Thursday, January 7, 2010

cardboard birthdays
















"No matter how many toys you have, kids will inevitably want to play with the cardboard box the toy came in more than the toy itself."

Haven't we all heard this before? Here at Little Papercuts, we've taken this sentiment to a whole other level :) Our 'Cardboard Birthdays' began when my son turned one. To accompany our farm themed party I made a tractor out of large cardboard boxes...nothing fancy, just a few boxes put together to form a tractor shape and large enough that a few small children could climb inside to 'drive'. We used large plastic serving trays for tires and voila, instant tractor. Well, to say the kids enjoyed themselves would be an understatement! They had so much fun climbing all over that thing that it almost seemed a shame to throw it out. But it gave me inspiration for the next few birthday parties that would follow

I loved that the basic items we used were so simple (cardboard boxes, paper/plastic plates, coloured paper, paint, hockey tape and glue), and with a little bit of creativity they were transformed into some of my son's favourite cartoon characters.


















When Alex turned 2 he was obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine, so I grabbed 2 boxes from U-Haul (this ensures that the boxes are new and clean since the kids will be inside them) and a cardboard cement tube from Home Depot and put together a train that the kids could play in.



















The passenger cars were just smaller boxes cut in half that they could sit inside. We made a light house out of more cardboard and construction paper, and our paper lantern shade was transformed into Harold the Helicopter. The kids and all the adults were thrilled with our efforts, and I knew that this party would be hard to beat...enter Lightning McQueen:)



















Thomas was followed by Cars when he turned 3. By far the most challenging of all the parties I've done because I didn't want the cars to be square. But by scoring the cardboard from the inside I was able to achieve a rounded car that everyone fell in love with.



















We made 3 cars that year, since he was turning 3, Mater the tow truck, Sally the Porshe and Lightning McQueen the race car. Alex was so thrilled with this party, that he chose Cars again for his 4th birthday, and I took a break from making cardboard characters (I wasn't about to make anymore cars...they take up a lot of space!)

















Last year marked the last 'cardboard birthday' I will ever make for him (now that he's in kindergarten he wants large parties with all of his classmates). I chose WALL-E to celebrate Alex turning 5, mostly because I love that movie, and also because I anticipated that it would be relatively simple since WALL-E is square :)

















With one large cardboard box, some extra cardboard shaped into teardrops and accented with plastic plates for his eyes, paper towel cardboard tubes for his arms, aluminum elbow duct pieces for his neck, rubber floor mats for his treads, and a bit of paint, WALL-E couldn't have been more perfect! We made it big enough that the kids could sit inside of WALL-E's trash compacter, and we even made his little cockroach friend who sits on his shoulder.
















Again we utilized our paper lantern shade, this time transforming it into Eve, simply by adding a balloon suspended with fishing line for the body and some white poster board cutouts for arms. I loved this party, and so did my son:)























Even though these projects took a lot of planning, I will miss them :( No matter how much work they were, the look on my son's face the mornings he woke up to find Thomas the Train and Lightning McQueen sitting on our kitchen table, or WALL-E sitting outside his bedroom door will forever be etched in my mind. Complete Joy :)

15 comments:

trina said...

Those are absolutely amazing. Great job!

Julie said...

OH-MY-GOSH! My sons would be in heaven! I can not believe you made all of those They are more than unbelievably fantastic! What a lucky guy!

kiddlebug said...

You are amazing!!

greenbean art said...

ow!!! that is AWESOME!!!!!!! even with a bigger birthday, you could still make a smaller cardboard birthday piece for him, right? that wall-e is amazing!! all very thoughtful acts that your kid will never forget!!!!!!!

little papercuts said...

Thanks ladies!

Ellia, glad to see you found your way over here :)

Kelly & Janet said...

you are amazing!Wow...coolest thing I've seen. just wondering, how do the boxes holdup to kids climbing all over them...over time that is? The art work/graphics are great, how do you do them...free hand paint them or print a pic and glue it on? they are so great.

little papercuts said...

Thanks Kelly & Janet! These cardboard creations held up very well considering all the kids climbing all over them. I'm assuming your referring to the Lightning McQueen as far as all the graphics go. I actually cut each piece out of scrapbooking paper-all the letters, all the details, everything. The only thing painted on this one was the main red colour of McQueen's body.

Raj said...

Incredible work, you're kids are so lucky. I wish I had enough time to make such great things for my kids!! Thank you for the inspiration. xxx

Bernadette Dobler said...

Hello, I have the boxes and the tubing. Could you please advise whether you painted the Thomas engine or used coloured paper to cover it. You have given us so much inspiration for our sons 4th Birthday. Any clues as to how to approach this mammoth project would be greatly appreciated. Kind regards Bernadette (Sydney)

Rachel said...

I came across these looking for ideas for my son for Halloween. They are awesome!

The Depews said...

These are absolutely amazing! What a lucky little boy!

Michelle said...

I am amazed! I can hardly tell they are cardboard. My cardboard creations are no where close to this realistic! What a neat memory!

melissa garza said...

im just wondering would u sell your creation

Lucy jackson said...

I looove your work and dedication and I'm in desperate need of your creativity :) I need a train for my daughters birthday just like the one you did for your don. Do you have it up for sale? or do you have an etsy store I can visit? thanks much !

little papercuts said...

Hi everyone! Thanks for all the lovely comments:) @Melissa and Lucy, unfortunately I do not sell my carboard creations, and these were made a very long time ago. They held up well to all the kids climbing in and out (as well as the parents who tried too), but seeing as they were cardboard, they had to be retired to the recycling pile :(

Lucy Jackson, the train was pretty simple to make. It consisted of one large box for the body of the train, and flatter rectangular box for the underside of the front of the train and a cardboard concrete form (used to pour concrete into for the base of deck structures)for the nose of the train. Everything is held together with hot glue and decorated with paint coloured paper, ribbon and papertowel rolls for the smoke stack. Hope this helps a bit, and good luck!