Artistic Handmade Boxes and Books by Debra Glanz

I don't know about you, but handmade boxes and books fascinate me. I'm pretty sure it's because they so neatly combine variety with orderliness... think about it, the number of shapes and paper options with which to work is staggering, yet the end result is a tidy, useful object. Add arty to that description and you have the very special boxes and books made by Debra Glanz of The Paper Assembly.

A square jewelry or ring box featuring papers from Hungary and Italy

The moment I was introduced to the Portland, Oregon artist's work, I wanted to learn more about it, but first I couldn't help but click around her Etsy shop to choose images to share here. (I do love window shopping!) The Paper Assembly on Etsy features her studio work along with paper sheets and kits.

Handsome, concertina-style blank books covered with black on black botanical papers

What I find so interesting about Debra's books and boxes is not only her attention to detail (those perfectly folded corners!) but that the decorative papers she uses are so diverse. While many are imported from far away lands, others are Debra's own designs.

A Bobble Box featuring papers from Germany, India, and the U.S.

Debra says in her Etsy About description (well worth a read) that she was drawn to paper even as a child. That love was rekindled years later via a bookbinding class and ever since, her paper collection has grown exponentially.

I asked how she chooses papers when making a book or box.

Choosing papers is generally not a problem for me as I have thousands of sheets collected from all over the world for the last 25 or so years. If the old saying is true - "whoever dies with the most paper (or fabric or yarn...) wins" - I think I'm a lock.'

A set of three notebook/jotters featuring drawings by Edward Gorey

I was curious about her favorite part of the box making/book making process...

Favorite part, hmmmmmm. I like almost every part of the process with the exception of cutting book board. I LOVE cutting paper and my paper cutters are probably my favorite tools. Probably my greatest satisfaction comes from making books, but I learned a long time ago that while a lot of people don't want to or won't write in a blank book everyone can find a use for a lovely little box. 

A tiny sunflower-inspired box for jewelry, coins, or keys
A house-shaped box - perfect as a housewarming gift

You might recall a recent post about paper crafting kits... if only I'd known then to include Debra's origami bowl and box kits... I love to make little boxes to hold quilled jewelry gifts. She also shares several paper craft tutorials on her website.


Debra's Etsy shop is The Paper Assembly ans she is on Instagram.

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Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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