Ok, so for O’s Post Office Birthday Party I knew I wanted a cute little play mailbox for the kids to play with. And you know how I love to make things like this on the cheap right? Like my cardboard sewing machine? Or cardboard Thomas the Train? So when I was working on this party, O and I went to the craft store one day to buy something. And it happened to be the day they were restocking all the shelves for fall. Now since we just moved, I had been planning to make little mailboxes from one or two of the seven gazillion (not an accurate estimation) cardboard boxes we have in the garage. But they were all pretty big and pretty square which would have been fine but would have taken more work.
So imagine my delight when I spotted two perfect shaped empty boxes in a cart in the middle of the craft store aisle. And imagine how much more delighted I was when the woman working there told me I could take them home for free! (Also imagine her super confused and skeptical face when I asked…)
Look! Aren’t they perfect! Ok, maybe you’re not as excited as I am yet. But I had a plan and tall rectangular boxes with square bases were perfect for that plan! So, here we go!
Here’s how you make a cardboard play mailbox:
1. On two opposite top flaps, draw a semi-circle as wide as the flap. That will be the curved top of the play mailbox.
2. Using an exacto knife, cut along those semi-circular lines. Then use half of the flaps you cut off and glue them inside to reinforce the semi-circle flaps and keep them standing straight up. Hot glue works great!
5. Find or cut a flat piece of cardboard that is equal in width to the distance between the two semicircular flaps (from outer side to outer side). This will become the top of the mailbox. Using a ruler and an exacto knife, score parallel lines on the back side across that width about an inch apart or so. You just need to lightly cut the very first layer of the cardboard. Don’t cut down into the corrugated part. Then fold the cardboard gently so it starts to curve.
6. Hold your curved top piece in place and measure how long it will need to be (this is basically the length of the top curved edge of the mailbox (otherwise know as the circumference of that semicircle). Cut the scored rectangle to length. Then draw and cut a slot for the mail to go in in the middle of the top. Finally, use hot glue to carefully attach it to the top. Try and keep the glue on the inside.
9. For the logos, I just printed them out on regular paper, cut around them carefully and glued them on. You could also paint them or use a paint pen or even vinyl if you have a fancy craft cutting machine!
And here’s the finished DIY play mailbox! The kids really had a lot of fun playing with them and it took less than two hours and under $5 to make two of them!
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