Thursday, 1 February 2018

Shoebox kitchen - kitchen units

I used to love making rooms for my toys. For a few years my bedroom was an ramshackle shanty-town of cardboard boxes. All thanks really to the kids' telly programme, Blue Peter, because their homemade rooms for Barbie/Sindy were just fabulous. 

Mine weren’t quite so fabulous, I struggled a bit with the sticky-back plastic and didn’t have a Barbie or a Sindy, but none of that was going to stop me.. 

Plenty of other toys looking for somewhere to live.

So this craft project is close to my heart. The plan is to make a house, but I’m using shoe boxes for the rooms, for smaller dolls or toys (and takes up less space), and we’re going to break down each room project into more manageable chunks. 

cereal box kitchen

Kitchen first, and we're going to start with the kitchen units, which are basically one side of an inside-out cereal box. 

Please feel free to use ours as a guide and come up with your own design - there'll also be a few tips on how to simplify things for younger makers.

You will need:  
Shoe box
Cereal box
Small matchbox (optional)
Glue stick
Craft glue
Sticky tape
Paper clips
Silver metallic pen (optional)
Silver spray paint (optional)
Black felt-tip or gel pen

1. We'll be decorating the inside of the kitchen (walls and floor) next time, but for now, measure the length of the shoe box, for the length of your kitchen units.

2. Open up a cereal box by sliding something like a ruler up the seam and lay it out, plain side up. We are going to use the ready-made box creases to help us - one side crease (there are two running down the middle of the card in the picture below) will become the edge of the work surface.

3. Measure and mark 7cm below one of these creases for the height of the units. (If you have a large shoe box, your units may need to be taller). 

4. Measure the length you need for the units from a top crease, just below the flaps. Mark this measurement, but make sure to add about 3cm either side, so you have extra card, for folding. On one side this will be the original box flaps.  (Don't worry if the flaps are a bit tatty, they won't be seen.)

 Our cereal box was quite small and just happened to be about the right length for the shoe box, so we were able to use the flaps from both ends.

5. If you have a small matchbox, use this to work out the width of your work surface, above the crease (on the original side panel of the cereal box). We went for 4cm.  Remember the extra card at both ends for folding.

6. If you need to make your own flaps, draw a line where you've marked the length of the shoe box, and fold the card firmly on this line. Cut along the crease to the line. 

This is how it will stand once the units are decorated.

7. Work out how many units you want and how wide each one will be. Ours are all roughly 5cm wide. It's best to place the sink unit in the middle. (We will probably put a window here in the next project)

Either use a ruler and pencil or pen to mark these and start painting or colouring each one separately straight away, OR paint the work surface and units in one go, like we did.

8. We then worked out the number of units that would fit along the front, between the creases, and used a ruler and black pen to draw them in.  We then used the measurements to draw a cooker and fridge on some plain paper and coloured in with felt-tips. You could also add a washing machine or a dishwasher, or whatever you want.

9. Cut out and use a glue stick to glue them in place. Above the cooker, colour the hob black (a permanent marker like a Sharpie is good for this). We used a metallic silver pen for the hot plates.

10. Glue the flaps together, either side, and check the work surface and unit front are at a right angle, so the top is level. Use paper clips to hold in place while the glue dries.

11. If you have a small match box, first cut a small strip of cereal box card for the spout and two small thin triangles for taps. Stick them along one side of the box. 

When the glue is dry, bend the spout down and either paint the sink, or if you have some silver spray paint, you could spray it like we did. (Best done by an adult) 

If you don't have a matchbox, just paint or colour in the part of the work surface where you want your sink to go  - a metallic silver pen would be great for this - colour in the strip of card and triangles too, then glue them underneath the sink, with the tops sticking out over the edge. When the glue is dry, bend them up, into place. so you see them above the work surface.

12. If you have used a matchbox, place the sink where you want it to go on your work surface and very lightly mark either side. About a cm or so INSIDE each of these marks, cut almost but not quite up to the fold. Bend this piece of card back and cut it off.

13. Turn your units upside down and use sticky tape to attach the sink underneath. There should be plenty of work surface edge to attach it to. Once you've attached the sink sides to the work surface, use a piece of tape to anchor it to the units infront too. This should help make the units more sturdy.  Ours looks a bit of a mess, but it doesn't matter because no one will see it!

Next time, wallpaper, tiling and a spot of interior decorating..

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