Album Cover Pocket Folders

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Recycled Album Cover Pocket Folders by Amber/ The Cardboard Collective

During my New Year’s cleaning I unearthed a stack of album covers that I’ve used on many projects over the course of the last two years. As I contemplated finally recycling what was left, the photograph on the cover of this Linda Ronstadt album piqued my interest. I sat and stared at it.

I thought

…….prettiness, that’s what I’m seeking right here and now in the middle of winter, that feeling.

Recycled Cardboard Pocket Folder by Amber / The Cardboard Collective

So I brushed and cut my hair, pulled on my brightest striped sweater, and got busy making something pretty.

because of you Linda.

Recycled Album Cover Pocket Folders by Amber / The Cardboard Collective

Start with a double pocket style album cover. Cut the album cover to the dimensions of 19″ (48cm) x 12.5″ (32cm). The height of the pocket is 4.5″ (12 cm)

Recycled Album Cover Pocket Folders by Amber / The Cardboard CollectiveRecycled Album Cover Pocket Folders by Amber / The Cardboard CollectiveCardboard Pocket Folder by Amber / The Cardboard CollectiveRecycled Cardboard Pocket Folder by Amber / The Cardboard Collective

This is where you can add some pretty paper if the inside of your cover is aged.

Pocket Folder by Amber / The Cardboard CollectivePocket Folder by Amber / The Cardboard Collective

The last and most interesting part of this project is the trim. I used strips of interesting paper and gold cardboard folded over the edges (about 0.75″/2cm wide). You can glue the trim down, but I sewed it onto the folder using a standard needle and my sewing machine. I used the hand treadle to get started and then back-stitched at the beginning and end.

Cup of cocoa anyone?

Recycled (cardboard) Album Cover Pocket Folder by Amber / The Cardboard Collective

How to Start a Cardboard Knight (or grasshopper) Costume

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Cardboard Grasshopper Costume by Amber

How to Start a Cardboard Knight Costume Costume by Amber cardboard costumes tutorial by Amber

In case you are just starting your costume, (like me) I wanted to show you that you can still get started with a cool cardboard costume and finish before Halloween (you will have to hustle). Although I’m going as a grasshopper, most elements are the same, I’ll just be dealing with extra legs and antennae…

Just start with long cardboard strips, (mine are a rulers width), and drape them over the shoulders attaching horizontal strips as needed.

You can build a structure pretty quickly on which to start gluing cardboard skirt pieces and armor layers.

The rounded layers on the shoulders above are made by tracing a variety of bowls and plates, cutting them in half, then folding them and gluing them into place.

Really, it’s not about the cardboard though, is it? It’s about trying something new that you have never done before….it can make you sheepish. Well, I’m here to say: You can do this!

My inspiration: these incredible costumes from last year’s challenge:

Archery Knight by Rachel and Tom Morgan

Archery Knight by Rachel and Tom Morgan

Cardboard Knight Costume by wrnking via Flickr

Cardboard Knight Costume by Warren King wrnking via Flickr
http://www.flickr.com/photos/65078346@N00/sets/72157632154460282/

More Inspiration:

A Great Cardboard Helmet Tutorial via Instructables

A Great Cardboard Armor Tutorial via Instructables

Cardboard for Stools & Tabletops

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It was a pleasant discovery to find out that old album covers can be opened up to create a large, 4 paneled piece of cardboard for the Totem Box table and stool tops.

You may or may not have noticed from my previous pictures that Stevie Wonder is gracing the surface of our Totem Box table. If my daughter does in deed learn to read from constant exposure to “Master Blaster” lyrics, I’ll be the first to let you know.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   Cardboard Table Tops by Amber

The album cover cardboard is pretty durable. It can recover from a spill as long as it isn’t left standing too long, but if you’re after something that you can truly pass a rag over, I suggest re-purposing shiny, plasticized paper shopping bags.

The plastic is not recyclable, but I’m pretty sure that these bags are processed without a problem at most paper recyclers. We are able to put them out here in Japan, and I pick them up from other people’s recycling piles for the odd project here and there.

While cardboard still rules, it’s nice to have options…

Cardboard Table Tops by Amber

Cardboard Tabletop by Amber

Beautiful DIY Cardboard Storage is HERE!

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Cardboard Totem Boxes: pattern and video tutorial https://www.etsy.com/listing/152961516/cardboard-totem-boxes-pattern-and-video?ref=shop_home_active

Cardboard Totem Boxes: pattern and video tutorial https://www.etsy.com/listing/152961516/cardboard-totem-boxes-pattern-and-video?ref=shop_home_active

Cardboard Totem Boxes: pattern and video tutorial https://www.etsy.com/listing/152961516/cardboard-totem-boxes-pattern-and-video?ref=shop_home_active

All I can say, is it’s a great feeling to start with an idea, work with it for more than 6 months, and get to this place.

I’m so excited to share this pattern with you! It started basically as a way to solve a problem I was having:
How do I organize my kid’s toys? (the little ones)
which led to other problems:
How can I make something that’s just right for them?
How can I make it out of cardboard?
How can I make it strong?
How can I make it recyclable?
How can I make it beautiful?
Well, curiosity can lead you down a long and winding path.
Mine included a re-acquaintance with high school geometry, learning more about photography and lighting, the search for affordable copyright free music, video editing, cardboard sourcing, explorations in color and pattern (ultimately inspired by the divine Japanese kimono), tool and material testing and lots and lots of watching kids play (the best part)!
I ended up with Totem Boxes.

A set of sculptural stacking boxes (the base of one box fits the top of another) that double as a nightstand, stool, ottoman or table and stool set for children. You can leave them plain, or decoupage them with decorative paper.

What do you do with them?

Put your favorite stuff inside. Yarn, yo-yos, matchbox cars and trucks, Legos, rubber stamps, fancy hats, scarves, alphabet magnets, musical instruments, play-dough, cookie cutters, wooden blocks…

I don’t exactly understand the magic, but my kids love cleaning up with the Totem Boxes. They make sorting the toys like another way to play.  You can easily move the boxes to where the mess is because they are modular, and then stack them up as you go. They look good sitting in the corner of your room, if you do nothing else. To me, they are functional sculpture.

And they’re not just for kids. Someday when I’m a knitter, I’m going to make a set with a hole on the side for the yarn to feed out while I knit. I’ll prop up my heels on the boxes as I relax and make gorgeous socks….

But are they durable enough for kids to use?

Months of testing and strength to support the sitting weight of a 150lb. adult makes me say YES.

What do I need to make them?

You will need lots of strong cardboard (like the kind that banana boxes or diaper boxes are made out of) and basic supplies like a pencil, white glue, a metal ruler, binder clips or clothespins and a utility knife. You will also need access to the internet, a computer and a printer to print out your pattern pieces and directions.

How long does it take?

Anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour for the first box, but after making about 20 of them, I’ve got it down to about 30 minutes a box (without decoupage). Best thought of as a weekend project. Say, if you wanted to make an amazing gift for your 2-5 year old niece or nephew’s birthday.

Where can I buy the pattern?

The pattern costs $12 and is currently available in my Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/cardboardcollect

It includes instructional PDFs in US Standard and Metric with written directions and a pictorial guide with links to 3 original video tutorials. The elementary school teacher in me did my best to appeal to audio and visual learners, so if you get frustrated by traditional patterns, fear not.

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…..

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…)

 

[vimeo 57671007 w=800&h=400]

 

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

Cardboard Karma Chameleon

A few more tweaks and this guy’s ready to dance!

How are your costumes coming?

We have a little less than a week left!

Can’t wait to see YOUR creation! Upload to Flickr or just shoot me an email with your costume photo attached to thecardboardcollectiveblog@gmail.com

How to make a cardboard mustache

In case you need a cardboard mustache to go with your cardboard lederhosen…

This is pretty straight forward, but I just wanted to remind you to make sure that your cardboard corrugation channels run in the direction that you are cutting your whiskers. I scrunched up the mustache a bit and glued it down to give it a fuller shape, but you can also just glue on more cardboard whiskers one piece at a time to fill in any gaps.

Last I glued a square of cardboard to the back and strung a sturdy rubber band through the corrugation channels, painted my mustache with basic tempera, (you could even use watercolors) and….Voila. Cardboard mustache.

Want a peak at some of the world’s most incredible facial hair? Click the link to check out Dave Mead’s Magnificent Specimens photo essay. I promise it will make you smile.

 

Celebrating 50 posts! with Cardboard Pom Poms

It’s hard to believe, but nearly a year and 50 posts have passed since the start of The Cardboard Collective!

I’m so thankful to all of you!

The blog has been a space where I have used cardboard to find solutions to all kinds of creative challenges that we face in our little family. You have cheered me on with your comments and kinds words of encouragement to keep innovating and creating.

My home has morphed from a tiny Tokyo apartment into a full-blown cardboard lab!

A place where boxes are stacked in corners to their tipping point, paper bags full of cardboard scraps are stuffed into empty closet spaces, and little paperboard models of future designs wait patiently on my bookshelf.

Where will another year take us?

Hopefully to better control of the cardboard stash, and new ideas! But in the mean time…

Are you ready to Celebrate?????

cardboard pompom

Aren’t these little cardboard fireworks the perfect symbol for all of the dynamo qualities of cardboard?

cardboard pom poms

cardboard pom poms

These cardboard pom-poms are a prime example of what can come of fiddling around with beautiful colors and textures that might be hiding in even your recycling bin.

I love that they look like little bursts of cardboard energy strung neatly in a row.

www.thecardboardcollective.com cardboard pompom

The tools I used for this project include needle nose pliers, wire (I used large paperclips), and a cardboard cutting tool like a utility knife or these corrugated roofing sheers that I like to use for heavier cardboard projects.

I cut the cardboard kiwi boxes into 1 cm strips and bundled about 30 together with a piece of wire.

After I tightened the wire as much as I could, I started gently bending and fanning the cardboard pieces out, exactly the same way that you would if you were making a pom pom from yarn. As you bend the cardboard you will want to tighten the wire more to help the pom pom maintain it’s shape.

Lastly I threaded a piece of paper cording through the middle of the pom pom and just kept adding to my string.

Where are the cardboard hats and kazoos? Well I haven’t gotten that far yet, but in the meantime…

Happy 50th everybody!

Here’s to another year of making cool cardboard stuff.

 

 

 

 

Cardboard Mini Photo Frames

Finally back from a blissful vacation in Indonesia, The Cardboard Collective is springing back to life. We’ve had sick kids, technology failure and just plain laziness plague us, but all excuses aside, we’ve got birthdays approaching that we need to deliver for.

Grandma D. is a teacher, painter, adventurer and all around photo-holic, so I know she’ll appreciate this homemade twist on some of the photo gifts we’ve sent her in the past.

You can make one for yourself with the PDF patterns below. They are sized for 3×5 prints. You can use any kind of flat, durable cardboard for the frame, and re-purposed paper bags or magazine pages for the photo-holders. Simply trace the pattern fold it up, glue it together, and you’ve got it. Each side of the cardboard frame measures 6 and 3/8 in. by 4 and 1/2 in. I used a contrasting strip of washi tape to adjoin the two sides and add some color, but sometimes a bland mat and frame can make your pictures pop. You can also use the oval and square patterns on a standard sized envelope to make the frame holders. Just lop off one side of the envelope where you will insert the photo. Take the envelope apart, center the oval or rectangular pattern on it, trace, cut, and re-assemble.