Y O U ‘ V E G O T M A I L ! ! !
Last year, a pal confided that she thought texting and email was unattractive and tiresome. She also expressed concern that her seven-year-old daughter might never know the true beauty of the handwritten word if she didn’t start teaching her now. She decided shortly thereafter to unplug (as realistically as she could) and declared that she would help restore the dying art of carefully crafted handwritten letters.
I’ve since received several letters in the mail from her. She handwrites that she’s still going strong, using her cellphone strictly in its traditional form and has greatly reduced the frequency of emailing with her clients. And in recent letters, I’ve noticed her daughter has become a more prominent participant in the process–her notes and doodles accessorizing every envelope.
Which got me to thinking about other means of making letter-writing appealing to kids. The “mailbox” came to mind and how great it would be for kids to have their own physical personal mailbox. Just a small mailbox, I mumbled to myself. For little notes. For sharing… Teachers could use it in their classrooms. My niece and nephew could use it with their neighborhood friends. They could leave each other surprises.
So this week’s how-to post is a mini version of the mailbox from The Cardboard Box Book by Sarah Powell and Roger Priddy with illustrations by Barbi Sidobox. The Cardboard Box Book is family friendly, eco-conscious, and uses the cardboard box as the foundation for learning and creating. It shows kids that by using easy-to-find art and craft materials, the ideas, templates, and stickers included in the book, PLUS a ton of imagination, simple cardboard boxes can be transformed into a robot costume, a princess castle, a circus, and, of course, a mailbox!
I didn’t actually use a cardboard box or the stickers in the book to make my version of the mailbox. Mine measures about seven inches long and three inches high and I used instead the leftover cardboard packing material I had laying around–two pieces, sturdy, and used the terrifically illustrated and simple instructions from the book as a guide.
First, I CUT one of the cardboard pieces into a 12″ x 3.5″ strip. Next, I DREW the base as shown. Then, I CUT away the base, front and back, and door, SCORED and FOLDED the two center lines. Because of the size of my mailbox and thickness of the cardboard I used, I skipped the reinforcing brackets that you’ll notice in the instructions. Completely unnecessary. Next, for the roof, I WRAPPED a long piece of cardboard around the mailbox base. I first used masking tape to stick the cardboard to one side of the base and then ROLLED the cardboard around the mailbox.
I TAPED the connecting parts and cut the remaining excess cardboard. My last steps involved slapping on a coat of latex house paint. While waiting for the paint to dry, I CUT out the flag, “latch” to keep the door closed, and the letters M A I L from the cardboard scraps. For the last steps, I glued the cardboard letters on and used the designed tape as borders and accents.
You’ll find the original big version of this mailbox and a slew of other fabulous cardboard box projects in The Cardboard Box Book, on the shelves and at your favorite online retailer:
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