By Nanci Tangeman

—You always learn something new at a Soul Box-making session – even the virtual ones! In September Soul Box-makers from Alaska, Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington and California met via Zoom to share their top Soul Box tips:

Recycle! Use old magazine pages for the bottoms – nobody will see them.

Don’t throw away flimsy paper! Fold two sheets together and leave them together.

The “men’s tie” stage of folding

Paint plain paper with watercolors before folding. It adds interest and rigidity.

Paper too small? Center and fold it inside a proper 8.5” square sheet. It’ll work out just fine!

Can’t pitch that beautiful 2014 calendar or worn children’s book? Give it new life in a Soul Box exhibit. (Marie Kondo will be proud.)

Think ahead. Add your creative touches before you finish folding the Box, when the paper is still flat (in that “men’s tie” stage).

Use up manila folders and cardstock scraps. Cut a 3- by 3-inch square and tuck it inside the top or bottom of your Soul Box to keep corners square. Embellish a 2.75- by 2.75-inch square, then glue to the top.

Art-challenged? Find images or messages online, print and fold.

Absorb the lessons if you’re attending virtual church services or listening to an uplifting podcast. Fold while listening and incorporate the messages of love and hope on your Soul Box.

Be smear-free when working with crayon or pencil. Stack the embellished page on a clean sheet and fold the two together. Separate for the final folds.

Your brown grocery bag is large enough to make several Soul Boxes. Plus, it’s sturdy and naturally attractive!

Team up. If you’re not great at some of the Soul Box-making skills (folding or lettering or embellishing), partner with a friend who is and complete your Boxes together.

Save on postage with a friend in Portland. If you’re far from our workshop in Portland but know someone in the area, split the folding. You fold to the flat “men’s tie” stage and mail your Boxes to a Portland friend to complete and drop off at a PDX location. [UPDATE: Check the website to find Branch Locations in your state or nearby that are currently accepting Soul Boxes.]

What’s the best glue? Everyone has a favorite: Elmer’s Glue applied with a watercolor paintbrush, Alene’s Tacky Glue and various glue sticks. Some people use packing tape, double-sided tape or Japanese paper tape. Use Mod Podge decoupage solution to coat delicate embellishments.

Separate pages after first two steps.

Stage a Small Pop-up Exhibit

Show local. Before you send in your Soul Boxes, stage a small pop-up exhibit in a shop window or hold an outdoor event during your church service or craft market. (Observe safe distancing, of course).

Shine your light. Send us the best photos or videos of your exhibit or event and we’ll post them so everyone can be inspired.

Stack and fold up to four sheets of paper at once (depending on thickness). Separate the pages after the first two steps.