Thursday, April 15, 2010

More Cardboard Art: Building a Robot

Photographs by Greta Eskridge

I knew that long-time client and friend, Greta Eskridge, would be a great addition as a guest blogger here at the Dodgen Photography blog. Seeing her post about the cardboard robot her son made, sealed the deal (in case you didn't know, we're big fans of cardboard creations). In Greta's words:

My son James loves to build things out of cardboard. If he sees a box lying around the house, he is sure to ask if he can use it. This time he wanted to make a robot.

It was a pretty straight forward project.

First, I cut off the back of the box, then a hole for his neck and two holes for his arms. This allowed him to slip it on and off easily by himself. We used an additional box, with eye holes cut out, for the head.

Next, he decorated it. Besides markers or paint, some glue and various shiny things are just right for decorating a robot. Tin foil would also be fun.

He was pretty pleased with his creation.

A little imagination goes a long way with a cardboard box.


For additional photos, go here.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Recycled Forest

I love artist, Yuken Teruya's work in which he transforms everyday objects (like toilet paper tubes and Happy Meal Bags) into intricate vignettes. I also thought it fit in nicely with our series of posts about the creative reuse of cardboard.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Christina Katerina and the Box

I can't write about cardboard box creations without mentioning one of my favorite books, Christina Katerina and the Boxby Patricia Lee Gauch.

When Christina's family gets a new refrigerator, she gets a world of possibilities from the box it came in. The story follows Christina and her friend Fats, as they transform the box from a castle to a secret clubhouse to a race car to a summer mansion where they throw a lavish ball for their stuffed animals and dolls. The box is finally damaged beyond repair when Fats decides to wash it off with a hose. Fortunately, Fats' family just got a new washer and dryer...

The simple line drawings, by Doris Burn (who also wrote and illustrated the wonderfully imaginative Andrew Henry's Meadow, another favorite of mine) provide lots of inspiration for box creations.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Cereal Box Houses

Photograph from Bella Dia blog

Continuing with our series of posts about creative reuses of cardboard, here is a simple box house idea from the Bella Dia blog. When I was a kid, I always looked forward to finding the prize in the box of cereal. Now the box can be the prize. I think mine would have a garage door cut in the side for my Hot Wheels. Go to Bella Dia for detailed instructions.

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Todd Oldham's House of Cards

I love this idea from designer Todd Oldham's book, Kid Made Modern, inspired by the Eames House of Cards. Not only is it a unique take on the classic cardboard box house, but it provides lots of "canvases" for kids creativity and can be reconfigured again and again.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Max's Jet Box

I knew when I walked into Max Gibbons' house for a portrait party that his family was hosting, I had found a friend. Upon seeing the jet plane that Max had built out of cardboard with his dad, I was reminded of the hours of fun I have had racing down the track, soaring through the sky and sailing across the ocean in cardboard boxes, first as a child and now with my children. I don't think any of my creations have been as impressive as Max's, but in my imagination (and in the imagination of my children) they were the real thing.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Not a Box

What better way to start a series of posts about the creative reuse of boxes than with a book about a rabbit with a box and an active imagination.

Not a Box is a simple and engaging book (think Harold and the Purple Crayon) that encourages imagination and thinking outside the box.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Save the cardboard

Grown-ups often joke that children like the box more than the gift that came in it. While this is certainly not always the case, an empty box holds enormous potential for imaginative play and creative art projects. If your home is anything like ours, you have a bunch of new cardboard sitting around - from online orders, gifts sent by distant relatives, empty tubes from wrapping paper, gift boxes, etc.

With this in mind, I will be posting lots of creative reuse ideas for all of your cardboard boxes, tubes, bags, and more over the next few weeks. So, before putting your cardboard in the recycling, save it for a little creative reuse first.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Photo Op: Photograph your favorite star(fish)

Photograph © Andrew Reitsma

The Aquarium of the Pacific is hosting a special photographers night on Tuesday, April 7 from 6:00 - 9:00 pm. "On this night, the Aquarium will be available to photographers for the sole purpose of getting their dream photos without having to worry about the general public either getting in their shots or being bothered by their equipment." Those who attend can also enter the Aquarium's photo contest. The grand prize is an Animal Encounter of your choice.

Tripods, lighting equipment, and screens to block reflections are allowed (but not required) on this day only. Tickets are limited (to provide everyone the best opportunity) so be sure to contact the Aquarium ahead of time if you are interested in attending.

Thanks to Susan for passing this along.

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Heart-shaped paper clips

Here's a simple Valentine's Day project that I saw over at the How About Orange... blog. Click the link for more images and the one step instructions.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Let it snow!

Books are a big part of our family's holiday tradition. We pack up most of our Christmas and winter books at the end of the season so that we can rediscover them the next year. I have always been a big fan of pop up books. With the turn of each page a new three dimensional world comes into being.

If you have ever seen Robert Sabuda's intricate pop-up books, you know that they are wonders of engineering and creativity. In addition to several books with Christmas and winter themes, he has created pop up books based on such literary classics as Narnia, Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Mother Goose. He also has a line of boxed gift cards. If you are looking for a last minute gift, I would definitely recommend checking out Sabuda's books.

If you are feeling crafty and want to make your own pop up cards or books, Sabuda's extensive website provides detailed instructions (including photographs of each step) on how to create your own. There are over forty designs including, seasonal holidays, animals, Star Wars characters and more.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Let it snow!

Cutting paper snowflakes is an annual tradition in my family. Hanging favorites from over the years is one of the ways we mark the season change here in Southern California.

The trick to great snowflakes is proper folding .


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Art Projects

One of my favorite Thanksgiving activities as a kid was to sample all of the delicious foods that were being prepared. Of course, I was constantly being shooed out of the kitchen by the cooks. Here are a few projects to keep your young ones busy this holiday. Click the links for instructions and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo-Realistic Paper Turkeys

Cereal Box Turkeys

Fingerprint Turkeys

Pine Cone Turkeys using feathers.
Pine Cone Turkeys using pipe cleaners.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Witness to Remembrance Art Opening

I have been way too busy photographing to blog lately, but wanted to post a quick reminder that the opening for the Witness to Remembrance photography project (mentioned here) is tonight, October 25 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. If you cannot make it tonight, there are a few other opportunities. Go to the project website for details.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

We're Turning Ten

This month we are celebrating our tenth anniversary and invite you to join with us by creating a piece of art centering on the theme "10". Get creative, have fun, involve the family. 1. Draw, paint, sculpt, photograph, write, you choose your favorite medium. 2. Send the completed piece (or a photograph of it) to us via e-mail or mail. 3. We will post the pieces here and/or in a special gallery on our website.

Below are a few works from our fifth anniversary celebration to help get you started.

Avery, Self-Portrait at Five

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Hannah, Five Cameras

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The Hobson Family, Five Hobsons, Five Ducks

Note: the Hobsons incubated mallard eggs, cared for the five ducklings that hatched and then turned them loose at the creek that passes through their backyard. "[The ducklings] more wild than not...stop by every few days to say hello."

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Ian, Family of Five (including baby in utero)

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Sally, Five

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Will, Self Portrait with Jeremy

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Kaija, Untitled

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Marble Magnets

We made marble magnets last year for Ethan's teachers, grandparents and other family members. We chose a few photographs of Ethan for some and he painted others. Not Martha has detailed instructions and lots of other magnet design ideas.


Saturday, August 09, 2008


Michael Hughes' photographs bring together lots of things I love: travel, kitschy souvenirs, amusement parks and photography. Be sure to check out the whole set of photographs.

via not martha

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Photo Tips from National Geographic

The pros at National Geographic have a great site with tips to help improve your photography, no matter what your interest - travel, people, landscapes, adventure. The site has articles, videos and of course, lots of beautiful photography.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008


I love art created by children (which is one of the reasons I enjoy photographing at preschools - so much art). I find their creativity, and freedom from the "rules", inspiring. All this to say, I was really excited and inspired when I came across the work of photographer Yeondoo Jung whose Wonderland project was inspired by the drawings of children. (via How About Orange)

(Images © Yeondoo Jung)

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Give your feet a vacation

For a different take on vacation photos, check out Photojojo's idea to photograph your summer travels by photographing your feet and the ground they cover.

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