Banana Box Pull-out Drawers

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cardboard drawers

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Do you have a drawer that always stays organized, and another that does not?

I do….. and I spend a lot of time thinking about how to make the drawer (or ahem drawers) that do not stay organized behave themselves.

So with many a pre-sleep meditation on a solution, I tackled my cardboard storage (and have many times re-tackled it) to this point of civilization. No stacking and re-stacking, no lids, No plastic, just banana boxes and binder clips.

I had to know my cardboard sources well to find 2 different boxes that would nest inside one another, but once I found the winning combination I was set. I used the top and bottom of a large banana box with one end removed and the bottom of a smaller box for the drawer. No glue, just a few clips to keep the edges in place. The best part is that I can use these on the back of my bike trailer for Cardboard Play Days, and recycle or reuse at the end of the event….. Banana Box, you are a loyal friend.

Cardboard Souls (and Insoles)

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cardboard insoles DIY replacement

cardboard insole DIY

Cardboard Insoles DIY

You can use cereal boxes if you don’t have this kind of cardboard on hand.

 

I’m not quite sure how this Mother’s Day or Father’s Day project will find it’s audience; (unless I’ve gained a tween readership I’m unaware of) maybe it would be a more likely  graduation or wedding project. I’m just putting this idea out there in the hope that at least one set of cardboard insoles will find it’s way into a pair of sassy mom pumps, or groovy dad shoes that are out dancing the night away, celebrating how awesome it is to be a parent.

…and Mom, I really wanted to make these for you, but I don’t have a pair of your shoes here in Tokyo to make the pattern from, so sorry about that. I hope you like the Mother’s Day present I did send you. It’s not made of cardboard.

Cardboard insoles DIY

 

 

Woven Cardboard Vase

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 Woven Cardboard Vase DIY by The Cardboard Collective

I’m so excited about Spring’s arrival in Tokyo. Cherry blossoms are in full swing and Forsythia, Snow Drops, Grape Hyacinth and Narcissus are popping up all over our neighborhood.

Inspired by a post on Supercyclers, (Clink on Plastic Fantastic, and then at the end of the post More Plastic Fantastic) I made this long cardboard vase for our Easter Brunch. It’s an easy and unexpected way to showcase single stems and spring greenery. I used some plastic drinking straws left over from our fantastic lunch and bike trip to Ishikawa Brewery yesterday as well as a few plastic bags that some birthday cards came in.

Woven Cardboard Vase DIY by The Cardboard Collective

Last Spring we made tea cup arrangements and I have to say it’s hard not to be happy looking at spring flowers…this is my 3 year old daughter’s arrangement. I love seeing which flowers and greenery she chooses, always different than what I would think of and equally beautiful.

Cardboard & Cap Peg Rack

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Make a Cardboard and Plastic Cap Peg Rack at The Cardboard CollectiveNow that my daughters are almost 2 and almost 4 they’ve started borrowing my jewelery. I’m not quite sure what that means about my taste in jewelery, but they are scaling my 4 foot high bookshelf  to get to it. As a compromise, I’ve decided to sacrifice access to some of my sturdier, more sought after necklaces in the hopes of safeguarding some of the more fragile and precious stuff.

Make a Cardboard and Plastic Cap Peg Rack at The Cardboard Collective

Contraband jewelery stuffed into little boxes, purses and paper bags was popping up all over the house…. as if a colony of Leprechauns had taken up residence. In an effort to deter further looting, I bargained that some kind of necklace depot would distract them….

Make a Cardboard and Plastic Cap Peg Rack at The Cardboard Collective

I started with just one box, which gave me 6 lengths of cardboard approximately the same length. I then assembled my caps.

Make a Cardboard and Plastic Cap Peg Rack at The Cardboard Collective

I had a variety of laundry soap and maple syrup caps and some of the caps magically fit together, but some did not. I ended up using Washi tape to secure them. I didn’t have enough caps, so I borrowed a cylindrical block from the block bin. You can use whatever you have on hand for this project, it doesn’t have to be plastic caps. Blocks, corks, tiny plastic or glass bottles; all can do the job. Make a Cardboard and Plastic Cap Peg Rack at The Cardboard Collective

Next step was arranging the caps and tracing around them. I used a box cutter to carefully cut around the circles on the top layer, and then a serrated knife for the layers below. It’s helpful to try and cut just inside the area that you traced for a snug fit.

Make a Cardboard and Plastic Cap Peg Rack at The Cardboard Collective

Last step was gluing the layers together. I used one layer as a backing and didn’t cut any holes in that layer. I also spread a thin layer of glue slightly diluted  with water over the top piece of cardboard to preserve it and keep it from showing dirt and fingerprints. To hang the rack I threaded paper cord through the corrugated channels and tied it off.

Cardboard and Cap Ped Rack DIY at The Cardboard Collective

The Cardboard Collective

A truce? Only time will tell…..

Spring Planting in Cardboard

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The Cardboard Collective

The Cardboard Collective

The Cardboard Collective

Last year I started experimenting with planting in cardboard even though nearly everyone around thought I was crazy. Well, not one of them was shy when the time came to harvest our cherry tomatoes…

This fall I made a simpler kind of planter utilizing the planter hangers that I have, and torn pieces of scrap corrugated cardboard tucked and layered inside. They over-wintered well, and to freshen the boxes up in the Spring, I just added new cardboard to the outside edges and removed some of the inner layers.

Spinach, salad greens, cilantro and nasturtiums…we can’t wait for our little sprouts to start popping up! And we’re curious to see how our experiment with the glass case (Used for displaying traditional Japanese dolls- there are always tons of these at the recycling shop) works for our tomato starts. We’re hoping to transform it into a home for adopted caterpillars……

 

 

Brighten up Your Cardboard

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Winter is grey and cardboard is brown! I’ve been feeling the need to share some of my favorite ideas for bringing energizing color into your cardboard projects…

The Cardboard Collective

Layered columns of boldly colored Origami paper…

The Cardboard Collective Decoupage

What I call Amazon Chevron. (Textured cardboard that requires a coat of decoupage glue.)

The Cardboard Collective Decoupage

Coloring book pages, kids can decorate them with marker after you’ve decoupaged them. These are from Tokyo Street Art Coloring book by my friend Chris B of a Small Lab. https://gumroad.com/l/tokyo-colour-in

The Cardboard Collective Decoupage

Water colors: Add a coat of decoupage glue to preserve the intensity of color.

The Cardboard Collective Decoupage

Tiled Chiyogami papers

The Cardboard Collective Decoupage

Spliced album covers.

The Cardboard Collective Decoupage

Cheerful graphics from the Produce Department.

And don’t forget all the good old decoupage ideas from around the web!

Cardboard Play Days 4&5

This week was filled with lots of play, lots of cardboard, and lots of discovery. I learned a lot by watching children and parents play and build together during the two events that took place.

The first was a play event for my daughter’s Yoji group, a play group that meets weekly at the local Jidokan (a kind of youth community center). The other was at a local park called Kajino Koen. The Kahjino event hosted lots of local groups that support the park, like Play Park: a local adventure play organization that facilitates weekly play events for children.

Play Park built an amazingly tall and steep wooden slide with wooden handholds, as well as over-sized hammocks, rope walkways, and braided swings. I’m in love with the work that they do and I’m hoping to deepen my relationship with their community in the coming year.

A few things I learned this week:

  • Crayons (bright, waxy pastel ones) play really nicely with cardboard. Markers wander, and paint is a pain to clean up.
  • Parents love to play like children. Children give them a great cover for indulging in the kind of play that they used to do…. and at the same time children fall in love with their parents all over again. There is an amazing playful connection that Is kindled, and when I see parents leave cardboard events smiling, I know an imaginative little fire has been lit and will grow into something more.
  • pre-teen boys like to kick cardboard boxes and stab them with screw drivers. At first I bristle, and then I watch for a while and see the totally therapeutic effect of this activity for them. They calm down, start talking to each other and then start to cooperate and build. Cardboard stabbing boys, I welcome you, and I love to see the amazing things you can build with cardboard.
  • Girls can bring a quiet measured intensity to building with cardboard. I love watching them deliberate while considering all the details like widows and shelving…their excitement is contagious.
  • I love connecting with people through cardboard, seeing parents build something for their children, seeing children build something else for themselves, watching three year olds rip their older brothers around in the back of wheelie cardboard boxes.
  • What can I say? I’m hooked.

Resources: How to put wheels on a box and instructions for Tanaka Satoshi’s Giant Cardboard Windballs

Cardboard Kid’s Chair Makeover

Cardboard Kid's chair remake by The Cardboard Collective

The Japanese book with the pattern for making these chairs is available in my Etsy shop.

Our beloved cardboard kid’s chairs are almost 3 years old. They’ve been in desperate need of a makeover for a while now, and I thought those of you who read the blog would be interested in seeing how cardboard furniture wears over time.

These chairs are regularly used as vaulting boxes by my two little ones so I can’t imagine a better stress test.

Cardboard Kid's chair remake by The Cardboard Collective

I started by addressing the corners that had worn, and cut small strips of cardboard to use as shims.

I glued them into the worn areas to give the chair corner rigidity again and reshape the edge.

Cardboard Kid's chair remake by The Cardboard Collective

Next I trimmed off any loose cardboard and traced the different pieces of the chair one at a time onto (new) post consumer cardboard and cut the pieces out. After some gluing and clamping, this is what we got:

Cardboard Kid's chair remake by The Cardboard Collective

Not bad huh? Almost as good as new……and the chairs will be even more smashing after we treat their exteriors to a new look:

…..catch that in my next post.

 

Cardboard Heart Locket

Cardboard Locket

When my daughter was about 18 months old, we went on a trip to an island off of Tokyo’s coast called Shikinejima. It was the off season, most restaurants were closed and we were sleeping in a tent.

We ended up doing a lot of shopping at convenience stores, eating meals of: apples, Oreos, cans of hot cocoa, and cans of tuna fish, and were even gifted a fresh bag of assorted seafood from a local fisherman, which we hesitantly attempted to cook over a fire… Maybe you’ve had a similarly strange almost-camping experience?

Cardboard Locket

One of the shop keepers, a little old man who was so enamored with our daughter and her blond hair, kindly gave her a red plastic 3D heart pendant which had a light inside that would blink on and off.

It was one of those toys with sticking power, and became well-worn and well-loved over the next year and a half- that is until the battery died.

Cardboard Locket necklace

When I saw this cardboard heart ornament on Pinterest by A Little Learning for 2, it gave me the idea for making a low tech replacement for the blinking heart pendant.

My daughter approved. She loves being able to open and close the locket. We’re now working together to make something similar as a Valentine’s Day present for the grandparents. Definitely not afraid to share the cardboard love….

Info on adding cardboard beads to your locket here.

Make a Cardboard Locket by The Cardboard Collective