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Cardboard Crafts: Fish Tank

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Following on from last week’s guide on ‘How to make a cardboard laptop‘, Evie and I decided to take it one step further.

This week, we made an interactive cardboard fish tank complete with fish and I have to say, we loved it!

Here’s a quick preview:

You will need:

1. Cut your fish tank

The fish tank shape is nice and simple – all you need to do is cut a little window in the front of the tank so you can see in.

Keep a reasonable amount of card on the surround to help the box keep its strength and rigidity.

We stuck down the edges to create a simple little frame too.

2. Draw your fish and seaweed

It’s entirely up to you how many fish you do; we chose to do four.

Using your different coloured card, just sketch the outline of a different fish onto each piece of card (Stuck for ideas, just do a Google search for fish templates for some inspiration!).

3. Let ’em loose with the paints!

The beauty of this next stage is that it doesn’t matter whether your kids stay in the lines or how they decide to paint the fish.

Evie got totally creative here with her paint pens and I think she did a fantastic job!

4. Give ’em some personality

Get yourself some googly eyes and stick them on as you see fit.

I mean, I think this part is relatively self-explanatory, but if you need some help as to where the eyes go, Evie will expertly demonstrate…

5. Get cutting

Now then, grown up…Time for you to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in.

Take each of your wonderfully fishy little shapes and cut them out as neatly as you can.

Evie expertly filmed me doing this, just in case you were wondering what cutting an object out looks like…

I know, right? We’re so helpful.

Well, would you look at that?

You’re a regular ol’ fish expert now.

5. Prepare your fish tank

Now you’ve got all of your fish ready and waiting for their new home, you need to get your cardboard tank ready.

We used blue card at the back of the tank and glued a few pieces of seaweed to the bottom.

These work really nicely for giving the tank a really three-dimensional feel.

6. Hang your fish

To hang your fish from your cardboard fish tank, you’ll first need to make a hole on each one somewhere near the top.

We did this by rolling a piece of plastercine into a ball, placing the fish on top and then piercing a hole using a golf tee (You could also use a ball point pen).

You’ll need to pierce a hole in the top of your tank, although grown ups…I’d suggest you do this bit yourself.

Next, you’ll need to connect a length of string from your fish through the top of your fishtank from the underside and out the top.

It’s a good idea to use something larger than the hole here that can be easily gripped by little hands…

This will give your child the ability to move your fish up and down in the fish tank for a truly interactive, sensory experience.

Et voila! You’re there.

Great job!

For other kids activities that you can try at home, have a read of this article, or for another great little cardboard craft, make sure you have a go at making a laptop too! Super simple and lots of fun.


Cardboard Crafts: Cardboard Laptop

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We love cardboard crafts. But then, Evie loves playing in my office and pretending to be the ‘Big Bad Boss’ too.

We thought it was time to bring the two together.

Evie always enjoys playing on my computer and I think it’s a fantastic way to encourage computer literacy; it’s such an important aspect of everyday life in 2021.

I don’t know about you, but I spend more time typing than handwriting by a country mile, so I always try to encourage Evie to use a computer where possible.

Evie’s too little for a laptop of her own, so we decided to make one for our imaginary play.

This is a super simple cardboard craft project, but looks really effective.

Give it a go and let me know how you get on!

You will need:

1. Mark your your box

The first thing you’ll need to do is mark the shape of your laptop onto your box.

You’re effectively just going to keep two of the sides of the box, but here’s the important bit

You need to keep a small edge around the left, right and top of one of your sides.

This will give the freestanding section the rigidity it needs to stand upright.

2. Cut the box

Scissors are always a safe bet, but I find them tricky to work with when you get to the corners.

Over the years, I’ve tried all sorts when it comes to cutting cardboard.

Personally, I use a craft knife like this one, although please remember to keep it out of reach of your little nippers!

I’ve marked where you’ll need to cut on the diagram below.

Diagram of cut lines on cardboard box
Mark your box and cut, leaving a small edge on one of the sides for support
Diagram showing what laptop should look like when completed
Taking shape!
The box should now look like this.

3. Add a screen

No high-spec laptop is complete without a high definition screen!

Just cut out rectangle from some leftover cardboard (we used the lid of the shoebox), making sure it’s about an inch smaller on all sides.

Use plenty of glue, as expertly demonstrated by Evie, and get sticking.

Moving GIF image of daughter squirting glue on card

4. Add buttons

We were very loose indeed with our buttons and just made them roughly the same size. Depending on how careful you’d like to be, you could measure the buttons out.

Want a full QWERTY keyboard? You can use this as a guide…

Image showing QWERTY keyboard with key placement

You can stick the buttons using a simple PVA glue, just make sure you get a good covering because they have a tendency to come loose!

Fun with cardboard crafts! Happy girl next to completed cardboard laptop

5. Add accessories

No laptop would be complete without a cardboard mouse to go with it! Wireless, clearly.

Using a few leftover buttons and a little rectangle of card, you can add a little mouse to go with it!

Daughter looking happy next to completed cardboard laptop

Et voila! We hope you enjoyed this very simple cardboard crafts guide for kids.

This is one we really enjoyed and will definitely be doing again!

If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out our activity guide here for low cost, super fun activities to do with your kids!

Completed laptop made from cardboard

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