Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cardboard Mannequins

More cardboard!

Last week was Sew, Don't Think Week (aka 7 Days of
Manic Sewing) so the kids were promised that Mom
would do cardboard crafts with them this week to
make up for doing zero crafts last week. I have a head
full of various 3-D cardboard projects and tiny bits
of hardware from Home Depot (which I am liking much
more than Michaels as a source of craft supplies) but
we're going to tackle them only after our trip.

This morning, we did a very simple cardboard craft for
no purpose other than decorating. I can see possibilities
to extend this to something actually fun,
but we stopped at pure embellishment today.

Here are some girl outlines on corrugated cardboard
(ours were about 15" high)

and two rectangles per figure, with slits cut into them
for slotting together. The figure's feet also
have two slits cut into them.

The actual distance apart is not important (although
obviously the farther apart, the more stable the
whole structure is), but the width of the slit roughly
matched the thickness of the cardboard, and the
length of the slit was roughly half of the width of the rectangles.

The two rectangles slotted together,
leaving two slits at the other ends

to slot the figure's feet into.

The girls decorated them, adding faces,
google eyes, buttons etc.

and they were done! We added a couple of boys so
the girls could each have a girl and a boy to decorate.
Kate gave up halfway so we didn't give her a boy.

As I type this, the girls are using them as skittle-men
(and -women) and knocking them over with
their plastic bowling ball. Fun.

If we were going to invest more time in this craft,
we might do the following:

  • Trace their outlines on colored paper and make clothes to stick on.
  • Make wrap-around clothes from scrap fabric, like skirts, vests etc.
  • Stick on wool and other hair-like material to change their hairstyles.
  • Make tiny paper masks.
  • Make one mannequin of each family member and dress them funny.
  • Make different figures for different occupations that involve distinct uniforms.
  • Set them up on a shelf or a ledge (or our deck if it were summer!) and throw balls to knock them over, fairground-style. Or practise pea-shooting.

Speaking of paper and Home Depot, I got to make a
pattern of a very different kind yesterday! Our bathroom,
as I mentioned earlier, is being completely worked over
by the husband. I get to chip in and do little bits like
paint the walls, but mostly it is his masterpiece. Last
night I was deployed to make a floor paper pattern with
which to cut our flooring sheet. Very fun. Of course true
home improvement folks use those retractable metal
measuring tapes and he-man flat graphite pencils,
but I used my floppy sewing measuring tape and drafting
pencils and felt all smugly wrong-genre and rule-
breaker-ish. As my reward, I have inherited the rest of the
massive roll of brown paper he (husband) bought from
Home Depot for this, for arts and crafts! Whooo!

Off to clean up the post-lunch mess in the kitchen now!

P.S. All the sewing is done, by the way. Completed Sunday night, but did some final hand-stitching of buttons and hems yesterday. Photos later.

Edited to add: No, I don't have a pattern for these. I took a black marker and drew the dolls out free-hand, which explains their inconsistent heights and lack of symmetry. Feel free to enlarge the photos and print them out to use as templates if you need to.


  1. What a cute idea - they look great.

  2. These are cute, and I love all of the activity ideas you came up with! I need to learn how to draw people like this. We do have a sheet of cardboard to practice on.

    Home Depot for craft supplies, I like it. They are building a Lowes right next to our Target, so maybe I'll be raiding their store...

  3. lovely idea- though in our house they would have to be super heroes and villians! or at least dinosaurs...

  4. entirely brilliant! I love these. I need to hold another 6 months or so before my kid is old enough to help me make them. Just 6 months more...

  5. oh i love this. do you have a template for the little people? or did you just draw them up? I would love to do this with my GS troop.

  6. I am so happy I found your blog today. (Through a google search for a paneled toddler skirt) Your kid involved crafts look like so much fun and your sewing is awesome! Thanks for all the effort you put in to share with us.

  7. How fun! I'm going to do this with my students.

    Love your site and really, really enjoy your art protects. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  8. What fun! I've listed it in a Spring Break roundup on my blog, The Handmade Experiment. I've got tutorials on things to make and things to bake and a couple of cool etsy artists for things to take this spring break. Come on over and check it out and thanks for the inspiration!

  9. These are SUPER AWESOME!!! Love them and doing them SOON!!!


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