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Room Tip:
Creating Cardboard Furnishings

Decorating your child's room with cardboard furnishings is a paper caper that involves you and your child if you take the do-it-yourself approach.

Nail boxes serve as corner seating and building blocks What makes homemade cardboard furniture so appealing is its interactive quality. Decorated like a blank canvas with finger paints or markers, the pieces invite youthful imagination and personalization.

Personal designs may not be as exacting as ready-made cardboard decor, but they are still fun and functional. And like box-made playhouses that wear out with use, they can be replaced easily when it's time to retire them to a recycling bin.

Naturally the stronger the box, the more durable the object made from it.

Besides triple-ply cardboard, you'll need household items, including a utility knife, yard stick, masking tape, glue and a pencil for measuring.

Before breaking down cartons, check carefully for staples. Either cover them with heavy duct tape, or remove and replace them with tape. Cardboard - just as paper - can be sharp along

cut edges. For safety, cover edges with heavy tape or "upholster" your designs with fabric or wallpaper.

Ideas to explore:
Small Thick-Ply Boxes: Those used to ship nails and caulking to a hardware store are ideal for making:

  • Stackable Building Blocks
  • Cube Tables
  • Child Size Seats

Before pressing boxes into duty as furnishings, stuff them with crumpled newspaper. Then cover the outside with self-adhesive paper in solid colors. Now accent the covered boxes with peel-off letters or symbols available through stationery stores.

Large Industrial-Strength Boxes:
Found through moving companies, computer and appliance stores and places that sell packing materials, large industrial-strength cartons can be reconfigured as:

  • Freestanding Room Dividers
  • Decorative Window Valances
  • Portable Puppet Theaters
  • Playhouses and Other Structures

While it's unrealistic to decorate your child's entire room with cardboard furnishings, making space for at least one such piece is more than economically wise. Using them in your home is a good way to teach kids the value of recycling.

Open up a child's eyes to new possiblities for living in this world, and chances are you open their minds, too. -- Ro Logrippo

To view interesting cardboard creations in kids' rooms, see pages 59, 105 and 158 in the award-winning design book In My World featured on the home page of this web site!
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