used in Chinese takeout boxes. Insert the two free ends into the holes and bend the ends to secure the wire in the holes. Alternately, you can use ribbon or string as a handle.
Do not microwave takeout boxes with uncoated wire handles.
Tips and warnings
- Do not microwave takeout boxes with uncoated wire handles.