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…

 

My Materials

Materials- The Cardboard Collective

This is it! A sampler of the things that I use other than post-consumer cardboard, paper bags and tubes that I find on recycling day.

  • Glue: low VOC white glue for cardboard, and homemade wheat paste for decoupage.
  • Origami and chiyogami paper
  • Washi paper (This is a strong handmade Japanese paper that comes in large sheets)
  • Washi tape (watch out for inferior brands that don’t stick!)
  • 100% Recycled paper string and cord
  • Recycled paper tape

Turning straw into gold…

These are the materials that I love for their beauty (Washi paper rivals fabric in my opinion), their recycle-ability (I adhere to one rule: everything that I make must be recycle-able), their effectiveness (Time is precious so why use stuff that doesn’t work?) and their endless possibility (Keep reading the blog for more on that).

Have any insights? Secret recipes? (I’d love to hear them!)

My Tools

My Tools by The Cardboard Collective

One of the things that I love about working with cardboard is that you need very few tools to get started. This is my go-to, can’t live without, get happy just looking at ’em, collection of tools that has evolved over the past two years.

The tree-pruning-looking shears are the most obscure in my kit. They’re a type of Japanese scissor used for cutting corrugated roofing. I love them because I’m more comfortable cutting with scissors than a utility knife and these are tough enough to get through triple wall cardboard without too much effort.

Other notable tools are the screwdriver and leather punch that I use for poking holes in cardboard on play days. The glue brush and glue comb are nice to have; they save on glue and make for a better bonded cardboard project. Oh, and I forgot one! How could I live without a metal ruler?

Do you have an favorite cardboard tool?

I recently read in the fabulous “2012- Celebrating The Year of Cardboard” article at the Maker Education Initiative that there are some great electrical saws that even small children can use with adult supervision. I’d be interested to try them out someday! Have you got a secret tool in your cardboard making arsenal?

Please share!

Tool: Off-set Handled Scissors



These scissors are a great new tool for cutting through cardboard. The off-set handle makes it easier to maneuver around corners and curves, and the wide openings in the handles provide for a roomy grip. The English translations for the packaging here in Japan always makes me chuckle. These scissors are definitely either made of hard materials, or will help you go after a hard(difficult) task!

On a scissors space-time continuum, the off-set handled scissors definitely rate as the best for getting through cardboard, even outperforming the “chicken boning shears.” At the other end of the spectrum we have my sewing scissors, which I would never, ever use to cut cardboard, our household paper scissors, the delicate, but still useful for poking small holes embroidery scissors, and last but not least, wooden scissors. They actually do cut paper.