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

 

 

Nest Building with Kraft Paper

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nest building with children play open ended

Spring is in the air here in Tokyo and we’ve been blessed with more than a week of beautiful 60 degree days. While out spotting Ume blossoms, we’ve been watching lots of birds, and talking a lot about nest building. I’m totally fascinated with all kinds of animal (and people) homes, so I’ve been thinking about how we could make a nest that the girls could build, add to, and alter.

Last week I did some Spring cardboard cleaning and stumbled across some Kraft paper that I had fished out of a neighbor’s recycling some time ago. Kraft paper (the base material for cardboard) works great for this project, but you could also use large sheets of newspaper, or if you’re a teacher try used, crumpled bulletin board paper.

The Cardboard Collective

I let the girls work with the Kraft paper to build the nest shape and showed them how to use the screwdriver to push the ribbon through the paper.

They were not strong enough to puncture the paper on their own, so in the end I had to help them secure the sides….maybe in a few years they’ll be independent young nest builders!

Open Play

We watched a few BBC videos to show the girls how birds use different materials in their nests. They were inspired to add ribbons, play scarves, and lots of junky little things from around the house to the nest before they climbed in with a few good books.

Open Play

I recommend building the nest on some kind of platform. We made ours from pineapple and banana boxes.  There must be some kind of technical term for the fun factor that comes from elevating a play structure… the bird’s definitely know what I’m talking about.

Enjoy Mr. Attenborough with your cup of tea…….

 

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…

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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!

Grocery Bag Business Cards

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Grocery Bag Business Cards by The Cardboard Collective

Meeting new people here in Japan involves developing more formalized graces. As a farm girl from the Midwest, this is always an area of improvement for me.

One artifact of the Japanese getting to know you ritual is the business card and/or name card. When you meet someone new in Japan it’s considered polite to exchange your contact information in this tangible, well organized way.

I for one love the practice, as it’s elevated me from the frantic find a pen and write your name and phone number on an old receipt routine to a calmer more professional approach. Proper procedure involves offering your name card with both hands (as shown above) with a little bow of the head.

Grocery Bag Business Cards by  Amber Dohrenwend at The Cardboard Collective

Now that the blog is becoming more of it’s own entity, I put together a name card using some brown Kraft paper grocery bags that I found in someone’s recycling the other day. It’s not as heavy as a traditional business card, but I think it’s really nice, and still very durable. If you have a business card template on your word-processing software it’s a very easy process.

I originally wanted to print onto post-consumer cardboard, but my ideal specimen would be a cereal box, and unfortunately we’re an oatmeal and eggs family. Cereal is not widely eaten for breakfast in Japan, so it’s also been hard to find used cereal boxes. I’d love to hear if anyone has tried printing on cereal boxes, did your printer take them?

I also wanted to share this great link with you, showcasing a letterpress printer that prints business cards onto old cereal boxes. (If I ever get a business info stamp, this could be a possible approach for my old tea boxes.) They are BEauTiful! Lots of other great ideas there too…

So hey, even if you’re business-less, how about a name-card or blog-card to step up your game? Why not?

A Cardboard Toolbox for Kids

Cardboard Toolbox for Kids

Note to readers: Washi tape has since been removed from the toolbox (only to be rein-listed with parental supervision (full focus parental supervision)).

As a family of makers, a kids’ cardboard toolbox was next up on our cardboard making list. I found a smaller box with smaller handholds for the toolbox with real tools, real nuts and bolts and other real stuff, for real cardboard projects…

Cardboard Toolbox for Kids

Child sized tools: embellishment hammer, round tipped serrated cutting blade, spackling blade, screwdriver and safety scissors

The Cardboard Collective

Assorted screws, bolts, nuts and washers

Cardboard Toolbox for Kids

Here’s a peek at our first project. I originally saw this idea in what I believe was a February 2012 issue of Family Fun Magazine. They used dry wall screws and a rock for pounding, which would work too.

Cardboard Toolbox for Kids

We enjoyed the opportunity to do some parallel “making”. It was great to all be focused on different cardboard projects while we pounded, sawed and glued to our heart’s content.

Cardboard Toolbox for Kids

The accordion cardboard drop cloth is a great addition to this ensemble. I blogged about it last fall here.

The Cardboard Collective

Cardboard Toolbox for Kids

Do you have a cardboard tool kit or set of tools for your kids? I’d love to hear how others are making cardboard construction play accessible for kids of all ages…

 

Make a Cardboard Toolbox

Cardboard Toolbox by the Cardboard Collective

Two years ago I found a beautiful old wooden sheep shearing box at Camberwell Market during a trip to Australia with my family.

It was beautifully worn and even had tiny little strands of wool still caught in some of the corners. I quickly filled it up with my favorite sewing tools and supplies, and have enjoyed toting it around immensely ever since.

Cardboard tool box

I have long thought about trying to replicate the design in cardboard for my cardboard tools. When I started working with banana boxes last year I realized I had found a possible solution.

I spent several weeks in late December and early January creating a variety of designs and assembly techniques that incorporated the pre-made features from the banana box like the pre-punched handholds.

I truly believe that this (essentially paper) toolbox could last a lifetime before being recycled.  It’s easy to build, strong, durable, and functional. Maybe someone will buy mine at a flea market some day. Wouldn’t that be a dream! (Although maybe now that I’ve built about 10 extras, I might get on that sooner than later…)

 

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The act of constructing a cardboard toolbox instantly transforms you from a passive Cardboard Aficionado into an energized Cardboard Maker– be prepared for this dynamic life change!

You’ll need:

  • Approx. 30 minutes of your time
  • 1 banana box
  • cutting tool
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • large binder clips or small clamps
  • white glue (I prefer low VOC eco glue

Christmas’ Cardboard Bounty

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Unbelievably, Christmas Day and Cardboard Recycling Day (capitalized on purpose) happened simultaneously this year. It was an amazing day.

After a beautiful morning together opening gifts and sitting in the warm winter sun drinking tea on our living room floor, we headed out to blow bubbles and examine the recycling piles for sturdy and colorful cardboard…we were not disappointed. The beautiful leftover boxes I collected, as well as metallic and wood grain(!) cardboard scraps were definitely highlights.

The Cardboard Collective

These days between Christmas and New Year’s have been a wonderful mash up of cleaning and organizing the house for the New Year, sewing, cardboard crafting, and reflecting on what a great year 2012 has been.

These are a few of the cardboard projects I’ve put together in the last few days:

  • Gift tags: made from tracing tags we received on our packages this year.
  • Gift bags and boxes: decorated with saved paper scraps.
  • Holiday ribbon organizer: ribbons we’ll be using for Valentine’s Day.
  • Mismatched Cardboard Portfolio: I took apart and traced an old folder to make this.

Goodbye 2012 and thank you! See you all next year…

Cardboard Finger Puppet Book

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This Christmas present  was a team project. I got lots of guidance while I was sewing the facial features on “wiggle worm.” My daughter also wrote the story for the book, which strangely enough changes every time you read it… you can catch the “text” below.

The Cardboard Collective

The Cardboard Collective

Stitch your wiggle worm together from a fabric scrap.

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Cut holes in the middle of the pages of a cardboard book. Cardboard book how to here. Tape your worm in place.

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Glue a cardboard page over top, to secure the “wiggle worm.”

The Cardboard CollectiveMERA

The Cardboard Collective

The Cardboard Collective

Looking a little smug after the photo shoot isn’t he?

Cardboard Tinkering Toy Series: Cardboard and Cork Flip Car

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This car is SO much fun!

It really makes my girls giggle because it seems like it has its own personality. We’ve had a great time tinkering with ramps, and there was also a failed zig-zag chute, but the girls also love attaching a string and chasing after each.

This project is pretty intuitive once you gather all the tools and materials together. A few pointers:

* Use large paperclips that have fewer kinks to straighten out.

* Try to cut your corks as evenly as possible.

* You can make the car without the hinge in the middle, but if you do make the hinge, be sure to leave a gap between the hinging parts.

I hope you try this one out, it truly is a toy for all ages!