Office Craft of the Day: Cardboard Cars


This last weekend was moving weekend for the place where I work. That meant that the week preceding moving was packing week, and this week will be unpacking week. In case you were unaware, packing week and unpacking week means that a lot of things get thrown out because people are constantly discovering things in their desks and work spaces that they either don’t need or have absolutely no idea why they even have such an item in their area. For example, I found a pair of running shoes owned by a mysterious entity unknown to me wedged behind some of my drawers. I have no idea who they belonged to or why they were there.

The point of this post, however, is not to list all the strange items that came up during packing/moving/unpacking. Per usual, I had a visitor of miniature stature visit me and we commenced with our weekly craft activity. His brother didn’t come, though, and that made me sad. But it’s okay because I made one for his brother too. The craft activity, however, was a little more involved than the usual origami that we do simply because there were so many things lying around that we could use.

So what did we do? We made cars (I’m going to call them cars, because that’s what I intended originally) that could also be connected to be caboose that you could pull. In case you have an overabundance of empty CD spindles and good empty boxes and have absolutely nothing to do at work, here’s an activity for you!

First, start off with finding a sturdy box that’s not too beat up. It helps with keeping the car stable. Then you measure where you want the wheels to go. I guess measuring is not necessary if you don’t think that accuracy is not that important. But it helps with aesthetics and also with if the body of the car will be level on the floor. An illustration? Sure, here you go:

I used a ruler and a knock-off Leatherman that I carry around with me all the time. Why? You never know when you need to make cardboard cars.

After making holes in both sides of the box–I guess you could put as many as you want wheels for. Also depends on the length of your box. If you have a long box you might want more wheels. And it depends on the number of spindles that you have too.

Then, you stick the spindles in.

View from the top and inside.

I was trying to think of a way to keep the spindles from slipping out. Also, a way to keep them stable and not wiggle around too much when they’re being pulled around. To do that, I wrapped rubber bands around pole part of the spindle inside and outside the cardboard box. Oh yes, add rubber bands to the list of materials needed.

This is what it should look like.

After that, you can basically seal it and you have a car. But it’s more fun for the kids running around in your office if you can pull it somehow. So add twine or some sort of string-like material to the list of materials needed, I guess. Poke a hole in the front (or whichever side you decide is the front), knot the twine, and voila! You’ve got it.

I think this part should be pretty self-explanatory, but I have a picture for it, so why not?

Then, if you really want to make it like a train or something attachable (i.e., you have more than one car, and you want to stick them all together), here’s another fancy part that you can add. This is something I did later on because the little boy requested it. Poke two small holes in the back of the box and stick a paperclip through.

You could make a long train of these if you really liked. I stopped at two because that was enough for me.

At this point, unless you want to get super fancy and have more things poking out of the body of your car, feel free to add anything else. Or you could just tape up the top of your box. And then decorate!

Flags are completely optional, but make it really fun. If you want flags, add coffee stirrers to the list of items needed. And scratch paper, I guess.

I forgot that you need some packing tape too. Yes. So… maybe more than just CD spindles and a good box. Anyways. Then have the time of your life pulling these guys around the office! Whee!

This picture was taken pre-paperclip stuck in the back of the box. Notice that I just compensated by tying one string around one of the boxes.

One of the problems that you may run into is that the wheel may not turn. If that’s the case, they’re probably stuck in the box a little too well. What I did was open up the box again (I don’t know how many times I had to open and close those boxes), wiggle the spindle around to make the hole just slightly bigger and so they were looser (here’s where having the rubber bands around them really help), and then they started turning! The problem with that was that then they would wobble a little, and didn’t look so nice and straight as before. But at least they turned, and that’s all that Matthew wanted anyways.

So there you have it! Office craft of the day. If you do it right the first time, it’ll probably take less than 20 minutes to finish. Have fun!

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