You don't need a fancy toy for children to have fun. This in effect is the cardboard box the child has more fun with than the toy that arrived in it.
All I've done is given this box a few cuts and folds to help convert it into a fun playhouse. The design should also do for a dolls house if you're working off a smaller size box.
Seeing as its made of cardboard the children might want to paint or decorate it themselves to give it their final touches. And when you are tired of it just throw it out with your recycled paper.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
Two cardboard boxes...big ones, packaging tape, pritt stick
Knife, pencil, ruler
I got these boxes yesterday from a clothes store while I was in town. I use a serrated knife to cut corrugated cardboard. It's not very precise but the back and forth motion works quickly on this material. But be careful! It could give you a nasty cut. Use whatever you are comfortable with.
Step 2: Extra Height: Straighten Out Bottom Flaps
If your box isn't particularly tall you will need extra height. Hold the flaps that will be on the bottom together and tape them. If you do this the playhouse won't have any floor but thats not a problem to fun lovin' children :)
Step 3: Give the Roof a Pitch
To slant the roof just cut out the same triangle from both sides of all four flaps on the top of the box. Anything from 30 to 45 degrees should do the trick. Cut the first one and use it as a template for the rest.
Now, with the box flat, tape together the outside diagonal edges we just cut.
Step 4: Stand It Up!
After taping up the outside edges stand the box on the floor and open it out into its shape. The roof will slant by itself and the house is quickly taking shape.
If we leave the remaining diagonal edges without tape we can easily store the playhouse flat whenever necessary. This is important if you have space issues.
Step 5: Add the Windows and Doors
Get out your pencil and start drawing in the windows and doors. I like to leave everything like flaps, great for playing peek-a-boo.
Step 6: Make the Shingles/Roof Tiles
This is what you need the second box for AND it's the tricky part. You will need to calculate a good size roof tile for your playhouse. My roof measured around 11 inches so allowing for a bit of over hang, I calculated a 12 inch roof could be made from 6 inch tiles. The top row of tiles are half the length (3 inches). I made the bottom three rows of tiles out of single pieces and just cut grooves halfway into them. So that when stacked they looked like rows of individual tiles. Tape each row of tiles along its top edge to the roof starting with the lowest row stuck at the halfway mark, second row 3 inches higher up, the third row stuck aligned with the top. Each row will block from view the tape of the previous row. Use pritt stick to glue the top most tiles in place, again, aligned with the top.
Sounds complicated doesn't it? If you would prefer just painting on a visual effect by all means, please do :)
Step 7: Voilà
And there you have it. Five minutes later the playhouse was being turned into a pizza restaurant. So with the leftover cardboard we made a free standing menu and fixed a mini counter top in the window.
Step 8: Flatpack!
The best thing about this playhouse, for me, is how it folds flat even with the shingles in place.
Participated in the
Creative Misuse Contest