Making And Crafts : Cardboard Box Castle

July 22, 2011 08:17 by ehouston

Our new dishwasher arrived last week and we are so thrilled….not about the nice new kitchen tool, no!  It’s all about the box around here!  For a couple of days I kept mentioning to the Little Guy that we might make something out of the big box sitting in the living room.  He would eye it suspiciously and then walk on as if I had not said anything at all.  For his upcoming birthday I was considering a pop-up tent for his playroom, so when we ended up with this box I figured it was a budget-friendly bonus to try out instead.  Honestly, I wasn’t even sure he would be willing to step inside of something like a tent and I did not want to waste the money if he wasn’t in to it.  His initial reaction to the box gave me the feeling he could really care less and maybe it wasn’t worth all the effort. 

Then I cut a doorway and everything changed.

Within moments of creating an opening he and his bear disappeared inside.


A little while after that I walked into our dining room to this scene…


Yes, I actually have two children.

When I saw their reaction I knew it was time to bust out some paint and craft supplies to spiff this ol’ box up a bit.  I started with my hoard of containers.  Oh, didn’t I tell you?  I have a thing for packaging.  It can be cute packaging, but it can also be something ugly, but possibly useful.  I mail my Etsy shop sales in empty cereal boxes, create cute storage from old diaper boxes (remember this hamper for my son’s room?), and use all kinds of containers for interesting present wrap.  I admit, it’s odd, but I have a hard time throwing out perfectly good packaging.  Hence, my excitement when the delivery man started to take our new BIG box away!  He looked at me like I was crazy when I said we would keep that too.  What eves… 

So, back to my stash.  I found four old oatmeal boxes and knew they would be perfect for little turrets on the corners of our make-shift castle.

All of the cutwork performed here was done by eyeball.  Heck, it’s just an old dishwasher box for my Little Guy’s playroom, not an architectural wonder.  (If you decide to follow along, don’t make yourself too crazy with these steps.)  I sketched out the door by hand before running a utility knife through the line and did the same with the oatmeal box turrets.  I just held one up to the corner with a portion hanging over the edge of the box and used a Sharpie marker to trace around the box corner onto the bottom of the oatmeal cylinder. 


You may wonder why I started with the bottom of the oatmeal box instead of the open end?  Well, I figured having the rest of the bottom closed would add stability and look neater when all put together.  Plus, cutting the turret tops from the curled edge of the oatmeal container top added stability and interest to that end.  I didn’t take a picture of cutting the top portion because it was pretty straight forward- you just cut out small squares along the top edge.  Hint- once you make one use your cut out pieces to trace around on the other oatmeal containers for a much more efficient process.

I was going to attach the turrets with hot glue along all the edges where they meet the main box, but I figured masking tape would work just fine.  Note to self: use hot glue next time around.  It’s not that the tape didn’t work, but it is wrinkly and once I painted everything it started to come up in some spots.  Wah-wuh…  Again, I had to remind myself this is no Taj Mahal, just a plaything.  I also used masking, and when I ran out of that, painter’s tape to cover the edges of the doorway, box bottom and the windows.  Cut cardboard tends to be sharp and also sticks into the carpet and leaves bits of torn paper everywhere.  I figured a nice edge would keep things tidy and be less dangerous to the Little Guy’s extra soft skin.


Speaking of the devil, here’s Mr. Bossy Pants showing me the way he thinks it should go.




Here we are with cut-out doorway, windows and attached turrets.  Ready for paint!  I was convinced that I needed to prime first because of the dark lettering, but I really just wasted an entire can of paint and added an odor that has taken days to wear off.  I also realized I could have used some of the leftover paint from another project we have going on here, but I had already picked up some Oops paint from Walmart for $6.98 a quart and just did not want to have to take it back.  (You know the trauma I always suffer going to that place.  hee!)  So much for nearly free!  Anyway, I had intended to paint one coat with the Oops paint, which is a light green-grey, tape off brick and stone marks and then use the darker grey paint from our project over the tape marks.  My thought was that I could remove the tape and have nice, lighter “mortar” lines.  After some thought about how involved this “quick” project was becoming I nixed that plan and decided a black Sharpie would work just fine.  I was also convinced after finding this tutorial online.   Plus, I’m not really counting on this thing lasting too long with the Duke of Destruction on the throne.





Since I had some dowels laying around from another project I thought it might be nice to add a little flag as well.  Flags are something the Little Guy loves to point out everywhere we go and in every book he reads, so it made sense to give him one for his very own castle.  For more info on how we created the flag, click over here



All in all, I would say this project has been a huge hit!

What have you guys created out of old containers, or large cardboard boxes?  I would love to see some pics for future ideas!  Bring ‘em on!

Kitsch Krafts

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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

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