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Friday 14 February 2020

A Rainbow Valentines Box

This year the kids and I made Valentines boxes for the first time ever.

At our previous school in California the kids made either bags or boxes to collect their class Valentines as a school project rather than at home, so it wasn't something I ever had a hand in. When I learned that we'd be making them at home this year I knew it was a chance to get creative.

Having never made a Valentines box before, or knowing what was really required, I did a lot of searching on Pinterest (complete aside - if you're not following Little Hiccups on Pinterest, head over by clicking here and follow for lots of great ideas). I found a huge range of ideas, mostly made from shoe boxes. The problem was, we don't have shoe boxes. I don't tend to keep them when we buy shoes. We do, however, have tons of larger boxes from buying new furniture for our house. These boxes were all way too big to use on their own, but perfect for cutting up to create something new.

But what to make was the question...

I figured it would be easiest to make the same thing for both Lola and Mathilde, so I put my thinking cap on to come up with interests they both share. The first thing that popped into my mind was rainbows. Perfect!

Using my standard pinata creating techniques (which you can see in a really old post here) I got to work creating a basic rainbow shape out of cardboard. Once the structure was done, the girls glued on a ton of tissue paper, and voila... we had rainbow Valentines boxes!

Here's a look at how we made them.

What you'll need:
Thick cardboard (Amazon boxes are perfect for this)
Thin cardboard (cereal boxes are a good thickness)
Craft Knife and Cutting Mat
Masking Tape
Tissue Paper in white and rainbow colors
School Glue
Paint brush (I like to use a flat brush about 2cm wide)

To make the structure of the box you'll need some thick cardboard for the sides and base (shipping boxes are perfect) and thinner, flexible cardboard for the top (cereal boxes are perfect).

The first step is to draw the rainbow shape on the thick cardboard. You can either draw the rainbow shape by hand or by tracing something large like a platter (this was my choice). Another technique is to use a pencil tied to a length of string as a make shift compass. I drew the first side by tracing around a large platter, and then traced around this to create the second side after cutting it out.

To cut out your rainbow shape I recommend using a sharp cutting knife and a large cutting mat. I tend to work on the floor when I'm working on projects like this.

Work out how wide you'd like your Valentines box to be, and cut out a rectangle of thick cardboard the length of the bottom of the rainbow and your chosen width to form the base. I went with 4" for the width.

Now you'll need to cut out the thin cardboard to go over the top of the rainbow. You'll most likely find that this will be in many small pieces, but that's fine as it will all be taped together. Cut the thin cardboard the same width as the base, and as long as you need to go over the whole top. One standard size cereal box should be enough.

With all the pieces cut, it's time to assemble the box.

Start by taping the sides onto the base. If you've used cardboard with a pattern or any printing on it make sure that these side face in, otherwise they may show through the tissue paper.

Once the sides are taped on, turn the cardboard over and tape loosely on the other side. You don't want to tape too tightly otherwise you may struggle to turn the side up.

Once the base and sides are taped together you can start taping on the top. I tend to use small pieces going across the join in the first instance, and then go back and tape along the join to tidy it up and add extra strength. I started with a piece on each side (at the base) and worked my way up to the top.

At the very top of the box you'll need to cut a hole large enough to fit your child's hand and the Valentines. I made this 2" wide by 4.5" long. This depends on how wide you've made your box, so go with whatever works for you.

I taped this middle piece on the top and then as I had a few small gaps below, I added in extra cardboard later.

If you feel that the box needs extra tape for stability add as much as you feel it needs. When I'm making pinatas I tend to go overboard with the tape, but as this box won't be hit with a stick (hopefully!) I didn't use anywhere near as much tape.

Once the box structure was done, I glued a layer of white tissue paper over the top and sides to help hide the tape.

Now it's time for the kids to get to work being creative!

To decorate the rainbow I cut up sheets of tissue paper into little squares. The kids then glued these onto the box in rainbow order using a paintbrush and school glue.

While we waited for the first side to dry we covered the top in squares of red tissue paper.

Once the glue on the first side was dry we flipped the box over and started decorating the second side.

If you'd like you can go over the entire box with a coat of school glue to give it a protective layer. This will also help hold down any pieces of tissue paper that might be sticking up. We didn't worry about this step.

And there you have it... a perfectly bright rainbow Valentines box!

These rainbow Valentines boxes are so fun that I think we'll use them as decorations in the kids rooms.

Did your kids make Valentines boxes this year?

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