Nothing like a creative challenge to get my brain working and what could be more fun than following up Immy’s beloved cardboard box play kitchen with the next DIY Kids project… a car.
Same rules apply. Only $10 and whatever I can find in my recycling bin and around the house to complete the challenge. Here’s how I did…
1. Find three boxes that are the same size (or at least the same width). The middle box should be large enough for your child to sit in. From left to right, tape the first box completely shut, tape the bottom only of the second box and the top only of the third. I raided the garage for three book boxes left over from our last move.
2. As for the kitchen challenge, I decided to use self adhesive book covering with the car. I think it adds some additional strength to the cardboard and is less messy than paint. I found some on special at Kmart for $1.99 per roll so I grabbed three. Cover the tops of boxes 1 and 3 with the book covering.
5. To make the car door: I used scrap card to make a template of a shape that I was happy with. Then I traced the shape onto the side of the middle box and cut along the marked line (leaving the one side attached as a hinge). I used strips of book covering as tape which I ran around the door and the door frame to neaten the raw edge of the cardboard. I decided to only make a door on one side to give the car greater stability.
6. To make the windscreen: Mark the area to remove and cut out with a utlility blade. I then used the cut out piece to reinforce the windscreen along the fold of the box flap by taping it in place with packaging tape. Cover the windscreen with book covering for further reinforcement (I used some of the grey left over from the kitchen project).
7. To make the wheels: There are many different ways that you could make wheels for your car – plastic plates, craft foam, paper, card, draw or paint them on. I chose to cut my wheels from a sheet of black A3 card. I then used some of the leftover grey book covering to make hubcaps. Trace around a plate or bowl to make your circle shape and then cut them out. I used craft glue to attach the wheels to the car.
9. Making the steering wheel: I had kept the piece of cardboard that was left over when I cut out the sink space in the kitchen project and it was perfect for the steering wheel (but any scrap box card will do, just trace around a plate or bowl and cut it out with your utility knife).
I simply marked the shapes for the steering wheel by tracing around various household objects and then cut out the sections with the knife. For durability, think chunky shapes for clumsy, chubby hands and fingers! I traced around the cap from a water bottle for the centre hole and then cut it slightly smaller, you’ll see why shortly! Again, for durability (and to make it pretty), I used the cardboard shape as a template and cut the same shape from craft foam. I then glued this onto the cardboard original and the steering wheel is complete.
10. Attaching the steering wheel: This was the trickiest part of the challenge. On the inside of the car (think dashboard), mark where the centre of the steering wheel will need to be secured. Make a deep cut with your utility knife to mark this spot through the sides of the two adjoined boxes. Then flip the car onto its side to access the bottom of the box that was left open. Use the slit you have just made as a guide to cut a hole with your utility knife large enough to fit the neck of a water bottle through. The photo on the right shows the water bottle sticking through the dashboard (this is the WRONG side and is simply for illustrative purposes). Stick the bottle neck through the hole with the bottle inside the enclosed box. Then thread on your steering wheel and screw on the bottle top. Voila!
The water bottle acts as a bolt and will not pull through and the steering wheel even turns! A big thanks to the person who left the anonymous comment on the kitchen project with this great suggestion.
11. Just like the oven in the kitchen project, I knew the car door would need a handle. What to use has been consuming my thoughts for many days now. Luckily, the latest Ikea catalogue arrived in my letterbox and I had an Aha! moment. I decided to check if there were any reasonably priced handles in the kitchen section. You won’t believe that Ikea sells a packet of SIX silver handles (called the Kosing) for only $3.95! Oh, the projects we can make with these. I simply made holes in the door for the screws with a pen and screwed the handle into place.
12. To make a seat inside the car I filled a shoe box with some unused hardcover books from our shelf and sat it inside.
Total costs involved:
- $0.00 Three large boxes
- $5.97 Book covering
- $1.50 A3 sheet of black card for wheels
- $0.25 White craft foam for headlights
- $0.25 Pink craft foam for steering wheel
- $0.66 Door handle
- $0.00 Water bottle from our recycling box
- $0.00 Shoe box for seat (I knew it would come in handy one day!)
- $1.00 Packaging tape and craft glue (used from our craft stash)
So there you have it, a DIY Kids Car for Under $10.
She loves it so much that I can not get her to leave it! All manner of dolls and furry animals are being ferried to the park and the shops.