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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Varied Amazing Uses of Cardboard

Yesterday, you may have seen a $100+ kids teepee on my blog. Today, I will share with you instructions on how to make your own teepee.

1. Obtain three or more pieces of 1 x 2 wood five feet long.
2. Set them up in the teepee shape you want and tie them with twine wrapped around many times.
3. Measure the triangles formed between each piece of wood.
4.Get some canvas or other sturdy material of the appropriate measurements.
5. Cut the fabric in a zigzag pattern to best utilize the fabric.
6. Sew it together, then on to the wood.

Or, don't do that. Because kids don't need all that. Kids need to pretend. Sometimes pretending doesn't come naturally, and you have to teach them how to pretend. But after a few times of pretending them with them, they will be making up their own pretends. "Mommy, it's raining inside the house. This broom is my umbrella." If you have a teepee, it will look cute, but it may only be a teepee, when a cardboard box can be so many things.

Take this particular cardboard box. It started it's life by bringing us something wonderful from Amazon. It was stored in the garage with a few other boxes. Then it made itself useful as a drop cloth while we spray painted something blue. (Husband doesn't like it when I spray paint right on the grass, even though it will grow out. Gosh.) Cardboard boxes make the best drop cloths because they don't slide around much like actual cloth and plastic. If you're using it outside, it won't blow in the wind and attach itself to the painted surface like cloth and plastic.  When you're painting inside, it's so easy to push them up against the wall when they move. When you drip paint on them, they soak it up just enough to let it dry quickly, without letting paint soak through to the floor. Canvas drop cloths will let paint soak through. Plastic drop cloths will allow paint to puddle and not dry quickly. Then you can step on it and track it around. So it was used again as a drop cloth in the laundry room when I painted the walls.

Then the children wanted to make a train, so this box joined two other boxes, they all had hand holes cut in them for carrying purposes, and they followed Husband, the engine, around being coal cars and box cars. They were just walking around, following each other, carrying boxes and pretending they were train cars. Isn't pretending wonderful? Then the Children requested "shields" and Husband used this box to cut one triangle and one circle shield. Then this two year old requested a box this morning, and I noticed that it was now a little building with a perfect triangle door and circle window. I added some packing tape on the corners so it wouldn't be so floppy, and it's a perfect teepee.

See the blue paint?

See the white paint inside?

Windows don't make good doors, apparently. Please forgive me for taking a picture before I helped him get out.

I've also used cardboard to line the bottom of my reusable grocery bags. It makes them sturdier and easier to fold. The cashiers seem to appreciate the cardboard too.

So keep a small stack of cardboard handy for when you might need it. We store it behind a low shelf so it doesn't take up much room. 

What other uses have you found for cardboard?

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