Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cardboard Dollhouse/Fort

I meant to get this posted before Christmas. You know, with all the boxes still in the house. But, kids intervened and I completely forgot I'd even started the post. Well, here goes "How to make a Cardboard Dollhouse/Fort":

*a medium sized cardboard box (like the size of a diaper pack from Costco) - book boxes, t-shirt boxes or other double layered boxes work best as they're sturdier; but if you don't plan on keeping it long any box will do
*razor blade
*packing tape
*stickers, paint, crayons, markers (optional)


Step 1 - Make sure you are working on a surface that can withstand a razor blade... so not your kitchen table. With the razor blade cut off all the flaps from one side of the box. This makes your front opening. I guess if you wanted to be able to close "doors" you could keep on the two long sides, but I don't know if you'd have enough scratch cardboard for the inside. Cut off a short flap from the other side (at what will be the back top side of the dollhouse).
Step 2 - Make a cut through the middle of the top of the box. Then cut little trapezoids out of each side of the cut you just made - about 3, short side of the trapezoid on the cut line. These make the sides off the roof.

Step 3 - Using one of the short flaps you cut off, make a small rectangle. It's going to be the top of the roof, so you want two edges to match the length of the roof sides. Mark on where you cut trapezoids out of the roof sides. With a pencil, mark out trapezoids with the long side on the edges. Cut out the excess. It should look something like the roof top above.

Step 4 - Tape the back of the box together, except the top. Put the top of the roof on the sides of the roof. They should fit without needing tape, but you can tape it if you really want to.

Step 5 - Next comes the inside. Use a small flap you cut off for the vertical line, and a long flap for the horizontal line. You will probably need to make the horizontal flap a little thinner, but keep it 8" longer than what you need it. For both of these pieces, cut a rectangle out of the short edges that is 4" deep and 2" shy of either side. I didn't make mine a full 4" and I was sorry for it. You should end up with a 4" x 2" nub on each of the four corners.

Step 6 - Draw a line through the middle of the "floor" of the dollhouse. Cut out a 2 1/2" slit at either end of the line. You may need to widen it a bit. Put the vertical piece from step 5 upright inside the dollhouse, feeding the nubs into the corresponding slits. Fold one nub to the right and one to the left. Tape down (should be on the very bottom of the dollhouse).

Step 7 - Draw a line down the middle of the horizontal piece you made in step 5, parallel to the shorter sides. Cut 2 1/2" slits like you did in step 6. Put the horizontal piece in the dollhouse. Feed the nubs from the vertical piece into the two slits you just cut, taping one to the right and one to the left.

Step 8 - With a pencil, mark where the nubs of the horizontal piece hit the sides of the dollhouse. You will need to cut 2 1/2" slits at all four marks. After that, feed them through that same way as in step 6 and 7, taping them down.

Step 9 - Have the kids, paint, color, whatever. They LOVE this part.

If you wanted to do a shorter house, like the one pictured below, just skip steps 5-8. It's way easier and the kids may not even care about a second story. I'm sure these same principles could be used to make a cardboard castle, too, if you wanted to get really creative. Feel free to comment about any erroneous or confusing instructions!

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