The Masu Box is a traditional design in origami. It is called masu because it resembles the Japanese "measuring boxes" (as opposed to measuring cups). Its a pretty easy design to master, oftentimes useful (Pre party dillemma: I got the gift, you brought a box for it, right? Ok, so that doesn't happen, but still...), and there are countless fun things to do with it.

Materials: A square of paper. Any paper works, so long as its big enough to handle (and by the same token, small enough to handle). Post its work well once you get the hang of it, as does looseleaf paper, candy wrappers, magazine papers, or whatevers lying around.

( : represents a crease, as does =. | represents a paper side )
1. Beginning with the colored side of the paper (or 
the side you want to show in the end) facing up, fold the 
paper in half, unfold, then make a fold perpendicular to 
that one, and unfold. Make sure to crease well.
|----:----|
|    :    |
|====:====|
|    :    |
|____:____|
2. Turn the paper over, and using the original creases as 
guides, fold each corner into the center of the paper. You 
should end up with a new, smaller square. Make sure to 
rotate it so that the side of the new square is facing 
down, not a corner of the paper.

|-------|       <-- it should end up looking like that...
| \   / |           (ASCII art is dumb, OK?)
|   :   |
|_/___\_|

3. Fold the top edge of the "mini square" to the center, 
crease, and unfold. Repeat with the bottom edge, left, and 
right edge.

4. Unfold the top and bottom folds so you end up with 
something that looks like this (there's no proportion in 
these diagrams, by the way)...:
  /\
 /  \
/    \
|\  /|
| \/ |
| /\ |
|/  \|
\    /
 \  /
  \/
5. Refold the creases along the left and right sides that 
were made in step 3 (keep the top and bottom flaps 
unfolded, however) so that the sides stand up at a 90 
degree angle.

6. This is the hard part... The end of the side that is 
standing up straight should look like this, crease 
wise:
|_\  What you're going to do is make a fold along
|/|  <-- this diagonal line on each side (left and right)
| |  You should end up with a side standing straight up,
|_|  with a triangle at the top. Fold this side over so that
|\|  it rests neatly in the box, creating the third side.
| /

7. Repeat this procedure on the 4th side.

8. If you followed the steps correctly (and if I wrote them 
correctly), you should now have an origami masu box. The 
inside base of the box should be made up of four triangles 
(just to clarify).
All Sorts of Fun Things to Do With The Boxes You Make

Variations:

You can create a box cover (or boxes of different sizes from the same size paper) by folding the paper to not-quite-the-center in step 3.


Thanks to The Origami Workshop for providing some helpful hints in box making.

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