I love to cut up cardboard boxes and use them for art projects. They are readily available, super sturdy, and easy to cut and paint and not to mention — FREE! With all the online shopping I have been doing, we had a perfect opportunity to do some recycled box art this season. Read on for the super simple directions!
Cardboard boxes – we used shipping boxes and thinner food boxes. I cut them up, saving the usable sides and discard the rest.
Heavy Duty scissors – The thicker cardboard needs some strong scissors. We used our kitchen scissors. A box cutter would work too–just make sure you are cutting on a good surface.
Paint brushes – broad brushes make things go faster.
Scrap paper – a variety of paper is great to use for the details. We cut up some old paintings and drew from our ever growing scrap box.
Glue – Good ol’ white school glue works well.
The Easy How-To’s:
The first step is to cut up some boxes. Depending on the thickness of your cardboard, this may be an adult job. Cut all of the sides and any tops and bottoms that are usable. If you are in a crunch for time or have littles, cut the sides down further into smaller shapes.
I cut rectangles and triangles because I was focusing the activity a bit more to create a winter scene, but really the sky is the limit for your own recycled box art. Be sure to keep some larger pieces for your background.
Next, paint your shapes. We used an economical acrylic craft paint. You may have to do two coats depending on how much your cardboard absorbs the paint. Color choice is totally up to you. I wanted the background to be blue and the trees to be a realistic-ish green, but then I just used whatever colors we had on hand.
A painting tip: I show kids how to swipe their brush in two different colors before painting. It just gives a little more interest to the piece. The trees are a mixture of greens, blues and grey. A bit of blue darkened the green, while the grey lightened things up a bit.
Now it’s time to arrange your scene! Once the paint is dry(or nearly so) begin to arrange your scene. Start with the background and any larger landscape items you want to include. The trees were made from cereal boxes–thin enough to layer other pieces over. Once you are happy with the arrangement glue it down-we just used regular ol’ school glue.
Now you can add your main buildings or the foreground pieces. Play around with the shapes until you are happy with your design. Sometimes during this process you may change your mind and do something completely different. Super!
Once you get your design Be sure to add details to the houses–windows, doors etc. We used scraps of paper for the windows and doors and other landscape features.
Tip: I keep a box handy to save interesting bits of paper – colored envelopes, patterned paper, cards, fun clothing tags, interesting catalogs, etc. That way we always have a stash on hand.
While these are not particularly Winter-ish….I think the trees add a bit of that vibe and you could certainly kick it up a notch and add snow or decorate the trees. I later used a spray glitter on them to make them look a bit more wintery. That said, these can really be customized to any season or theme–you don’t even have to do houses. We are just particularly fond of buildings over here.
I love this type of creating for kids – the sky is the limit. Grab some boxes from your recycling bin and create your own recycled box art! Let me know what your kids create in the comments or upload a pic to Instagram #heyfuzzymama.