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, March 10, 2010

Pizza Box Tabletop Soccer and Cardboard Tube Marble Run

The latest issue of Family Fun magazine has several cardboard reuse ideas that look fun and fit into our series of posts about creative (re)uses for cardboard. Our favorites are Tabletop Soccer made from a pizza box and a magnetic Marble Run made from paper towel, toilet paper and wrapping paper tubes. Click the preceding links for complete instructions.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cardboard Fire Station

Making believe is the gist of his whole life and he cannot so much as take a walk except in character.
Robert Louis Stevenson

A couple of years ago when Ethan said he wanted to build a fire station, I thought he was talking about a little one for his numerous fire engines. When he clarified that he wanted one that he could fit in, I was not sure where to start.

Inspiration came when we realized we could use his loft bed for the frame and the box from our new wagon for the walls. Curtains the he could open and close, a door through which the fire engines could come and go, and door knobs for the front door helped complete his vision.

One of the things I love about cardboard structures is that they are temporary, so when the kids have a new interest or want a new challenge, the box can be modified, stored or just recycled. To make these transitions easier, I like to use Velcro Cable Ties when attaching the cardboard to furniture like loft beds and table legs. They make it easy to attach and detach cardboard without ruining the furniture or the box. I did not take detail photographs at the time, but you can see the small black straps along the sides and under the main door of our fire station.

What always amazes me (a perfectionist) when creating things like this, with and for Ethan, is how much his imagination will take over to fill in the gaps, look past the inconsistencies in scale and smooth over the flaws in construction. I have to remind myself that it is more important to make it, than to make it perfect.

Now I implore you to go collect the props, set the stage, and open the curtain to your child's world of make believe.

For more creative cardboard project ideas, click here.

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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, 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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