Project 2: Apple Carrier

Jayden Liu
10 min readOct 12, 2020



A carrier is a case that packs and holds objects. The object that i’m interested to hold for the project is apple, or rather three or four apples. It is easy to make a box out of the cardboard to contain the apples but from what i understand there is much more to an effective and appealing apple Carrier. First of all, different from the other objects available, an apple is heavier, harder, and surprisingly more fragile because bruised apples are unforgivable. Having these characteristics in mind, I believe a good apple carrier is both protective and robust. Second, a good carrier carries a specific object comfortably and effectively. The apple carrier has to be good at carrying apples and not all the other stuffs and people would know the carrier is indeed for apples when they see it. Therefore, I am thinking about adding functions to the carrier to make it distinctly an apple carrier.


It was my first time working with cardboard in class today. For the first time, I realized that there is more to a cardboard than thick pieces of paper and there is a flute within the cardboard which helps carry the weight and could also be used to create curve when crafting with them.

The topic that my group was assigned to investigate was a tab/slot geometry. Through some internet searches and discussion we came to the conclusion that it was a method to join two or more pieces of raw material together by cutting out geometric tabs that fits into a slot of similar size.

The tab/slot and geometry method is definitely one of the most common used method when working with cardboard and I think it is especially helpful in making carriers since most carriers are 3 dimensional and requires similar joining methods to be made and stabilized.

Like I mentioned in the last post, an apple is unique in that it is both heavy and fragile. Therefore, Its carrier has to be protective and robust. I also made the discovery today that the round shape of an apple could not be easily represented by cardboard. Therefore, I am still thinking of ways that i can emphasize the quality of apples with cardboard.


From crafting a sketch model I’ve learned for the most part how cardboards work, namely how they bend, how they connect, and how they fold. I could not have done my first models without tapes because I didn’t know enough mechanism to support and connect my ideas. However, I’ve worked out a few things. First, the flute in the cardboard creates a natural right curve by itself. if given the proper restraint, the cardboard can hold the shape of a quarter-circle nicely. This is a great discovery to be made so early on because one of the most prominent characteristic for apples are their round silhouette. For the carrier to be indicative and representative of apples, it has to suggest the circular shape of them. Second, tab/slot geometry did not work very well on the side of a cardboard box for me, especially right in the middle of it. I did not have a sheet of cardboard big enough to make my carrier in one cut so I divided it into two sheets, which I tried to join using a tab/slot geometry right in the middle of the sides.Obviously, it failed miserably. the box can never hold up as the tabs give out very easily.

I was not in class for the discussion because I had a really bad case of headache, which completely deprived my sleep. However I do have some idea in mind that I could put into practice for my next model. First, it should be made with one piece of cardboard so I have to go get some bigger sheets before next class. Second, it needs better joining mechanisms and I will look at the boxes at my house for inspiration. By looking around the house, I realized that all the gift boxes seem to be joined in a similar way that is by having an extension from the side of the bottom that folds back into a tab/slot on the bottom, which secures the side of the boxes in place. I decide to adopt this mechanism in my next model. And lastly, I plan to make future carriers with better craftsmanship. The first models I made were sketchy and I want to work toward a final composition draft after draft. Therefore, I would make each future edition with greater craftsmanship.


The new mechanism that I adopted seemed to have worked quite well. Although the box looked sketchy just like the last one, the mechanism used successfully secured the box into place and i was able to pull off some nice curves on the edges of my carrier because of that. I decided that I should continue to use this mechanism for my future carriers if I want to keep the circular edges.

For the discussion we had during class we all had different opinion that we believe make a good carrier. But one thing we more or less agreed on is that the function of the carrier should be top priority, followed by durability and the aesthetic aspect of it. An interesting point that one of my group mates point our is that she does not appreciate designs that are vulgar. One of the example that she gave us was the egg carrier that we looked at in class. I found this comment interesting because a carrier can’t be any good if people don’t want to interact with it or even look at it. Another thing I’ve realized from our discussion is that in a product design like this, function always trumps aesthetics because unlike a piece of art a product loses its value if it cannot be effectively utilized. Moreover, simplicity might actually be better than complexity when it comes to functional product building because when one takes into account for assembly, utility and storage, it is always easier and more delightful to wield a simple product. Therefore, I decided to continue my agenda of making my carrier out of one piece of cardboard as that is what it is minimally required and can work sufficiently with. Moreover, to complete my design I’m still looking for a good way to add handles to my carrier, which vastly increase the functionality of it


I am making progress slowly but surely. Realizing that the new joining mechanism used requires more space and the newly purchased apples are larger in size, I decided it was time for me to re-measure some of the measurement i’ve been working with and establish a up to date sketch and measurement. The first change I’ve made to the measurements are about the circumference and the radius of the apples. What i did was I measured my apples like as if they are perfectly round, which made the calculation process easier and much more clear. Adding on top to the space that the apples require, I take into account the space that the cardboard and the flutes are going to take up. The height of my cardboard is roughly 0.4 cm and i’ve made plenty of room around the edges and tabs and the folds to make sure my cardboard is not too small or too tight.

After I got done with my calculations, I decided to add a pair of handles on the lid of my carriers. What I had in mind was that I would make circular handle that are large enough to fit my entire palm, which not only reinforce the round shape of the apple but also fits the palm quite comfortably. the handles came out not in the best shape and I should definitely work on my cutting skills for my next pair of handles. But for now, it holds quite nicely.


I spent my weekend thinking how to make a pair of sounder handles and how to add openings to my carrier to show more of the apples. I made a few sketches of different ideas that i had during the weekend but none of them deemed practical and executable so I decided to combine what I made with the sketches with what I’ve made and learnt previously. The side of my box contains vital tabs that hold the entire box together so cutting more openings on it will likely decreases the integrity of the structure. Thus cuttings on the sides will not be an option. The front of the box also contains the vital opening tab that connect the front and the lid so it was not a good idea to cut open this side of the box as well. Therefore the only side available for alteration and that is visible to the user is the back of the box. I would cut open a 7cm rectangle that starts from 3 cm from the top of the back to the cut that I’ve made for the handles, which adds to the aesthetic of the box and allows viewer to see more of the objects inside.

The other thing I’ve worked on was the handles. One of the major issues i faced after constructing my last model was that, given the thickness of the flute, i was not able to lift the handles from the lid’s plane into a upright position. This time I cut an extra circle that has a 0.4 cm longer radius outside of the handles so the handles could be lifted smoothly.

Any making the model one of the critical problems I faced was that the opening tab and the lid is not strong enough to lift the weight of four apples and if no changes were to be made, my final product would not stand the test of functionality and durability so I have to think of an alternative for my next model.


While I did not make a new carrier for this week, I developed valuable insights from the class discussion and decided to make a sketch for my next and final model.

Steve’s comment about letting the base of the carrier carry the weight really inspired me and was why I decided to make a major shift last minute. In my newer model, while the tabs being used to hold the sides together stays the same, I got rid of the lid and added a strip that connects diagonally between the rounded corners. Inspired by the carrying pole, a carrying device extremely popular throughout the south Asia, and how it effectively carries huge weight with minimal input, I design a similar form that can withstand the weight of 4 apples.

While the addition of the “pole” will more or less obstruct the ease of construction, I think it is necessary given that it is my priority to make a carrier that can actually handle the weight and do its job. I hope when I put it all together for the final review, my new design will carry the weight effortlessly.


Working with cardboard this time around felt much easier. I got done with the body of my carrier much faster than any of my previous attempts. However, working with a new design was still a challenge. I had to constantly work through unforeseeable problems and make sure that i don’t mess up for the final review because I am not going to have time to redo an entire carrier. My model came out more or less unharmed and pretty similar to what I have imagined. Expectedly, my new carrying mechanism worked wondrously. I got worried quite a bit when I was how thin the pole was compared to the body of the carrier but in the end it held up the weight with no problem.