A House in a Shoebox
Project by Devora Piha
Children love little play houses. It is especially rewarding when they make the house themselves. Depending on how detailed it is this shoe box house will give both hours of construction and play time. Construction time can be divided over a few days.
Shoe box or another suitable box
Corrugated cardboard or other thick cardboard 10 x10” (25 x 25cm) or less. Corrugated cardboard is best because it can bend in the direction you choose.
Corrugated cardboard is what most packing boxes are made of. The grocer throws them away as soon as the contents are unpacked (drinks, candles, etc.) and so they are available if anyone wants them.
Corrugated is easier to use because of the ripples that make folding easier but other types of thick cardboard can be used: Sandwich Styrofoam board (kapa), or even the back of cereal boxes.
Plain paper: 2-4 piecesPencil, ruler
Scissors and craft knife (used with guidance)
Colored markers, pen
Glue stick or white plastic glue
Hot glue gun (or other glue, like Elmer’s)
Optional: paint, tempera, gouache or acrylic and paint brush
Measure and cut the cardboard 10 x 4 inches (25 10 cm). Make an inner room wall divider. Bend 4” (10cm) at one end.
Cut out 2 doors 1 ½ x 2 ½ inches (4 x 6 cm), one on the short end of the room divider and one at the front of the house. Leave one side of the doors attached to the walls.
Cut out windows 3 x 1 ½ inches (8 x 4 cm)
Cover the outside of the shoebox. Choose from
1. paint or
2. paint loosely covered with “stones” from paper or
3. cover with paper pieces or
4. use large pieces of measured paper glued in place.
Measure and design furniture, Shabbos objects and wall decorations:Kitchen counter with 2 sinks, table and 2 chairs, Shabbos shelf, couch and matching chair, 2 beds, desk, bench, 2 shelves.
A clock, paintings of the Kosel, 2 mezuzahs, a framed portrait of a rabbi, a blessing for the home ( Birchot HaBayit), Shabbos candle sticks, a Kiddush cup, tzedakah box, a siddur, a row of sefarim (books), paper, a framed “painting” of a bowl of fruit or sea scene, colorful blocks and other objects you like.
Option: Make tiny objects from air-drying clay. Dry and color.
Measurements are approximate. On the corrugated board, position the pieces, horizontal or vertical, according to where they will fold. Draw with pencil. Cut out. When folding legs or portions of the furniture, bend on corrugated ridge. Cut halfway into ridge to bend. See photo.
Color with markers with designs you like.
3 x 3 inches (7 ½ x 7 ½ cm): kitchen counter, couch, table
3 x 2 inches (7 ½ x 5 cm): beds
3 x 1 ½ inches (7 ½ x 1 ½ cm) desk
3 x 2 inches (7 ½ cm x 5cm) large chair. Divide in half vertically for two small chairs.
Shabbos shelf: fit a triangle in a corner.
3 x 1 inches (7 ½ x 2 ½ cm): shelves. Divide horizontally for 2 small shelves.
1 x ½ inches (2 x1 cm): Mezuzahs
Use heavy paper for small objects. Draw with pencil, color with markers and outline with pen if desired.
Make little people:
Best to use corrugated cardboard. Draw people with pencil. Color with markers. Outline with black. Cut out. Bend as needed for sitting positions.
Adults: 3 x 1 inches (7 ½ x 2 ½ cm) plus extra for extended arms
Children: 2 ½ x ¾ inches (6 ½ x 2cm)
Options: make little people from heavy paper, pipe cleaners, tiny pom-pom balls, pieces of material, or pieces of rubber sheets (Sol)
Now the fun part. Decide where to put all the pieces. Leave room for windows and doors to open. Hot glue (or just glue) pieces in place or leave loose for playtime changes. Can be combined with other small toys.
The Joy Of Jewish Children’s Art: A Guide For Parents and Teachers
Meaning and purpose with children and art
1. What is Jewish Art and Creativity? Its Roots, History and Values
2. Communication and Developmental Skills. Mistakes and Options. Art Therapy Parelles.
3. Materials and Techniques with Nuances. 100 Projects. Illustrations.