Introduction: Spring-in-a-Box

Picture of Spring-in-a-Box

Are you tired of winter? Waiting impatiently for the leaves to unfold and the birds to start singing? Do you have a friend who is?
Do you need some recreation? Does your friend need to relax a bit?

If you answered "YES!" to any one of those questions, then this is for you:

Make your own, personal indoor spring landscape, which is independent of the outside weather!
Keep it for yourself or give it to your friend!

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need
Supplies: 
  • Pdf with the pattern (2 pages, A4 or US-Letter)
  • Colour printer
  • Scissors
  • X-acto knife or cutter
  • Pair of compasses or good eye measure
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Glue (I chose the solvant-containing variety, because it doesn't warp the paper so much, doesn't resolve my printer ink and dries faster)
  • Sturdy printer paper, 2 sheets
  • Empty round sturdy plastic yoghurt container (diameter below 6.5 cm /  2.5 inch)
  • Cotton batting
  • Fast growing seeds (like cress, cat grass, easter grass, alfalfa)
  • Paper towel or piece of toilet paper
  • One or two pointed wooden sticks, of the kind you use in the kitchen to make kebap
If you are planning to give it as a gift, you will also need:
  • Cardboard box, about 3 cm / 1.2 inch high, and more than 15.5 x 11 cm / 6.1 x 4.4 inch in area (because that is the size of the thing you will build, you still need to add the width of the yoghurt cup to one of the sides).
  • Wrapping paper or something else to decorate the box with
  • Some kind of fastener to be able to close the box firmly (magnet, ribbon, button, ...)
  • Some nicely written or printed instructions for your friend
  • Maybe some sweets
  • A small piece of double-sided tape or photo sticker
  • Something to wrap the flower pot in so the seeds won't come out ( I chose the small socks they have in the shoe store for people who want to try on shoes with thin socks. They are free :-) and elastic.)

Step 2: Print and Score

Picture of Print and Score

So now let's start with the fun:

Print out the pattern from the pdf.

Score the lines marked blue in the pictures using a ruler and a pointed instrument (like the end of your scissors).

Cut the small lines for the tabs of the flower beds with your x-acto knife. They are marked red in the picture.

Step 3: Cut

Picture of Cut

Cut out the pieces!

You can cut the flower beds and the bird housealong the rectangular box.
Cut the rest of the pieces along the borders.

See that curve in the rim of the box which is in your pattern, but not on the fotos? It's making space for your yoghurt cup.
I realized that this may be necessary when I made the prototype and changed the pattern later.

I'm sorry about the yellowish tint in the pictures. I took most of them at night under non-optimal lighting conditions - but I think even so you will be able to follow the instructable ;-)

Step 4: Prepare the Flower Pot, Part I

Picture of Prepare the Flower Pot, Part I

Cut off the upper part of the yoghurt container, so that only a base of 2.5 cm / 1 inch remains.
Try to make the cut horizontal (this is the difficult part, as most yoghurt containers don't have vertical sides, you may have to measure by eye).

If you plan on using solvant-containing glue, then don't use a marker like I did. Believe me, this will cause an ugly mess later on...

Step 5: Measure and Cut Again

Picture of Measure and Cut Again

Measure the diameter of your yoghurt container opening.
From this, estimate the diameter of your yoghurt container at 2 cm / 0.8 inch height (i.e. deduct some millimeters if the yoghurt container is rounded / doesn't have vertical sides).

Using the compass, draw a circle with your estimated radius (remember: radius is half diameter), with its center in the middle of the dark-green circle on the 'meadow'.
Cut out the circle.

Step 6: Glue

Picture of Glue

Create the landscape and its elements and adjust to your individual yoghurt container:

The box:
Fold the sides of the box up, and all the flaps towards the inside.
Glue the side flaps of the box to the inside, (see image for help).

The flowers:
Fold the flower beds along the scored lines and glue the insides together. Wait a bit and cut them out.

The bird house:
Fold the bird house along the scored line. Cut the wooden stick, so that the pointed part is about 6 cm / 2.4 inch long.
Glue the bird house with the pointed stick put in between the two sides. Wait for it to dry and cut it out carefully.
If you prefer, you could also make a heart to put on the stick or something entirely different - it's up to you!


The meadow:
Fold the meadow along the scored line in the middle.
Now glue its front  to the front flap of the box and align it carefully. The front is pointing towards you if the cut-out for the yoghurt container in the flaps is at the right side.

When the front flap has dried, try to put the flower pot, aka yoghurt container, into the hole.
Does it fit? You estimated well!
If it doesn't fit so that the bottom of the container touches the bottom of the box, you have to carefully enlarge the hole with some small scissors, like those for cutting finger nails.

When the hole is big enough to accomodate the yoghurt container, put the 'flower pot' to the side.

Put glue on the three other flaps of the box. Press the 'meadow'  on the box, with one finger on the 'meadow' and one inside the box through the hole you made. Align everything carefully and let dry.


Now you'll make the background stand straight using a stick and two loops at the back:

Cut a wooden stick to a length of 11 cm / 4.3 inch, no pointed ends allowed.

Cut two 2.5 cm / 1 inch long pieces from one of the two 'grass border'-strips. Fold and glue the first as shown in the picture. Glue it horizontally to the back of the box, in the middle. While the glue isn't yet dry, insert the wooden stick and pull on the ends of the v until the stick sits firmly in the loop. Take it out again and let dry.

Repeat with the other piece of the grass border on the back of the 'meadow background', about 2 cm / 0.8 inch from its top.

This construction allows for easy and fast assembly / disassembly and saves space in the box if you want to give it as a gift.

Step 7: Prepare the Flower Pot, Part II

Picture of Prepare the Flower Pot, Part II

Now draw a circle around (and onto) the yoghurt container at 2cm / 0.8 inch height using a pencil. You can let the rim of the hole in the meadow guide you (when you put the container in it) or you can try to measure it.

Take one of the grass borders and glue it around the rim of the yoghurt container, its 'roots' touching your pencil line. Cut off the excess of grass border.

Put lots of cotton into the little flower pot and press it down. The more you can get in, the less often you / your friend will have to water the thing.
As the little landscape is only made from printed paper, it is quite sensible to water contact. If  you reduce the frequency of watering, you also reduce the risk of spoiling the landscape by accidental water contact.

Open your seed packet and try to sow your little friends evenly. Some will roll down to the bottom of the container, but that's okay. Once they get bigger, you'll see them, too ;-)

Put a circular cut piece of the tissue paper, toilet paper or paper towel on top of it all. This prevents the seeds from vanishing completely to the bottom when you water for the first time and provides protection agains them drying out.

Step 8: Optional: Box It and Give It to a Friend

Picture of Optional: Box It and Give It to a Friend

If you want to give the thing to a friend, you will have to safely wrap the seeds in their container.

You could use a try-on sock, some transparent plastic film from your kitchen - or whatever else you like, which closes the container well and sticks to its rim to discourage the seeds from jumping around in your gift box.

You should also create some instructions in your language which tell your friend what to do with the box. I made some in German, if someone would like to have them, I can put them here, too.

Besides telling your friend how to construct the little landscape, it's especially important that you also tell your friend how to water the plants correctly:
Take the container out, hold it under the tap, open the tap just a little bit to water the plants until the cotton is soaked, turn the tap of, then take the container away from under the tap. Check if it is completely dry outside and put it back.
If you have a colour laser printer, you can be a bit more lenient about this, but printer ink isn't as waterproof as toner.

You should also enlarge the spaces where you stick in the flower beds by inserting the end of your scissors and pulling them along the little cuts. This will make it easier to insert the flower beds for your friend.

Prepare the butterfly by carefully forming its wings and folding them up. Put the double sided tape on its back, but leave the protection film on, so your friend can fasten the butterfly.

Put the landscape with the attached meadow, the flower beds, the stick for the back, the wrapped container, the bird house, the butterfly and your instructions into the box, and finally, add sweets or packaging material to prevent everything from jumping around in the box while it's being transported.

Give the box to a friend who is in need for some green spring-feelings!

Step 9: Assembly

Picture of Assembly

Make the back stand up using the wooden stick and the prepared loops.

Put the flower beds in.

Glue the butterfly onto the top right corner (where the little butterfly is ;-) ).

Water your plants very carefully, but plenty. Don't spill any water, keep the outside of the container dry!

When the little plants have gotten their first leaves, moisten the tissue cover and carefully remove it, it is no longer needed.

Step 10: Take a Walk!

Picture of Take a Walk!

You can now take imaginary walks in your finished spring scenery. If you go regularly, you will see the landscape changing ;-)

Did you see those little rabbits over there? And watch the sheep while they are grazing away peacefully on that hill! Did you hear the cock crow? How did it get on top of the roof? And listen to that bird singing - is there an egg in the birdhouse? Oh, and how high that grass has grown over the last days...

In the end, after one of your exhausting imaginary walks, make yourself a refreshing bowl of salad with some vitamin-rich sprouts (that is, if you didn't use the grass variety, then you might consider giving it to your pet ;-) ).

Enjoy!

Comments

craftclarity (author)2014-03-13

I can hear the little paper birds chirping in the trees...

Moini (author)craftclarity2014-03-13

I think I can hear them, too... .....chilp-chilp.... Must be sparrows... ;-)

So cute and fun for spring!

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