In this Instructable, we build a cardboard aircraft carrier that has room to slide the shoebox inside and out of the way for easy cleaning.
The carrier is loosely based on the Nimitz-class carriers, for those who are into that sort of thing. Also, I can't be held responsible if Maverick does a flyby and makes someone spill their coffee.
NOTE: I won't be very specific with measurements in this instructable, though there are some in the picture notes. The size of everything really depends on the available cardboard and the size of the shoebox. I did most of it by laying out the pieces, marking where they would sit, and trimming to match.
Step 1: Materials
Cardboard for the main components
Tag board (like cereal boxes) to attach the main components
Utility knife or other implements of destruction
Paint pens and/or markers for detailing
Colored construction paper to make it all one color (I didn't use this, maybe when it goes back to dry-dock)
[Edit: added sealant later] Mod Podge (or a substitute) to seal in the paint/marker lines and prevent flaking and smudging
Step 2: Main Components
2x side walls
1x main wall
I used graph paper to draw out the largest flight deck that I could make using the available cardboard sheets. Using a ruler and pencil, I drew and cut out one copy of the flight deck, then used that to trace and cut out another copy. The cardboard I used was double thickness, so there is a total of four layers used on my flight deck. I used wood glue to seal the two layers together.
There are three walls around the box, two on the side, one in the middle. See the notes in the images for placement. The walls were made in a similar manner to the flight deck, with several layers glued together. I used the bottom of the flight deck to lay out the shoebox and determine the lengths of the three walls. NOTE: When cutting cardboard for the walls, it is probably better for structural integrity to have the lines on the walls go up an down, not lengthwise.
The floor piece is one sheet of cardboard. More information on cutting the floor piece will be toward the end. I did not cut this piece until I was just about finished, it was only one layer thick, as it only has to keep the shoebox from falling out the bottom of the carrier.
The nose assembly construction will be described in the next step.
Step 3: Nose Assembly
The nose is a few triangles of cardboard with a cross-piece, finished off with a trapezoidal cover.
The images show the various pieces and how they fit together.
A piece of tag board (taken from the corner of a cereal box) is used to connect the nose assembly to the bottom of the flight deck. Edges of cardboard don't glue very well, so I used the tag board with some wood glue as though it were tape holding the nose assembly to the flight deck.
Step 4: Gluing and the Floor Piece
I used tag board from leftover food boxes to connect all the walls and the nose assembly, see the images below for notes on placement.
The floor piece was simply a rectangle of cardboard to cover the bottom of the shoebox compartment. It should be just a bit longer than the length of the side walls, and just a bit wider than the width of the shoebox.
Step 5: Finishing
Remove the wax paper from the shoebox, and there you go!
In future efforts, I may add a layer of gray construction paper to cover up the unsightly tag board on the sides and bottom of the carrier.
Step 6: Preservation
It was time for drydock. A quick touch-up on the marker and paint brightened those right up. I used some leftover wood filler paste to fill in the holes on the surface. Then, to seal the top in its refreshed state, I applied four coats of Mod Podge, which I only recently discovered.
The shoebox got a little reinforcement, too. I added cardboard to the inside walls and floor. I cut the cardboard so the corrugation was all vertical for the walls, to better withstand toddlers sitting on it.
The toothpaste logos don't bother me so much anymore, so I never applied construction paper to cover up the sides. Mod Podge (or a homebrew substitute) would probably work well for that, too.
As an aside, when I first built this thing, I would put the girl in the picture above on it and push her around the room, to her delight. Time flies. Go make something.