Tonight I decided to whip up a shoebox sleigh for TROBO. I've been pinning and following a lot of Pinterest folk who do some amazing things with cardboard and shoeboxes. I grabbed a few supplies from my art closet, regular closet, Asher's toys, and my garage.
I posted all the "making of" photos to a facebook photo album. They're posted in order, so you can follow along with the summary below of my four and a half hour balderdash to put TROBO in a blinged out shoebox sleigh.
- I sketched up a diagram on CorelDraw (you can also use Illustrator or hand sketch one) and printed it out. My diagram is specific to my shoebox, so I didn't share it. The main thing you have to plan for is to put slats in between the rails. Without slats, the rails will get floppy and not hold up the box. you'll see from the photos. I made two rails with two slats. The rails have flaps that are inserted into the bottom of the sleigh. The slats are also inserted into the rails.
- I grabbed most of my supplies, mainly a shoebox, an extra sheet of cardboard (or an old box), a box cutter (Xacto knife), some brass fasteners, pencil, tape, etc... I later realized a T-square would be super helpful here, but really as long as you have a straight edge (a ruler) and a sharp box cutter, you can make it work. If your box cutter is dull, go get a sharp blade. Your cardboard will tear at the edges (mainly around the curves) if you don't.
- I taped the diagrams onto the shoebox or cardboard sheet as needed. Croc shoeboxes are perfect for this, btw.
- For the top of the sleigh, it was best to trace out the holes and cut them instead of taping down the paper. If I were to do it again, I'd cut less paper off. I got carried way. Whack wack wack!
- For the bottom, I cut slots for the sleigh rails. I made a mistake with printing my template and ended up needing to recut shorter slats between the rails on the fly. It all worked out.
- I used the brass fasteners you normally use to hold paper together through its holes, to fasten the sleigh flaps to the bottom of the sleigh. Worked pretty well, and with the slats, the sleigh is quite sturdy. I also learned the corrugation on the slats needs to run lengthwise. My first set was floppy and would not have held the rails apart, because the corrugation was vertical.
- I positioned TROBO in the sleigh (you can use your favorite plush pal) and quickly saw my backseat was not deep enough to hold the bag of toys. I extended the back seat, because all good children deserve good toys.
- I grabbed a garbage bag, cut off a pocket roughly the size of a "Big Grab" bag of chips, and used black electrical tape to seal the seam. You could use clear tape too. I grabbed some trash as filler (plastic wrap from one of our pallets of TROBOs), filled it and tied it off with a ribbon. And of course I curled the ribbon by running the sharp edge of the scissors long the length of the ribbon.
- I put TROBO and his toy sack in the sleigh for "last looks" before painting.
This is how it looks - all the structural stuff is done. Now here's where you'll probably diverge. You have your own styles - all good.
- But to make the finished piece above, I used my son's water-based red paint for the sleigh, my acrylic black paint for the rails, and I even found some old copper antiquing paint that I used to add some rustic texture. (I admit the photo doesn't do the copper metallic sheen justice, but they never do...) I also added some little black squiggles for trim around the edges.
- I used some adhesive gems that my wife and I used years go on another project. So yes I'm a grown man, and I have little packets of sparkly bling in the garage. Don't judge me.
- I placed the little gems on the box to complete the look.
So that's it. My first foray into shoe box crafting. I learned a few things, and I hope to do it again sometime. If you have ideas you might like to see, send them to me on our contact page. If you're wondering what a TROBO is check it out here.