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More Cardboard Crafts!!!

24 May

The Girls having fun with their box ‘cars’ ūüôā

I have to admit we didn’t exactly come up with this ‘idea’ ourselves – our local art museum was sponsoring an event where you get to decorate boxes as cars and participate in a parade! ¬†We had a blast painting the boxes – So our 6-year-old made a jet car and our toddler is in a flower float — colored rope to suspend it up and voila! ¬†HOURS of fun ūüôā

See the article below for more cardboard crafts/fun!

Crazy for Cardboard Crafts

craft with cardboard
Craft With Cardboard

I love working with cardboard. Why? For starters, it’s abundant. Cardboard sneaks into your home every time you bring in groceries and sundries, and you can get boxes for free at most stores just by asking for them. Then there’s the fact that you can build big things with it, using only some tape or glue. Finally, cardboard can be recycled, so it’s ecofriendly. I’ve made hundreds of cardboard projects, ranging from small milk-carton houses to cars and huts big enough for my three girls, ages 4, 5, and 7, to play inside. We work together to think up, plan, develop, and construct these toys. The three projects on the following pages were originally built and played with by my family. They also appeared on my craft and sewing blog, ikatbag (, where you can find instructions for making the seven other crafts shown at right. Here’s are three fun projects using my favorite material.

See more crafts on Lorraine Teigland’s blog.

cardboard spaceship

Sized just right for tiny peg dolls, this basic structure can be used to make a dollhouse or castle turret as well.

cardboard spaceship step 1
Step 1

Start with a cardboard canister, such as an oatmeal container. Trim the top to shorten it. Cut three fins from corrugated cardboard. For the nose cone, cut a circle from cereal box cardboard that’s twice the diameter of the canister (our canister was 4 inches wide, so we used an 8-inch circle). Trim away a pie-piece section, and curve the rest into a cone, securing it with tacky glue. Paint the pieces with acrylic paint and let them dry.

cardboard spaceship step 2
Step 2

Cut a small circle in the canister’s side for the door window. Cut a larger circle around the first circle, leaving 3/4 inch on one side uncut for a hinge.

cardboard spaceship step 3
Step 3

Use hot glue to attach the fins and the nose cone. Add details with paint.

Pull-Open Pinata
Pull-Open Pi√Īata

This no-whacking-required pi√Īata provides just as much suspense as the traditional type. Kids take turns pulling one ribbon at a time, only one of which opens a trapdoor holding back the treats.

cardboard pinata tower
Make the Tower

From corrugated cardboard, cut a rectangle (ours is 16 by 25 inches) with the flutes parallel to the short sides. Cut tab like crenellations along one of the long edges. We also cut out a window and added a drawing of a princess. Roll the rectangle into a cylinder and glue the overlap in place.

Make the Trapdoor
Make the Trapdoor

Trace the tower’s base onto a piece of sturdy corrugated cardboard and cut out the circle. Use a craft knife (an adult’s job) to cut a trapdoor, leaving one side scored but not cut through to form a hinge.

place the ribbons
Place the Ribbons

Cut about a yard of curling ribbon. Glue one end to the inside of the trapdoor, opposite the hinge. Run glue along the bottom edge of the tower, and attach it to the base.

Cut more lengths of ribbon — at least one or two per player. Lay about 6 inches of their ends within the three sides of the trapdoor opening, then carefully close the trapdoor; the ribbons will be pinched in place.

Pinata deception
The Deception

The hinge edge of the trapdoor will not have any ribbons — a dead giveaway. To mislead players, use a craft knife to make small slits close to the hinge and insert ribbons into them.

With a hole punch, make holes at the top of the pi√Īata, then tie a ribbon loop for hanging. Fill the tower with treats and hang it up.

Musketeer Swords
Musketeer Swords

These were created when my daughters were in a serious Musketeer phase — swinging broomsticks around, fighting invisible enemies.

cardboard sword step 1
Step 1

The blades of these swords are made from wrapping paper tubes. For each sword, flatten one end of a tube, trim it to a blunt point, and tape it closed.

cardboard sword step 2
Step 2

Cut a strip of corrugated cardboard (with the flutes parallel to the short ends) that’s about 1 inch wider than the tube and about 12 inches long. Round off the ends. About 2 inches from one end, cut a hole big enough to fit the tube.

cardboard sword step 3
Step 3

Slide the tube through the hole.

cardboard sword step 4
Step 4

Next, bend the other end around to the flat end of the tube, and glue it in place. Spread a thin layer of glue on the blade, then wrap it with aluminum foil. Add a line of glue where the foil overlaps. If desired, paint the handle guard.

Originally published in the March 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine.


http://www.parents.comBringing together the power of respected magazine brands including American Baby and Parents, the Parents Network is your go-to destination for parenting information. From first kicks to first steps and on to the first day of school, we are here to help you celebrate the joys and navigate the challenges of parenthood.

Cardboard Box and Paper Towel/Gift Wrap Tube Log Cabin

16 May

Voila! Paper Towel Log Cabin!

When I saw this at my daughter’s preschool I thought this was ingenious! ¬†Well… anything not involving paint but involving a lot of fun is pretty ingenious in my book ūüôā

Here are the steps involved–

1. ¬†Find a big appliance box¬†— pictured is a box for a smallish refrigerator. ¬†If you don’t have any on hand you can procure one by calling your local appliance stores. ¬†It really depends on the size you want to end up with – the bigger the box the bigger the cabin, but on the other hand the more paper towel tubes or gift wrapping tubes you’ll need.

2. ¬†Carve out with a blade (be careful!!) the windows and door. ¬†Position top flaps of box to make the triangular roof – if not perfectly even use butcher paper (or brown paper bags) to make up for any gaps on the ‘peak’ of the roof. ¬†We used clear packing tape to hold things together. ¬†TIP – to save time – measure windows by placing a paper towel tube on both sides to gauge how wide the window needs to be – this will save you from having to re-carve the tubes later to accommodate extra space.

3. Now for the fun part – start attaching the tubes to the outside of the cabin – begin from the top and move downward (that way if you end up with a small tube-less gap in the end it will be at the base of the cabin and not at the top) – you can use school glue (Elmer’s Glue) or a glue gun if your want – I found that the tubes were light enough to stay on – although I suggest you use a good amount — inevitably little hands will want to try prying their ‘logs’ out of their cabins…

Front view

Now… if you DON’t have enough tubes to fill everything up – I would use brown construction paper (even better if they were on their way to the recycling bin anyways) or any color construction paper (if you’re adventurous ūüôā ) and roll them up to the size of the paper towel tubes – just tape the ends and glue to the cabin.

No need to fill the backside of the cabin if the cabin will be backed up to a wall anyway.

Organizing Your Kid’s Costumes – it is possible! Repurposing a Bookshelf

17 Feb

Regardless if you find yourself a parent to either an aspiring princess or superhero — you will one day find yourself standing above a pile of costumes, masks, hats and accessories (pirate sword anyone? Rapunzel wig?). ¬†We’ve tried different iterations on how to deal with this – but I just HAD TO share this ingenious way a friend of mine (bluejeaner on Twitter) repurposed her shelf (on the cheap too!) .

Shelving on the left is the way both sides used to look.

The best thing about this in my opinion is that the shelf can be re-converted back into a bookshelf after the kids outgrow their costume phase!

Remove top two shelves (she left the bottom shelf in for shoes) use a tension rod and hang curtain hooks – voila! The genius is in the simplicity.

We haven’t tried this yet, but I’m eyeing our tall book-case to convert into something like this pretty soon ūüôā Here is another angle–

A quick hang and you're set!

Hmmm… thinking this might also work well in a mudroom or entryway…

Do you have any interesting way you organize your kid’s costumes or clothing?

Repurposing Plastics

7 Dec

Yes, I eat Smart Ones and Lean Cuisine frozen entrees for lunch at work/home at times.  What do I do with those plastic plates/trays???  I keep some of them and repurpose them for my 5 year-olds breakfast/snack on the go!  Of course, due to BPA concerns, we hand wash them and do not heat them in the microwave again.  But these are super handy for her to eat scrambled eggs, mini-waffles, cheese bread, veggie sticks with hummus, etc.  Another plastic that I repurpose is the Advil/Tylenol measuring & dispensing cups/caps!  These are perfect to hold her gummie vitamins (and sometimes a treat, like M&Ms or Skittles)!

So, this is my latest simple repurposing tip!  Share your tips by leaving a comment!

Organize & Display Kid’s Dress-Up Clothes

30 Sep

My 5 year-old daughter¬†LOVES to play dress-up and between Halloween costumes, hand-me-downs from her¬†cousin¬†and stage outfits from her dance class, we have accumulated a good amount of dress-up clothes!¬†¬†We use to keep her dress-up clothes in a plastic tote, but then as the tote began to really fill up it wasn’t as fun to have to dig around and find an outfit to wear and play in.¬† So we repurposed a height adjustable rolling clothes rack to organize and display her dress-up clothes!

It really works like a charm!  We found ours for $15 at Big Lots.  It was easy to assemble and took less than 10 minutes to put together!  Plus with this being height adjustable, as our daughter grows, we can raise the height of the rack!  So, by thinking outside of the box/tote, our daughter has a nice was to select and take care of her dress-up clothes!

Repurposing Pasta for Kid’s Crafts!

23 Aug

With an active 5 year-old daughter who absolutely LOVES arts and crafts, we are always looking for easy, affordable, creative and fun things for her to do.  When I came across the following article from Parents magazine, it provided simple, affordable and creative fun! 

We all have bags/boxes of pasta in our pantry and even if you don’t, generic or store brands are usually $1 or less a box!¬† For those of us with arts & crafts loving kids, we already have construction paper, glue, glitter, paint, etc. in the house.¬† So read on and let your kids get creative!

The building a train is a great idea for boys, who can also create cars, airplanes, spaceships, etc. out of pasta!  Then some paint or stickers will complete the creation!

My daughter liked making the tiara…but didn’t want to wear it outdoors!¬† LOL – I guess vanity can start young.¬† Using pasta and other craft materials to make signs provided her lots of creative fun.


Use Your Noodle: 6 Crafts to Make with Pasta

Try a Tiara

Dress up a plastic headband with brightly painted wagon wheels.

Noodle Necklace
Noodle Necklace

Jazz up the jewels by adding a bow-tie pendant. Penne and rigatoni work best as the beads.

All Aboard

Gather your leftover pasta bits to build this awesome train. Make a few trees to complete the scene.

Sign Here

Kids can make plaques, oversize cards, or team posters with cute pasta shapes, paint, and glue.

Hair Clips
Hip Clips

Get dolled up with fancy farfalle-and-rhinestone barrettes. Hot glue on a plain clip keeps the pasta in place.

Pencil cup
Pencil Cup

Make this pretty desk accessory from a quart-size milk carton. Glue on pasta, then paint when it’s dry.

Tools of the Trade
Tools of the Trade

Kid-friendly tools:

* Craft glue

* Tempera paint

* Paintbrushes

* Pasta

* Rhinestones

* Glue gun

* Spray paint
Originally published in the September 2008 issue of Parents magazine.



http://www.parents.comBringing together the power of respected magazine brands including American Baby and Parents, the Parents Network is your go-to destination for parenting information. From first kicks to first steps and on to the first day of school, we are here to help you celebrate the joys and navigate the challenges of parenthood.

Tips to De-Clutter & Organize Your Kitchen

18 Apr

The KITCHEN – many consider it the heart of the home – where love, caring and passion go into preparing meals to feed, energize and maintain the family…but with so many different gadgets, utensils, etc. how do you keep it organized and clutter-free?¬† Here are¬†some tips I want to share:

Cabinets Рplace dishes, glasses, mugs and serving bowls/platters thoughtfully.  The items you use daily should be conveniently located while party platters and such that are only for occasional use should be placed in higher shelves/cabinets.

Limited cabinets?  Use a hanging pot rack to hold your pots and pans or consider addition additional shelving or a moveable rack/unit that matches your kitchen.

Kitchen Utensils Рstrapped for space, use a large sturdy vase to hold wooden spoons, spatulas, etc. next to the stove/cook top.  Or, use a hanging rail to hook/hang your cooking utensils and keep them right by the cooking/prep area.

Limited Counter Space?  Have a cabinet that serves as open shelving and use baskets to hold fresh fruits, vegetables, bakery items in plain view and with easy access.  No extra cabinet, but you have extra wall space?  Build vertical space with shelving or cubbies.

Spice Rack?  Standard spice racks are only useful if you really use the 12 or 24 spices it comes with!  If you never use some of the spices the rack comes with, empty out those bottles and fill with spices you do use and re-label the bottle!  Another option to a spice rack is a spice carousel/mini multi tiered lazy-susan to hold your spice jars in an easy to use and access space maximizing fashion.

Grocery store plastic bags?¬†¬†They sure come in handy for bed and bathroom waste baskets. ¬†Twist them or loose tie each one and place in a large plastic jug (i.e. laundry detergent, large water jug) – simply clean and dry out the plastic jug and cut out a 2-3″ hole to place and dispense the bags – no more clutter!

Pantry Рkeep food organized by category/type (dry pasta next to bottles/cans of pasta sauce, cake mixes with frosting, etc).  Always keep the earliest expiration dates in front.  If things are going to expire soon, consider making a trip to a food pantry and donate the items to people in need.

Stacking in pantry or cabinets – Yes, this maximizes space, but make sure to do this safely so you don’t have cans of tuna and soup cascading down on you! Invest in tiered shelf platforms or simple wired shelves with legs.

Under the kitchen sink – we all put cleaners, sponges, dish scrubbers, etc. down here. ¬†Invest in some simple “right size” clear or slotted plastic totes/containers to keep your different cleaning supplies in order and visible!

Junk Drawer – we all have one (or two)¬†– the catch-all for extra key, super glue, paper clips, office supplies, etc. ¬†Use an office drawer organizer in this drawer to keep things neat. ¬†Use an empty can/jar that you can decorate to toss loose change! Take a good honest look at what’s here and toss/donate what you do not need to keep!

Recipe Books/Notes/Grocery Lists/Etc. – have a designated book shelve for your recipe books, get a dry erase and cork board combo to leave notes for family members and tack lists/invitations/coupons etc. for quick review and access!

Refrigerator РContainerize!  Put like loose food items (ie. different cheeses, sandwich meats) in a plastic (bpa-free) or glass container to make it easier to store and find.   Assign shelf space & have all family members stick to it!  i.e. Drinks (milk, juice, soda, water) on the top shelf, raw meat on bottom shelf, fruits/veggies in the crisper drawers, leftovers and prepared meals in the middle shelves, condiments/sauces in the door shelves, etc.

Freezer РSame thing as the fridge Рassign shelf space and stick to it!  ie. Top shelf for ice cream/desserts, middles shelves for prepared packaged foods, bottom shelves for meats/seafood, etc.