They say toddlers love routine. In our house, on Saturdays we make waffles and on Sundays we paint. This past Sunday, my two year old got out of bed and promptly laid out her dropcloth (an old bed sheet). Art before breakfast? Why not? I smirked to myself about the priorities l have unconsciously instilled. I too was raised by a creative, an artist who took all of our projects to the max. There is no escaping it, I am my father’s daughter.
I’m also an avid recycler, who sometimes (all the time) lets the pile get a little big. So when Costco sends me home with one of those large boxes, and after the kid and the cat have had their way with it, that box frequently takes on a life of its own.
One Sunday, an apple box became our “hippie bus”, the first in a line of cardboard vehicles that may someday require their own cardboard parking garage. Here’s how:
Prep your canvas: In this case, I had just acquired large pieces of white sticker paper and since it was raining, I used that to give us a blank slate. On other box projects I have used white spray paint, even house paint, basically whatever is lying around.
Vehicle exterior: The best part! This box revealed itself to be a bus, through both my toddler’s finger painting skills and the neon/glitter color palette of paints we had on hand. Rainbows, daisies and peace signs add whimsy that anyone can draw!
Vehicle interior: I used spray glue (Super 77) and fabric I had on hand to cover the inside walls. The busy fabric hides the imperfections in the seams. I did this part outside.
Wheels: I painted some plastic lids black and silver and fastened them, so they could still spin, with miscellaneous nuts and bolts from my junk drawer. CDs and hot glue have made excellent wheels on other projects. Be creative with what you have!
Accessorize: As our bus came together, I had my heart set on ball fringe, which I finally found at Fabric Mart on Dairy Rd. I used fabric glue to adhere it. We found adhesive reflectors for the headlights (available at most drug or hardware stores) and flower stickers that were fun touches for my toddler to put on herself. A thrifted pillow from her room was the final touch.
My daughter loves the fun we have together on Sunday mornings: getting messy, using our imaginations. I also love finding a new purpose for those odds and ends in my recycle bin. I know we are making memories and there’s a good chance that I’m raising a woman who will one day stop in the middle of a project and say to herself, ‘Wow, I really am my mother’s daughter.’ Or maybe she’ll be a neat freak like her Dad, only time will tell.
Image Credit: Lauryn Rego