DIY Shoe box Castle

Shortly after our daughter arrived a year ago, I decided that I wanted to pass my love of craft down to her.  While we can’t chose what our kids like or don’t like, we do have some influences, so I thought that I would always make my daughter gifts for her birthdays and Christmas. I wanted her to see that toys don’t have to be bought, and for her to understand the time and effort that goes into making toys at home.  I realize at one year of age, this is not very relevant to her, but you might as well start off on the right foot.

Unfortunately when I made this decision, I was enjoying my full workshop and house full of crafty tools.  Move ahead one year and I am in Paris in an apartment that is less than 300 sq/ft and my tools consist of a leatherman and duct tape…  Being in Europe, I felt a castle was appropriate, while I figured she’d be just as happy with an empty box, I did really enjoy the project.

A shoe box was quickly turned into a castle using the leatherman and a small amount of clear duct tape.  Next a toilet paper roll was attached as a turret, with a pointed roof coming from a paper shopping bag.  I decorated the outside walls of the castle with some permanent markers, drawing a dragon, a moat, some trees, and even some ivy growing up the sides.

The castle needed a kind and queen of course, and what better thing to use than some empty film cans.  My daughter already loves playing with the film cans, and adding a face to each and throwing a few pennies inside made them all the more fun.

She loved it. And although the turret was pulled off in the first 5 minutes of play, she is still enjoying her castle several days later.  I’ve been reading a lot of made by joel lately, and I hope to be the same with my kids as he is with his.  I found it fitting that after making the project, I saw he had done a post on doll houses

DIY High Chair…. For $6.50

When moving to Paris for 3 months with your 10 month old daughter, there are certain things you just can’t take with you. One of those is a high chair, and while we figured we make do without, after a month of spilt food and a baby who just wouldn’t sit still, it was time to get crafty!

While walking down Rue Cler, I saw the solution right before my eyes… This beauty of a tupperware bin was only $6.50, just begging to be turned into a DIY high chair.  I’ve always wanted to build a high chair for my daughter, but by the time she was ready for one, we were leaving the country, and all my tools behind.  Something like this Rietveld high chair would have been awesome to make, but considering I only brought a leatherman and a roll of duct tape, this simple design was still a bit lofty considering my equipment.

So I took the bin, cut holes for legs and then a hole in the top for my daughter, leaving her a bit of a “tray” in front.

The hole on top is really a flap which is still attached at the back of the chair and then taped to the bottom of the box.  This keeps her forward but is still springy so she can lounge (she loves to lounge…).

The plastic was pretty brittle and left some sharp edges so everything is wrapped in duct tape to hold it together and keep her from scratching herself.  Here’s a side view of the seat:

How much does she like her new chair?

And how comfortable is it? Well she fell asleep during dinner tonight, and slept long enough for me to write this entire post…