so it’s sunday afternoon, three-thirty, and out of the blue it strikes me that when we’re not having winterish storms, my children do occasionally attend school. and clipping on the heels of that epiphany comes the realization that tomorrow is the day my second grader is to bring a homemade valentine box to school. as in, the day after right now.
oy to the vey.
my brain was doing its weekend trick of drawing a terrific and categorical blank, but i wagered that the crafty crow would have some stellar valentine box ideas, and she did not disappoint. we scrolled through the possibilities lickety-split, and m settled on this scary-cute guy. (incidentally: what did people do before the internet? besides plan ahead, i mean?)
i haven't found a tutorial anywhere, so i thought i'd break it down for my fellow last-minuters.
behold: the valentine-eating monster box. in one hour or less.
materials (in order of appearance): cardboard box (or an oatmeal container would be a darling variation), pencil, scissors, 1 empty paper towel roll (or 2 toilet paper rolls), 2 shades of washable paint, disposable bowls, newspaper, foam brushes, white craft foam or paper, black sharpie, optional colored craft foam or paper, glue, craft (as in popsicle) sticks, optional red felt or paper, clear packing tape.
1. child: in pencil, draw a mouth shape on the front of the box. (be sure it’s big enough for valentines to slip through.) parent: carefully punch a hole in the middle of the mouth with a scissors, then cut from the hole to the line your child drew. cut out the mouth shape; remove and keep the cardboard piece for a later step.
2. child: draw a small x on the left and right sides of the box, indicating placement of the arms. parent: cut the paper towel roll in half. these will be the monster’s arms. hold one half against the side of the box at the x (straight out like an arm). trace the circular end of the towel roll onto the box, and cut out that circle. repeat with the other side.
3. (at this point, we taped down our open side of the box, but realized the error of our ways when it came time to install the teeth. save the taping for later.) parent: pour paint into a disposable bowl. layer your table with newspapers (possibly the floor and/or walls as well, depending on how enthusiastic of a painter your child is). child: lay the box on its back, and use a paint brush to cover the left, right, front, and top sides of the box in paint.
4. while the box dries, parent: pour a second paint color into a disposable bowl. child: paint the arms (paper towel roll halves).
5. make the eyes. child: using a pencil, draw two circles (or desired eye shapes) on the white foam, and cut them out with scissors. draw eyeballs on the foam eyes with the sharpie. if desired, cut eyelids from colored foam and glue to the white foam pieces. next, glue the eyes to the ends of craft sticks. set aside to dry.
6. draw the teeth piece.
[okay, pause. here is where you get to be smarter than we were. well, everywhere else too probably, but especially here. instead of placing the cardboard mouth piece right side showing as we did, flip it over so the back is showing before you trace. this way all the drawn pencil marks will end up on the back of the piece, and the front will be shiny clean.]
child: take the cardboard mouth piece your Big Person cut out (from step 1) and place it on the craft foam. trace around it very lightly in pencil. now draw a second line on the foam around the mouth piece, but this time leave about an inch of space the whole way around. remove the cardboard piece and draw large teeth along the edges of your inside outline. parent: admire your child’s drawing skills.
(i know you cannot see our light inner line, but scout's honor: it's there.)
7. cut out the teeth piece. child: with a scissors, cut the foam along the outside line. parent: cut a small hole in the inside of the foam, somewhere in the mouth's negative space. child: cut out the middle, following the teeth edges and inside line. parent: assist as needed.
8. hopefully your box is now dry from step 4. if so: child: flip the box over and paint the remaining back side (and bottom, if desired).
9. take a short cookie break while everything paintish and gluey dries nice and well.
10. optional: help your child cut out a heart from the red felt or paper.
11. assemble the monster. child: dab a line of glue along the perimeter of the foam teeth piece. parent: assist your child in adhering the teeth to the inside of the box. child: dab glue on the heart piece and place it on the monster as desired. parent: assist your child in finagling the towel roll arms into the arm holes on each side of the box.
12. assemble the monster part II. parent and child: tape the top of the lid closed with clear packing tape. parent: using the scissors, carefully poke two slits into the top of the box. assist your child in coaxing the craft sticks (eyes) into these slits.
13. and voila, we are done. parent and child: give your monster-box a stern talking to, stressing that his/her diet is to consist only of valentines, and Absolutely Not teachers, card catalogues or hallway monitors.
(our guy looks unimpressed with our sternness, no? hopefully yours shall be better behaved.) enjoy!