Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cardboard Carriage

Spur of the moment bit of work last night - this cardboard carriage for the girls' Barbies/Kens/Liv dolls. The girls have been playing Doll Ball (as in formal dance thing) and wishing for a carriage. They'd made their own in the past by converting their mini wagon into an open ride for the Ball participants but it got taken apart whenever they wanted their wagon back. So last night, even though I was supposed to be cutting out fabric for Bag Testing Stage 2, I put on a movie (Thor - sigh... I love Loki - there, I've admitted it in public) and picked cardboarding instead. 

I made it quite spacious, so it can be both private transportation (like a limo)

and mass transit.

I didn't take any step-by-step photos because it was late at night and I was distracted by all the dark shiny Norse costumes in the movie. So this morning I took my usual after-the-fact shots for you.

First, the carriage is just two flat pieces of cardboard with windows cut out and made 3D by a gusset. This gusset was rolled 

to wrap around the curves of those flat cardboard pieces.

The curly scroll thing is just rolled cardboard

with little stacks of cardboard separating the layers

 so it keeps it "open" shape and doesn't collapse.

The door was hinged (and scored) at its bottom edge

to fold down into a ramp

so the passengers could enter and leave the carriage without tripping over their stilettos.

The inside of the carriage was just two long seats, glued in before the gusset was attached.

The carriage harnesses to the lone garage-sale plastic horse (the one having a permanent bad hair day)

by two strips of cardboard glued and fastened to the front

and wrapped around the waist of the horse. The paper fasteners were largely decorative (since everything was also glued down) but this pair also served as a string clasp of the sort found on document envelopes.

The wheels were empty ribbon spools.

Two straws were glued and taped on the bottom of the gusset for axles,

with bamboo skewers running through them. The wheels were impaled and glued onto the ends of the the skewers.

And look: everything stores back inside it, even the horse!

Snuck it into their bedroom with a note. I like leaving stuff for them to find the next day - it buys me more sleep-in time. The girls are planning to decorate it and add little paper curtains today. And Emily suggested adding a raise-able convex roof. Although that might not happen till late, since we baked cupcakes and want to frost and eat them first. 


  1. What a grand surprise to wake up to in the morning! I love it!!

  2. E' bellissima! Complimenti sei bravissima hai una fantasia e una capacità di realizzare con "poco" quello che vuoi che mi stupisce e affascina! Ti seguo sempre con ammirazione.
    Ciao Federica!

  3. At the risk of sounding like an over-crazed fan, I really enjoy reading your blog. I like almost everything that you make! You inspire me to do more. One question, though, how in the world did you do all this fun crafty/making stuff when you had toddlers and a baby?

    1. Christy: Answer: I no longer have toddlers and a baby! When I did, though, I did zero stuff. If I could cook one meal a week (and freeze enough for the next week), I considered it a major accomplishment. Those were dark days, craftwise - it was just me oogling other people's blogs and getting equal amounts of inspiration and despondent frustration, spent mostly with the baby stuck in a non-stop nursing cycle and everyone on (it seemed) diapers or stomach flu. Sometimes both. The husband and I were just musing that it was only this year (my youngest is 4) that we felt like human beings again and actually had a dependable schedule in which to do things on our "to do" lists. It was pandemonium before that. Having a baby is wonderful beyond compare, but the only way to cope with it is to shut down every other productive aspect of one's life for a good 2-3 years, with zero expectations other than keeping that baby (and its siblings) alive and thriving. I literally had a very solemn closing ceremony for my sewing machine and put it away a couple of weeks before each baby arrived! I never put away my glue gun, though. EVER.

  4. That poor horse is going to be overworked. There are too many potential passengers for this carriage. The American Humane Society is going to come after you if word gets out...

    [Why is one Barbie so much more over-dressed than the others? And is Ken a Gap fan?]

    1. Speaking of humane - did you see the horse's hair/mane? Now what's really inhumane is how the previous owners let its hair get to that stage. Which doesn't say much for us, since we never got it anywhere decent, it was so far gone. And then took photos of it for this post so the whole world can tut-tut it. For shame, huh?

  5. I love it, and only wish that I (or my parents) had thought of constructing my own vehicle for my Sindy dolls out of cardboard when I was a girl [sigh]. Will be pinning it for when my Newbie is big enough, just in case.

  6. Oh wow, this is so awesome! I love all your cardboard projects, well, all your projects in general. Your girls are lucky!

  7. Your Barbie's are lucky girls. First a house with working lights and an elevator and now a beautiful carriage. I may just mail our Barbie's to your house. At my house they live in the bottom of the closet and they are naked.

  8. I have sneaking in & reading all your stuff/post. However I could not resist myself this time. This is so pretty. I am awestruck by your creativity. Having a daughter myself , i wish if I could copy and actually attempt making it myself... Indeed your girls are lucky!

  9. Love it! You have lucky girls!
    It brought back memories of the time when I was a kid when I made a trailer for my dollhous dolls out of a shoebox that could transform into an airplane or pirate ship. :-)

  10. Love it. Very creative!
    Your horse should consider itself lucky. Our recycle shop purchased horse is missing its tail : (

  11. What an adorable project! I wish I was crafty when I was a kid and I would have totally made one of these. Love your blog! PS I love Loki too :)

  12. Love the scrolls! Your attention to detail is laziness would have let the scrolls flop.

  13. Very cute and oroiginal ! You should link it to some parties !


  14. Super cute, too bad my kids have no more space in their room for toys!

  15. I'm a gratefully unemployed Mom, also. This carriage is so cute! I like how you upcycled cardboard to make it. This is thrifty, adorable and very creative!


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