Making and Crafts : Thomas The Tank Engine Costume

November 4, 2011 07:04 by ehouston

I promised earlier this week to add some more details on the Thomas costume I made for my Little Guy.  So, here it is!  Nothing fancy, really, just cardboard and paint.  Let’s get started.

Of course, you know I pulled out one of the many diaper boxes I have collected.  This is a Target, Up & Up brand club pack sized box.  To start I flipped the box over, using the bottom for the top. 


Then I used the top to an oatmeal container as a template to mark three circles, along what were the top flaps, to make the wheels.


Next I marked along the top edge of the box where I planned to cut away an opening and create the “cab” portion of the engine.


If you look closely in nearly every picture you will see my Little Guy “helping” through the whole process.


After removing the top portion and creating the opening where my son would stand, I cut down that same piece to use for the front platform of the engine.  I also cut down the oatmeal container to use as the rounded part of the tank.


I cut around each wheel and using some leftover cardboard from another project I cut two more wheels for the front platform and to balance the entire look of the costume.  I attached everything with blue painter’s tape, as well as, covered all cut edges with tape to create a smooth edge.  Brass paper tacks, along with a dab of glue, were used to hold the front wheels to the front platform.


An underside view shows how I added some support to the flaps that create the wheels.  I tucked the side flap in at an angle and taped it into place.  This was surprisingly strong.


I used the front side flap, flipped out and upwards to help secure and strengthen the front platform piece.


After putting all the pieces together and priming the whole thing, I realized (along with from hints from The Mister) that the tank portion was really just off and out of proportion.


So, before adding color I removed the oatmeal container and added a “Party Pail” ice cream bucket instead.  I did trim the upper lip and handle off the pail before taping it into place. 



I didn’t toss the oatmeal container, though!  I cut away about a third of the side and bottom, then pushed them together to close the gap.  I tucked the bottom portion in to create a funnel as I pushed the sides together and then taped the whole thing in place.


Then it was time for the color!  Lucky for us we had all the colors in our paint stash.


If you are wondering, I used painter’s tape to make all the lines nice and straight, eyeballing all of it as I went along.  Then I went back with a small brush and touched up any bleed-through. 


When I got to the wheels and the face my confidence and energy, sort of wilted.  A quick Google search later and I found a head-on shot of both the face and the wheels.  I was able to enlarge them in and print them out on light blue cardstock.  A few cuts later and I just glued them into place.  The very last edition were the bars or rails that connect the wheels.  These were made from strips of cardboard cut to fit the measurements between the center of adjoining wheels.  To clean them up I cut a curve at the end of each strip.  I covered the edges in painter’s tape, painted them and attached them to the costume using more brass paper tacks.  In order to keep the costume on, I cut strips of heavy fabric, folded them in half and sewed them into straps.  I made them wide so they would not dig into my son’s shoulders.  To attach them to the costume I figured out where they needed to be placed, taped them down and then used heavy floss to stitch straight through the box.  If you have a heavy duty needle it will slip through the cardboard like budda’!

And, here we are…a finished Thomas the Tank Engine costume!




The Little Guy loved it and has been playing with it all week.  Even with all the abuse over the last few days it is still in one piece and looking pretty decent.  I never would have imagined that painter’s tape would hold so well.  This is one of those projects that did not take very long, does not require any special skills and had a lot of bang for the buck.  Since I owned all the parts it was a virtually free costume, too.  Always a bonus!

Hope this helps you make your little engineers very happy next Halloween!

Kitsch Krafts

Currently rated 2.0 by 99 people

  • Currently 1.969697/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

While He Sleeps….

October 26, 2011 07:58 by ehouston


…I sneak off and this is what happens…

It would be so nice to have a “before” and “after” shot for you of all the projects that are currently under way around here, but so far things are still in process.  I did want to offer up a sneak peak….


I drug this thing home from the thrift store yesterday and although I promised The Mister that I would just clean it up and put it in place, it was a lie.  Right now Senor Mini- Hutch is sitting, unassembled in the garage.  But it does have a first coat of stain at least!  I can’t wait to get this finished up and set in place.  Next step will be to figure out what exactly to display in those glass cases….don’t you love getting a reflective glimpse of all the crud in our garage?  nice!

The Little Guy also talked me in to going a different direction for his Halloween costume this year.  Here is a shot of where we are so far. 


Can you figure out what he will be?  Stay tuned for an update early next week.

One last thing, I think I have our table trays for the Family Room all figured out.  Hint, it involves one of these…


I know, I know, you are totally shocked that I am using another diaper box in a project, right? 

Yeah, right!

Kitsch Krafts

Currently rated 1.6 by 34 people

  • Currently 1.588235/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Making And Crafts : Diaper Box Storage

August 1, 2011 07:19 by ehouston

Continuing the theme of creating something useful from discarded containers (remember the castle from last week?  Or, the hamper from last year?) I wanted to share yet another way I am using old diaper boxes.  You may have glimpsed the storage on the upper shelves of the laundry room in the pictures I posted Friday about that remodel in process.


There is one up there to the left side of the window and….


…another on the right side.

They are being used as storage for seasonal items; mainly our pool gear, towels, toys, swim diapers, etc.  This spot is a little far out of reach.  Even with all of my 5 feet 9 inches I can just barely pull them down, so I don’t like to put things I need to get to very often up that high.  I tried leaving the shelves empty and then considered just putting some plants up there as I did on the dryer (see shot above).  Plants always add something nice and fresh to a space, I think.  Since I prefer to use live plants I decided that trying to get up there to water them might lead to dead plants.  Just bein’ honest.  I’m lazy like that.  After some hemming and hawing I decided storage was in order and it  definitely needed to be for something I only needed to access once in a while.  Also, because this is an entrance into our home, albeit our private entrance from the garage, I still wanted things to be pleasing to the eye when you walked in.  We can’t hide the washer or dryer or the ugly plugs or water hook-ups.  So, I have attempted to make things decent in all the other areas.  I already had the little wicker baskets (from Target, of course!) holding our dog’s brushes, old collars, leashes, flea repellents, you get the picture and I wanted something similar.  Well, once you move past the itty-bitty sizes in those square storage baskets the prices really start to go up.  At the time I was looking I was seeing $40.00 plus dollars for each covered basket.  And, since this was not necessary storage, just “I want something aesthetically pleasing to fill the gap” storage I could not justify spending nearly $100.00 to make this far off area pretty.  Plus, I’m simply cheap.

Out with the cute matchy basket idea and in with the diaper boxes.  We only have what seems like a million of these things hanging around here.  You can’t open a closet in this joint without seeing a diaper or wipes box shoved in, either to store it for a later use or because it’s being used to store something else.  I know I’m not the only one…who’s with me here?  Can I get a Hallelujah?

If you want to make covered diaper box storage here is what you will need:

2 diaper boxes for one finished box (this project took 3 total)

Packing tape

Primer or light colored paint

Paper or fabric for covering the box (The amount will depend on the size box you are covering.)

Contrasting paper or fabric for covering the box top

Batting for the box top if you are using fabric

Glue (I used hot glue and a glue stick for convenience)

Utility knife


Pen or pencil

First, I pulled together two decent, non-dented or scrunched, 144 count sized boxes and a third that had decent top flaps.   Then I used the packing tape to close the top flaps of the two nice boxes.  You will want to take your time lining the flaps up and making the tape neat and tight because this will end up being the top to your finished box.


Next, mark a line about 1.25 inches down from the top of the box all the way around.  (Remember these measurements are for the boxes pictured.  You will need to adjust the measurements to suit your needs.)  I wanted to save the end handle space for my final product so I left a bit of room above the handle hole for stability.  I would probably go wider if the handles were not in play, just for visual balance later.  If you don’t want to use the handles, push the cutouts back into the sides, smoothing them out as much as possible and then cover both the outside and inside with the packing tape.  The goal would be to get the smoothest end panels as possible.  I just followed along the fold line and removed the flap completely.


Use the utility knife to cut along the line you marked all the way around the sides of the box.  Take your time in doing this and employ light pressure and several passes to get through the cardboard completely.  Going slowly here will ensure straighter, less jagged edges and no loss of fingertips.


Once you have cut through your line you will now have a skinny top and a nice little bottom.  Next, carefully remove the top flaps of the third box.  Measure and mark a line down the middle of the flap length and then cut the piece in half.  Now, mark a line about 1.25 inches from one of the edges.  Make two of these flaps for each box and set them aside for later.


Be smarter than me and prime over the cute little crawler and any other dark or bright markings on your box.  I just used some flat white wall paint that was leftover from the nursery project to hide the images.  Initially I thought the extra thick paper I used would cover the markings on the box, but after gluing down one side it became obvious that the little baby would be mocking me from high above as I folded pile after pile of laundry.


NOW, get out your paper or fabric and start covering your box!  I found this cool, white on white embossed paper at a local thrift store for $1.50.  It was an unopened roll from Hallmark and you know it was waaaaay more than a buck, fiddy brand new!


I just placed the box on the paper the same way you would when wrapping a gift, and did some quick marking with a pencil to know where to cut.  Once I had cut out the first piece I used it to cut three more.  This was after realizing one piece would go around one long and one short side of the box, with enough extra to turn under the edges.  This made for easy placement after rubbing a glue stick all over each side of the box.  By the way, I did not cover the bottom, but I did add enough along the top edge to wrap around the box lip.


(As you can see above, I had help during the early stages of this project.  Before nap time, someone was building things with his blocks and throwing them into the open box I was trying to cut and cover.  Yep, that is a super sharp utility knife sitting right next to his blocks.  Mom of the Year- right here!  YES!)

I cut a tiny sliver out of each corner before wrapping over the lip of the box.


Speaking of the box lip (I know you have been wondering) now is the time to get those flaps out that you cut from the top of the third box.  With the plain, brown side facing in glue the flap to the inner top edge of the long side of the box.  Use the line you marked as a guide to line it up with the top edge of the box side.  Then add the second flap to the other side


It should look like this….


…and here is a closer view.


There you have the pieces that will hold the top in place, also known as the lip of the box.  ;o)

Now, continue to glue and wrap the paper around the sides and edges of the box.  If you are using the handles, carefully make slits from the center of the circle cut out to the edges and then pull the paper flaps back, gluing them to the inside (see picture below).  At this point you will want to wrap the box top in either the same paper or fabric used on the bottom portion of the box or in a contrasting paper or fabric.  I chose to use plain dark brown cotton fabric found in my stash and I added a panel of batting to the top only.  Then I wrapped the the fabric around the edges and glued along the inside.  For convenience I used hot glue to hold all the paper and fabric edges into place.  This allowed me to keep moving with the project without fear of the edges coming loose or moving.  Which also meant I was able to finish this project in one afternoon while the Little Guy took his nap.


This is what you end up with.  Not bad for simple storage.  Even better that I owned all the supplies already, so it felt pretty free.  Yeah!  You can just barely see in the picture below, how the batting adds a little bit of loft and curve to the top of the box.  Because the top is so thin I felt like it needed something to give it a little more weight.  Especially with the dark color.  Now, when that band of brown catches my eye as I walk into the laundry area it appears to be more balanced with the bottom portion of the box.


Here they are again in their new homes.



Have any of you come up with good ways to reuse diaper boxes?  There are probably whole websites dedicated to this topic.  Hmmmm….maybe I will head on for some Googling now. 

oh, that sounds dirty, doesn’t it?  sorry….

Kitsch Krafts

Currently rated 1.5 by 21 people

  • Currently 1.476191/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Making And Crafts–Diaper Box Hamper

November 17, 2010 08:05 by ehouston

As you may imagine we have lots of diaper and baby wipe boxes around here.  (Yeah, I like the idea of being all environmental and stuff, but for our lifestyle disposable is the way to go.  Sorry Treehuggers!)  Anyways, what was I talking about?  Oh yeah, boxes.  Lot’s of boxes.  I have a thing about containers and have a hard time getting rid of perfectly good ones.  Unfortunately, a lot of diaper boxes are a bit on the smaller side or just way to big for practical application.  The other con is that they also usually have a large amount of printing on all sides, making them a stand out among otherwise clean and organized storage.  We have accumulated a large number of the Target, Up & Up, Size 3, 96 count diaper boxes and they have been very useful for storing odds and ends, but mainly they have helped us build a mean fort or two from time to time.

Next to playtime and storage solutions there are not many other things I could think of to do with these guys, aside from relinquishing them to the recycling bin.  Then after using one of the baby wipe boxes as a hamper for what seemed like an eternity while I tried to decide on a more permanent option,  I realized that one of the larger diaper boxes could be used instead and prettied up quite a bit.  It also helped that I seem to always come across bits and pieces of contact paper that are just the amount I need for the project at hand.  So, in the end I was able to take this situation…


…and turn it into this more aesthetically pleasing scenario.


I started out with the box on the left.  Please note that I ended up using the new 144 count size box, which was much better than the wipe box and the smaller diaper box for holding all the things the Little Guy gets dirty.


After cutting the top flaps down to about 2 inches I then used some of my trusty ol’ Martha Stewart Wood Grain Contact Paper in Gray and covered the outside of the box on all sides.  The patterned paper was perfect for covering up and disguising the crawling baby and bright yellow of the original packaging.  I also cut around the handle slits so we could still use them for carrying the hamper to the laundry room.  Next I used plain white Contact Paper to wrap the edges of the cut down top flaps to give them a more finished look.  I started on what would have been the top side, then wrapped it around what was the inside of the top flap and down the inside top edge of the box. 


The shot above shows one side of the top flap has been covered in white Contact Paper and then I flipped it down and glued it in place to create a sort of wrapped top edge.  Again, just to add some interest and take away from the fact that it’s ultimately just an old cardboard box.  As you can see I used trusty clothes pins to hold the flaps in place while the glue dried.

After wrapping each of the cut down top flaps and gluing them into place I was left with a gap at each corner.  Luckily I had the forethought to wrap a small square of the “wood grain” Contact Paper up and over each corner of the box before gluing down the top flaps.  Those little squares of Contact Paper covered the exposed cardboard and bright yellow in that area, as seen in the pic below.  In an attempt to give the corners a little more oomph I also added rectangles of cardboard that I cut from the scraps of the box flaps.


(This was one of my first attempts and you can see in the shot above that I did not wrap that little square of Contact Paper over the corner before gluing down the top flaps.  The cut cardboard and original packaging color show through, so in my next attempt I took a little more time in this area.)

I wrapped the corner pieces in white Contact Paper, folded them around the corner of the box and attached them with regular old paper fasteners.  You know, the kind that you push through a hole and then fold back the “legs” to sort of manually staple papers together.


You can see the corner pieces a little better in the shot above.  They are a bit wonky, but they work.  As you can also see from this angle, I added wooden feet that I painted with the leftover dark brown paint from the floor trim in the nursery.  In order to keep them sturdy and well attached, I cut a piece of cardboard from the side of another diaper box and placed it in the bottom of the hamper.  I then slid the screw through a large flat metal washer before pushing it through the bottom of the hamper.  I added another washer on the under side right before screwing the whole shebang directly into the painted wooden ball feet.  So far they have held on very well.  The last thing I did was line the inside with more white Contact Paper.  After a few days of looking down into the box and seeing where the wrapped Contact Paper stopped along the top edge of the hamper and the ends of the paper fasteners sticking through, I realized I needed to clean things up a bit.  Once the Contact Paper was in place the whole hamper really came together.

It definitely is a much better view into the Little Guy’s room now. 


The best part was that all the pieces were laying around our house already, so this was a ZERO cost craft!  WHOOHOO!

Have you all ever repurposed something disposable and made it more of a permanent part of your home?

Kitsch Krafts

Currently rated 1.6 by 54 people

  • Currently 1.574076/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5