Tag: Kids

Haunted Cardboard House for your Kids who Love a Little Scare

Those who know me, know my love of cardboard. It’s such a versatile and cheap product to craft with, which leads me to have stockpiles of it at times. My youngest daughter’s birthday is October 29th, so while brainstorming ideas for her birthday party, we thought about how we could make it a true Halloween birthday party. I’d previously done an indoor cardboard gingerbread house that my girls loved. It seemed perfectly logical to do a Haunted cardboard house for her spooky birthday party. She had grand ideas for how she would make it haunted and couldn’t wait to have her friends over.

Starting a Haunted Cardboard House

The request from my daughter for this haunted cardboard house was that it be bigger than the gingerbread house. We have quite a bit of free space in our basement, so I was okay with accomodating that request. 

For these larger-scale houses, larger boxes make things a lot easier than piecing together smaller ones. The size and shape of the house can really depend on what you have to work. I didn’t have a plan going into making this and allowed the box shape and size dictate how it would work best.

My neighbor had large furniture boxes out for recycling, which I happily took off their hands to get moving on the wall frames. I typically use hot glue to glue the pieces together because it dries quickly and works well with the paper surface. Sometimes, it doesn’t hold together well enough if I’m not quick to get it together. For those times when it wasn’t holding together, I used some wood glue and weights while it dried.

 

In order to set the frame, I decided to utilize some small clamps to hold it while I moved things around to find the right shape and size. I was able to do a fair bit of gluing in the garage to remove the fear of getting hot glue on our basement carpet. Folks, hot glue can only really be cut out of carpet (from previous experience). While in this planning phase, I was also able to cut the door out with a razor and a square on the cement floor.

Time to Move to the Final Destination

With the plan in place, it was time to move all those cardboard pieces to the basement to get this Haunted Cardboard House structure together. With the pieces standing, it was a bit like a maze down there. The girls loved it.

 

I had to put a call out for more cardboard to the neighborhood and thankfully the call was answered. I was then able to construct the roof. That was the hardest part of the whole thing. The cardboard was heavy and shifted while I tried to glue it together by myself. I had to get my helpers on board to hold it while I glued it. For this part, the glue didn’t work as well. I ended up using a drill to make holes and piecing the heavy pieces together with screws, bolts, and washers. They made for a very sturdy structure. 

 

Safety Warning!!

Hot glue is, shall we say, Freakin’ HOT! It was about during this part of the build that I got myself with the glue while trying to get the heavy roof together. As I quickly tried to “stop the burn” (as we say in American Red Cross) by rubbing the glue off, it took a layer of skin with it. I’ve burned myself quite a number of times while working with hot glue, but this was by far the worst. We go through quite a lot of types of bandaids in this house. I’ve got to hand it to these NexCare waterproof bandaids. They maintained through a lot of movement. Investing in heat protection gloves is probably a good prevention idea though. 

  

The structure was thankfully set. My daughter said she had envisioned it being bigger than this, but I was unfortunately out of any larger pieces of cardboard. It would have to do.

Faux Scalloped Siding, Ghostly Windows and Shingles

Now was the fun part of adding the details for a haunted house. Using printer paper, a razor, and my circle cutter, I went about cutting a ton of circles to create a scalloped look on the front panel. I wanted to hide the seam that was there from joining separate pieces of cardboard. I used Loctite Spray Adhesive to make this quick work. That spray didn’t work so well with the cardboard to cardboard gluing but worked here. I spray painted them gray after that. 

 

For the windows and shingles, I cut cardboard to size and drew details or spray painted. If you haven’t tried spray painting cardboard, be warned. It takes a lot of spray paint to cover it. It felt like it would have been a better plan to paint the whole cardboard piece before cutting shingles. For the windows, I painted the cardboard with cheap acrylic paint before gluing on the frames and shutters.

After a quick google search, I found the images I wanted for the ghosts in the windows. I enlarged them and altered their colors in Microsoft Word. If you don’t have a picture editing program, Microsoft Word can be surprisingly handy for this kind of need.

With the addition of some Halloween decorations, spooky lights and sound, the outside of this Haunted Cardboard House was ready!

Stepping Inside

I put the big bubble wrap (the kind that comes in packaging) under the Frozen rug, so it would pop when the kids walked on it. I think this would have worked better if it had been a hardwood floor as opposed to carpet. It took a fair bit of jumping to get them to pop. I had a dollar store spider that drops every so often hanging from the ceiling to give a good scare. 

 

There were some body parts and skulls along with an electrolyzed skull and Frankenstein’s head. My main attraction was the spooky touch and feel center. I had a pumpkin bucket full of eyeballs (peeled grapes), a pumpkin bucket full of brains (cooked spaghetti), a box of witches fingers (carrot sticks), a witch’s tongue (sliced banana), and a box of teeth (popcorn kernels). 

When I brought the group of kindergartners down into the dark basement, they were already on edge. I took one little one into the house to have her do the feeling activity. As soon as the spider dropped, she ran out of the house scared to death. I ended up having to turn on the lights on and encourage my daughter to lead them through the houses. After that, they had a ton of fun! 

Party Fare

Of all the things I do, I think I find using candy melts and molds, one of the most difficult to get right. I’m not sure if it’s something I’m doing wrong or if it’s just tough in general. I made these little oozy cake pop brains as a party treat to be placed along side the Cauldron Cake. The design of the cake was all the birthday girl’s ideas. She was quite happy with the end result and the taste of the Oreo cookie cakey insides.

DIY Bakery and Lemonade Stand Charm for Entrepreneurial Kids

 

While under stay at home orders in Maryland, my two younger daughters took hold of a bakery and lemonade stand idea. They knew they wouldn’t be able to sell the goods at that time but were completely smitten with the idea of it. It just happened that while redoing my oldest’s daughter’s room, she had decided she no longer wanted this large composite bookcase. Inspiration hit after the initial request for the stand, so away we went with the creation of it. 

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Materials & Tools

Quite thankfully for our budget, I didn’t have to buy any materials for this project. I used items already sitting in wait for re-purposing. 

Materials

  • Composite Bookcase
  • Old Window
  • Scrapwood
  • Spraypaint
  • Screws
  • Cotton Material
  • Drawer liner

Tools

  • Square
  • Drill
  • Saw
  • Kreg Jig
  • Clamp

Getting to Work


I wanted this project to be as easy as possible. The easiest way I figured we could accomplish it was to cut the bookcase just above the secured shelf. This would allow for a small lip of the soon to be counter space. Rather than just drawing a cutting line, I used a square as my guide by clamping it on.


Safety Announcement!

Protect your hearing!! My girls have come to use their earmuffs to help quiet the noise of my saws. They also lovingly remind me to wear my safety ear muffs when they see I’m not wearing mine. I know from family experience that protecting your hearing now is important for the years to come. Be sure to wear those ear muffs when using any loud tools.


The girls in their PJ’s inspecting my work.

Here comes the Color!!!

This project was a great opportunity for the girls to join in the refinishing fun. Obviously, the blond wood color wouldn’t do for their personal bakery and lemonade stand.  They picked from my assortment of spray paint cans and got to work. I let them do what they could and filled in the light spots later.

Old Window Repurposing

Awhile back, I bought a stock of old windows for $20 and hosted a Window repurposing party. I had a few who weren’t able to make it so have been storing the windows every since and using them for as ideas spark. The girls set to work cleaning one of the windows. They cleaned the glass and scraped off some of the old paint before painting it white.

The width was just about perfect while the height was off by 3 or 4 inches. I found a spare board that worked to fill some of the difference. Using my handy kreg jig, I attached the board to the window and made pocket holes around the window to attach it to the bookcase. 

With the window on, it was just about complete. Drawer liner from my Antique Hutch Project served to spruce up the shelves. As you can see from the above, the girls were pleased with the results. All that remained for the bakery side of things was to hide that gap. 

Time to Bring Out the Sewing Machine

The girls picked out material from my stash to make a ruffle. I can still remember my mom teaching me how to make a ruffle as a kid. You need to cut a piece of material that is almost twice as long as what is needed and start by finishing off your edges. I’m not an expert sewer, so I’d recommend checking out some other great sites, like Treasurie, for how to best do that.

To make the bunching, you sew a loose straight stitch along the whole length without backstitching. 

Then pull one of the threads while pulling the material in the opposite direction. It may be necessary to start pulling on the opposite side when it starts to get hard to bunch. 

When it’s at the right length, backstitching and a shorter stitch along the length secure the ruffles. With the ruffle complete, I hot glued ruffles to both the bakery and lemonade stands.

Bakery and Lemonade Stand Wares

A lemonade stand is dependent on some beautiful lemons!

We were making the bakery and lemonade stand just after Easter, so we went ahead with baking some Easter Sugar Cookies with icing.

Store bought pizzelles dipped in chocolate with a smattering of sprinkles were next up on the menu list. The girls also chose to use the mini Easter desserts given to them by their grandmother.

A Quick Menu Sign

Every bakery needs a menu, so I selected this wood cut out from my stack. I used Martha Stewart Chalkboard Paint in purple and gray. 

Personalized Money

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my love of personalized items when creating for the kids. I thought it’d be fun to give them play money to use during quarantine in liue of doing a lemonade stand at the end of the driveway. www.PrintablePlayMoney.net had free templates which were exactly what I was looking for. The girls were crazy about the idea, so away we went. A quick photo and duplication in Word gave them a stack of bills ready to hand out for us to pay for the goods.

Bakery and Lemonade Stand Open for Business

To finish this project, the girls made their own cardboard sign and offered story books they wrote for the waiting customers. I used cardboard and acrylic paint to create lemons, cherries, and a cupcake for extra flare. 

The girls are ready and itching to get out to the end of driveway to put their stand to use with real customers. My ten year old wants to use the profits to donate to a charity cause she’s just that kind of girl. I hope you find some inspiration in our found objects project making lemons into lemonade. 

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