Cardboard Spaceship Before Decorations
For my son's 7th birthday, I decided we needed something really big. Thinking back to how much fun they had that time the plumber let us keep the box from our hot water heater, I decided, perhaps foolishly, that we needed to make a cardboard spaceship.
My first task was to collect all the boxes and bits of cardboard I could find. My first call was to that same plumber, and while he did not have any water tank boxes, he generously left the box from his new patio set in my carport.
I called the local Sears outlet and they directed me to the alley behind the store where I could take whatever I wanted. I admit, I was a little nervous rummaging around a back alley alone, even in broad daylight. It started out badly right away when I pissed some guy off by using his parking spot, in the unmarked, empty parking lot behind some apartments. I found the back of the Sears outlet, where there was an abundance of bbq and lawnmower boxes just waiting for me. I lugged them to the car and went back for one really big box that I knew would be perfect for the spaceship.
The box was heavy, reinforced with corner pieces and covered in plastic tie down straps. It would not fit in the car whole, so I would have to break it down. I did not think to bring scissors or a knife, (or pepper spray), so I stood staring at the box trying to decide what to do next. I was approached by a man carrying a case of beer. I was a little nervous, being in the alley by myself with a strange man. He asked "Heeey, whatchya doin pretty lady?" I thought, "oooh no oh no oh no" but instead of reaching for a rape whistle, I blurted out that I was making a cardboard spaceship for my son's birthday party and the box I needed most wouldn't fit in my car. He took a look, put down his beer and said "Cool! Can I help!?" I accepted. He got right to it. He used his teeth to tear through the straps, then carefully set about breaking down the box for me. It took a while, that box was tough, but eventually he shoved it into the back of the car and brushed his hands together, a job well done. Then he picked up his six pack and tipped an imaginary hat in my direction. I said thank you and he replied that I could repay him by singing him a song one day. (Luckily he did not expect me to do it right then and there).
Cardboard Spaceship Interior
After a few weeks, I had collected enough boxes. The day before the party, I set to work. I had piles of cardboard, duct tape, a glue gun, poster paper and the lid from a Costco veggie platter. My husband tried to help, but upon discovering that his vision of the spaceship was some kind of cardboard pen we could just corral the kids into, I decided to go it alone. I spent hours in the hot sun, cutting and taping and gluing until I was satisfied that it resembled some kind of spacecraft and that it would not fall in on the kids.
We collected random dollar store "stuff" to use. A dryer pipe, reflectors, aluminum tape, silver windshield heat deflectors and other wacky things. On the inside we had a control panel with a steering wheel (made from a strange rotating wire fruit basket I found). The dryer pipe ran from the outside to the inside and was used as a communication device, and then had golf balls dropped into it. The Costco fruit platter lid made an excellent window. The plan was to have something the kids could decorate and take pride in. Poster paper was a good cover to give them something to paint and put stickers on. They were able to decorate both inside and out, and they put a lot of time and effort into making it just right.
Cardboard Spaceship "After"
It turned out to be a rainy, cool day and there was no room inside the house for the spaceship, but luckily we were able to drag it under our back deck. It lasted there intact for a few weeks after the party, until I decided it was time to recycle the whole sha-bang.
About the Author
Summer is a stay at home mom, happily married to a teacher/musician in British Columbia, Canada. Also an art director for Bell's Alaska Travel Guides and freelance graphic designer, Summer always manages to find ways to share her love and knack for art and design with her children.