Happy St. Patrick's Day

Posted on March 15, 2013 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I made these 'shamrocks' as a party decoration and used empty cardboard tissue boxes! I made a template using a small heart-shaped cookie cutter and glued the shamrocks on wooden skewers. Easy, no??

Recycle cardboard into Christmas stars

Posted on December 2, 2012 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Nice way to recycle cardboard and decorate a hallway for the holidays.

More Christmas Advent Calendars to Make

Posted on November 18, 2012 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Here are a few more Christmas Advent calendars you might enjoy looking at (maybe, even making!). The nicest ones I've come across seem to alll be from Europe - Germany, Spain, Netherlands. Anyway, here they are.




Each of these 24 little boxes measures 6 x 6 cm. They are shown hanging on a tree branch. You can easily cluster them on a table or dresser top instead. Instructions to make are in German but the photos should make it easy enough to follow. You can download a pdf patternto make these from the German Raumdinge blog. Use whatever cardboard you have on hand.  


From a Dutch blog, Stipje  - these are small boxes simply wrapped with a wooden number label attached. No instructions are needed. If you can't find similar labels, use what you have including cutting numbers from an old calendar. I found these here.


I love this one from Holomama because it uses whatever is on hand to create a tree-shaped advent calendar (see first photo). Instructions are in Spanish but the photos are clear enough to follow. And, hey, you can always use Google Translate - NOT! 

Have beaucoup de fun with these.

Tubular Christmas Advent Calendar

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

I know that you can buy Advent calendars at any dollar or department store but you can't always control what's in the little compartments. Dollar store chocolate?? I don't think so. Besides, it's more fun for you (or maybe you can get some help from your older kids) to rifle through the recycling bin to see what you can reuse, recycle, upcycle, repurpose. Start now if you want to meet the December 1 deadline! The one shown above along with good how-to instructions is from Disney's Spoonful craft site. It's made from cardboard tubes of different sizes and glued together to make a neat wreath (two for one, yay!!). I would use a clean paper grocery bag to wrap the individual little gifts. Don't limit yourself to candy--consider age-appropriate treats like action figures, cars, puzzles, jokes, etc. Think about what your little ones like when filling the compartments.

More Advent calendar ideas to come next time.

Tutorial: Halloween Recycling Cereal Boxes & Magazines

Posted on October 9, 2012 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us (here in Canada at least) and I've recovered from all that eating (thanks Neva and Sean for a lovely feast!!), I'm ready for Halloween (my second favourite holiday after Christmas). And I get to reuse two of my favourite materials - cardboard and - ta da - magazines. I made these easy-to-make Halloween cones today. I'll be giving these out to any goblins and ghoulies that come calling on Halloween night!

Here's what you will need:

  • Cereal boxes (empty, of course)
  • Used magazines (with Halloween pictures, articles, etc.)
  • Party hat (cone-shaped)
  • Scissors, pencil
  • Glue or stapler
  • Optional: hole punch)
  • Ribbon (black, orange, or white and preferably leftover from last year)
  • Napkins (black, orange, or white - whatever you have)


Here's how to do it:

  1. Gather up all your supplies. 
  2. Go through your magazines to find pictures you can use. 
  3. Open and flatten the cereal boxes and then cut off sides, top and bottom and put aside for other projects. Keep front and back.
  4. Open the party hat and flatten. This will be your cone template. 
  5. Place this template on top of the cardboard and then draw the shape. Cut with scissors. 
  6. Now place this cutout piece on top of your selected page. Don't worry if the cutout overlaps the magazine page, it'll look okay when you're done because it will be at the back where nobody looks.
  7. Cut out the magazine page, fit it on top of the cutout and then glue it on. 
  8. Shape into a cone and then glue or staple the cone at the back.
  9. Optional: Punch holes about 1/2 inch apart (1 cm) around the top of the cone and then thread ribbon through the holes. Tie ends together at the back or front of the cone.
  10. Unfold the napkin and put treats into the centre.
  11. Scrunch up the napkin at the ends, tie with ribbon, and then stick into the cone. Voila - you're done! 

Cardboard box recycling and kids

Posted on April 3, 2012 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (1)

A cardboard box is easily the most versatile recycling material (and I love it because it's almost always free). This was brought home to me when, at his 2nd birthday party, the little guy played with the boxes his gifts came in. In fact, any cardboard box seems to stoke his imagination, especially if he can climb inside. A box becomes a plane, a train, storage for his stuffed toys, a drawing table, a stool (with the bottom reinforced with more cardboard), and anything else he can dream up. 

So it comes as no surprise to me that some clever folks out there in internet land have great ideas to continue this tradition. Here are a few that I found. Visit the sites for instructions.

Cardboard Green Grocer Store

Lier of Ikat Bag made this adorable green grocery store – something every little kid I know would love to have. I love that she included fruit and veggies in the boxes in front of the little store.

Cardboard Suitcases

Don't you just love these little nesting suitcases, also from Lier of Ikat Bag. She's even added little buckle closures and handles to each one and included little passports for each of her little travelers. I like these suitcases so much that I plan on making some for myself for storage!!

Cardboard Kitchen and Bedroom

Leni  Chan and her son created this kitchen and bedroom from cardboard boxes. They also have plans to add on a bathroom.

Cardboard Castle

Who wouldn’t want a castle of their own? Christiane Lemieux, the founder and creative director of DwellStudio shares this one that was designed and built by her two young children. Complete instructions and photos over at Built by kids.

Cardboard Parking Garage

Something  from La Factoria Plastica I will definitely make for the little guy. He's got a collection of little cars that will fit neatly inside this cute little garage