Japanese Box Making

Saturday 14th November 2020, 10am – 4pm
Venue: Hastingleigh
Tutor: Tony Woodhams
£25 members / £30 non-members

Suitable for: All levels

Make a Japanese Chitsu case with four drop sides, and discuss variants such as the wraparound and box cases. You will have the choice between traditional or modern materials to create a made to measure box to protect your precious projects and take home the skills and knowledge to make more of any desired shape or size. There will be boxes on show for inspiration

You will need: 


  1. Scalpel or craft knife, spare blades
  2. Something to use as a sharps container
  3. 45cm Ruler 
  4. Cutting edge
  5. Set square (45/45/90)
  6. Cutting mat (A3)
  7. Dish for glue
  8. Bowl, dish cloth or old flannel
  9. Old hand towel or old tea towel
  10. Flat punch or chisel (6mm) and mallet/hammer
  11. Bone folder or Teflon folder
  12. Scissors
  13. Table protector
  14. Carrier bag for waste
  15. Pressing boards and brick or similar heavy weight
  16. Dividers (optional)
  17. A standard size paperback novel (to make a box to fit)
  18. Notebook, pen, pencil


  1. 1 sheet of Grey board (2mm or 3mm)
  2. Covering material (Bookcloth or Japanese patterned Chiyogami paper. If you wish to try a different covering or lining material, please check that it is strong and flexible. Any cloth should be backed). 1m book cloth or large sheet of paper should be plenty for both the covering and lining. If in doubt it’s better to have too much than not enough, and you may wish to bring several options if you wish to mix and match
  3. Optional different Lining material / paper. Plain or decorated. Complementary or contrasting. A3 or larger
  4. Strong thin Japanese paper (Xuan) for hinges. Can use Layout paper if necessary, but Japanese paper is better. A5 or larger
  5. Title strip (Japanese paper) 
  6. Rice paste or wheat paste (see recipe). Can use PVA or a strong glue stick if you prefer
  7. Old Magazines or Glassine paper
  8. Bone clasps and / or chop stick (nice one, not the fragile freebies you get with Sushi)

The tutor will bring paper suitable for the hinges and title strips for a nominal fee

There may be some Bookcloth available for purchase on the day, however you are advised to check with the workshop organiser in advance

Paste recipe

There are many recipes for glue paste out there and they obviously work for those who use it; if you already make wheat or rice paste that you’re happy with please bring some along. For those who have not made it before, here are some instructions

Ingredients: 2 slightly heaped table spoons of wheat or rice flour (NOT gluten free), 1/2 pint of cold water

  1. Add a little cold water to the flour and mix to a smooth paste. Add remaining water a little at a time, mixing to prevent lumps forming, until all water has been mixed in (or use a blender)
  2. Transfer mixture to an enamel saucepan (metal can affect the glue and cause paper to deteriorate over time). Slowly bring to the boil, stirring constantly with a wooden or plastic spoon. 
  3. Once the paste thickens reduce the heat and stir for a couple more minutes
  4. Transfer the paste into a suitable container, leave to cool. Store in a sealed container in a fridge for up to 4-5 days. 
  5. If it’s too thick you can thin it with water, mixing well