To make each box, Zhe begins with a mat that he weaves from Chinese sorghum stalks. After sweeping the mat to remove dirt and dust, he wheat-pastes pieces of newspaper to the mat and traces an outline for the box’s panels. Sometimes cardboard is substituted as a cheaper alternative to sorghum stalks. The design is cut out of the mat and Sun glues strips of fabric along the edges of the box to ensure smoothness. Sun then sews the box together.
The assembled box is decorated with papercut designs and the top is painted. The designs depict butterflies, birds, fruit, and a variety of flowers. Although the box-making process is shared between Zhe and Sun, Zhe’s mother (a clever woman who also taught them the craft) created the designs.