Structural Packaging

An in-depth guide to innovative 3D forms and self-locking boxes

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With the rising number of entrepreneurs among the creative community handling their own production, the value in high-quality DIY tips becomes increasingly essential. Whether you’re a Danish jewelry designer peddling pieces on Etsy, an artisan handcrafting leather belts in the Pacific Northwest or an urban partnership making ties from remnant fabrics found in New York’s garment district, the finishing touches—like original packaging—are not to be overlooked. Enter Paul Jackson‘s comprehensive new book “Structural Packaging: Design Your Own Boxes and 3-D Forms.” Packed with step-by-step instructions, the informational guide will teach any novice the fundamentals of bespoke package design or paper sculptures.


Jackson encourages reading the book in sequential order for maximum results, beginning with how to design the perfect net—the shape made when a box is unfolded flat, and the foundation for constructing any enclosed, self-locking polyhedron. According to Jackson, who describes himself as a paper artist, he was teaching modular origami when he had a game-changing revelation. Thinking about how modular origami units locked together, Jackson redefined net construction by creating “the strongest possible one-piece net to enclose any solid, based on the distribution and shape of the locking tabs.”


After the basics, “Structural Packaging” takes readers through steps on building square-cornered boxes and how to deform a cube, and offers insight on some common closures before finishing with a chapter on creating your own self-locking forms. As Jackson explains, there may be nothing new in 2D and 3D geometry as individual mathematical systems, but when thought about together, “they can be combined and deformed in a never-ending series of permutations to create a very great number of beautiful and practical forms.”


Any diligent student can master the art of innovative packaging by following Jackson’s comprehensively detailed instructions, accompanied by 175 illustrations. The book hits shelves February 2012 and will sell online from Laurence King and Amazon, where you can pre-order a copy now.