March 28, 2012

DIY: Cardboard Play House


Remember that miniature cardboard house we were working on last week? Well we went ahead and cranked out a Little-Smith-sized version and it's actually been a really great toy as well as hiding place.

I love cardboard. It's strong yet easy to cut through and it's typically made from recycled material and can be recycled itself.This playhouse could of course be constructed from leftover cardboard boxes (yay for re-use!). We happen to have a whole bunch of 30x40 sheets of corrugated cardboard hanging around from architectural model making, so we based the proportions and design of this house on that sheet size. Each sheet is just over a dollar and it takes five to make the house, so it's still inexpensive if you can't get free boxes.


We decided to use a "tab and slot" system to hold together the four walls and roof so that (theoretically) the house can be disassembled and stored flat. I wonder if we'll actually take it down or just wait for it's impending destruction!

The end walls have a series of tabs that lock into place with friction through slots in the side walls and roof. We made the roof out of a single 30x40 sheet scored in the middle and reinforced with a little packing tape so the score doesn't rip.


We made the tabs extra long. We actually like this exaggerated expression of the tabs (doesn't that sound fancy?) and it also make it more durable. The pieces can slide and shift a bit without accidentally coming apart.


It seems like Little Smith loves it. We tried to make openings of different sizes and heights for him to peer out of and he likes to sit in there with his turtle light that makes stars on the ceiling... so entertaining! He has toppled it over twice which is making us reconsider a floor for the next version. That would be much more complicated though so it's going to require some creative thinking.




So far the playhouse has held up pretty well but we're counting the days until Little Smith decides to officially trash it. It is kind of big in our small home, but we made it tall and narrow so it fits in our living room surprisingly well and since it's pretty disposable we don't have to worry about dealing with it forever. I'm kind of attached to it at the moment though, it's just so cute!

If you're in need of a rainy day activity I highly recommend a cardboard playhouse. Whether it's just a refrigerator box with a door cut in it or something a bit more complicated like ours, it's fun for little people to have a special spot to call home for an afternoon.

29 comments:

  1. wow! that cubby house is awesome!

    i'd love to try something like that but oh, how you architects make everything look so easy!!

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  2. Oh my! This is totally incredible. It's true - you architects do make everything look like cake. I mean, this is really, really cool and looks like a lot of fun for everyone. Hats off to handy hands.

    x
    J

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  3. I love it!! So my husband and I have been hoarding cardboard since Christmas because we want to build Gus a cardboard kitchen. When I saw your post a while ago on the mini cardboard house my design plan got SO MUCH BETTER. I may just have to bribe you with fresh scones and tea to help me come up with a good play kitchen design!! Seriously amazing, that little house.

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  4. That's amazing! It looks perfect! I pinned that little beauty. ;)

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  5. It is so great! Thanks for the instructions. We made a playhouse for the boys out of the cardboard boxes our new chars came in, and they lasted surprisingly long considering how rough they play!

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  6. That is such a neat idea. I'm sure my engineer husband will help me when it's our time :)

    PS: I'm having a giveaway for moms that want to stay organized! Please come check it out :)

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  7. That last photo is so adorable! Look at him enjoying his little cardboard house! I love this idea. I am sure I will be coming back to this in a few months!

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  8. How awesome! Great pictures, too. And I think we might have someboxes around here...

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  9. This is the Frank Lloyd Wright of cardboard houses. Amazing.

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  10. i could totally zoe loving sitting in one of these with her turtle light too! i love that all your skills from your career totally translate here for little smith!! super mom!!

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  11. Pretty darn cool! My kids are old school (they just get into a box). =)

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  12. Thanks so much for all of the kind words! The Smith boys will also both be delighted to hear that y'all like their house :)

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    Replies
    1. Where can I get the plans for this house? I would love to make this for my granddaughter.

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  13. Oh my gosh this is so amazing. I think you definitely have to have a household of architects to come up with something as awesome as this. Well done!

    Allyssa
    breakfastatthezemkes.blogspot.com

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  14. This is so amazing!! I'm glad he seems to like it. :) I bet you could even let him decorate the outside with crayons or markers when he's a bit older. Maybe for version 2.0!

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  15. http://designforminikind.com/2012/04/a-collapsible-playhouse/

    Saw this and thought of you. You're on to something with this.

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  16. Great house! I also love cardboard and reuse, but im looking for material we can build something simillar for outdoor. I'll send you photo when it's dome :) Thank you for inspiration!

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  17. LOVE this! I have a background in architecture too, and also did sketches and a model first. We did a cardboard playhouse for my son about 3 years ago. The wall panels are still stashed behind his bed.

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  18. Es hermosa la casa, y el bebé esta feliz. Muy lindo juguete, felicitaciones y gracias por la idea

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  19. Would you please send me the directions on making this. I would Love to make it for my granddaughter.

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    1. Oops. forgot to put my email address: treasuresmaker@gmail.com

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  20. Thanks For Sharing Cardboard box Info... if you need cardboard boxes for moving house or storage for your office, Nelson Packaging have boxes and cartons of all shapes and sizes.

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  21. Hi,

    Would you be able to send me instructions on how to make this for my son on xmas morning?

    THanks!

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  22. Replies
    1. Hi there, sorry for the slow response... I've only just noticed your comment. So sadly this project was so long ago that I'm not sure where the pattern is anymore. Our cardboard house didn't make the move with us when we changed homes :( We have been thinking about doing another one, and I will email you when and if we do! Good luck! It's a fun project. Oh one tip is that we tested it out on a little dollhouse sized model first. That helped us figure out the size of tabs and openings, etc.

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