I love thrift store shopping and often come across items that just don’t seem to move. The slide carousel is #1. Coffee makers are a strong second. And number 3, is old briefcases. I guess no one wants to look behind the times when it comes to business, so there they sit. I can’t stand to think of anything being left out, so I put my thinking cap on and came up with a way to get them back into circulation . I introduce to you the Portable Park for all your picnic time needs.
If you have a loved one who works in a concrete jungle and doesn’t have the opportunity to go eat with nature, this is just the thing for you to make as a surprise lunch kit. Not super practical for everyday use, but great as a pick me up for a day known to be full of tough meetings. And then once you’ve had your fun, just put it in a window to see if you can keep the grass growing for a little patch of park inside.
*This is a 're-post' of a project I did in 2009 as a guest writer for Design*Sponge:
Step 1: Supplies
1. an old hard sided briefcase or any kind of case really, preferably one that’s molded plastic so you don’t have to worry about lining it for watering the grass
2. piece of turf cut to size
3. spray adhesive
4. thin ice pack
5. wild life scene printed out to size, or you could also find a little painting that fits
6. cutlery (either standard stainless, fancy silver, or something biodegradable like these WüN guys by Aspenware)
7. a napkin
8. a traditional picnic style plate for nostalgia’s sake and some yummy food bits
How to Make Portable Park Magic:
1. Once you’ve found a case you want to use (I recommend finding one WITH a handle. I didn’t, and it was kind of a pain to work out), get the dimensions of the inside bottom where the grass will go.
2. Call a local supplier of turf and see if they will sell you just that tiny amount. I ended up paying $3 for mine which I think is a pretty good deal.
3. Then set the turf outside on a plastic bag and give it a drink of water. You also might want to run your fingers through it to get the blades standing up again after being flattened by the roll.
4. Next, measure the inside of the case’s lid to get the dimensions for the piece of bristol board or foam core you”ll need to mount your nature scene on. Try and make it so it press fits into the lid. That’s ideal because then you don’t have to mess around with trying to make it stay another way.
5. Use your spray adhesive to mount your nature scene onto the board.
Step 2: Cool It!
6. Now you’re ready to green up that case. Take your turf and place it in the bottom space. Voila, instant outdoors.
7. When the time has come to pack your lunch up, take the ice sheet out of the freezer and slide it either behind the pockets (as pictured below) or into the largest pocket, if it will fit. This ice, combined with the cooling / insulating powers of the grass, should keep your lunch fresh. (Although I wouldn’t recommend risking sashimi…)
Step 3: Press & Pack!
8. After tucking in your ice pack, take your nature scene and press it into place.
9. Build lunch display however you’d like (avoiding runny foods or sauces) and wrap your finished food landscape in plastic wrap. Now you’re all set to go!
Step 4: Show Your Love!
10. Give it to someone you love!