I made a vow long before I had children. My house will not be cluttered with hideous plastic toys, especially those *shutter* loud, battery operated villains. Ever.
Now with two children in a space that seems to be shrinking as they grow larger, I'm faced with the issue that plagues so many families. Storage. It's funny. We accumulate all this "stuff" and then need to go out and buy more "stuff" to hide our "stuff". Still, I'm keeping my vow. It's just getting trickier.
We use to have a den with a built in bookcase, but now that our den is a play room and the grown up books removed in favor of toys, and I was desperate for storage bins. The shelves are only 9" deep and about 8.5" high, so it took a lot of running to find good looking storage boxes, especially because I wanted something to match the Floridan vibe of the room. Finally, I found some bins I thought would work. At between $9-$18 each, I nearly had a heart attack at the check out counter. How could I spend over $150 on BOXES? Really? Probably not the best use of God's good gifts. Still, I brought them home. They didn't even fit nicely. Clearly, I needed a Plan B.
There is one thing young families have in bulk - diaper boxes. Too tall for my space, but with the perfect depth for a bookshelf, first I cut them in half lengthwise and reinforced the sides and bottom with packing tape. The only problem, they were just as hideous as the toys they'd be hiding. My solution, peel off the outside cardboard layer to expose the corrugated texture beneath. Brown is neutral. Better. But they needed a little joy!
I searched and searched for paper for covering the boxes, but with this project quickly getting out of control, I looked to the best resource at my disposal - my children! Why not cover the boxes with their artwork?
To keep some of my cool corrugated box exposed circles were the answer. I used a plate to trace large circles all over our paper of choice, newspaper, for cutting later.
Adelae and I scribbled all over the newspaper.
Next we painted over the doodles with watercolor for a pretty resist and the perfect color for my room - turquoise. In retrospect, that resist painted newsprint, left uncut, simply wrapped around the box would have done the trick. Still, I'd already stripped my box down to the corrugated ridges, so once dry, I proceeded to cut out the circles.
For a little more fun and splash of color we looked through old magazines and tore out pictures we liked, mostly old ads and tropical scenes. We cut the magazine images into circles the same size as our newspaper circles. Also, I cut out a few scrap (unpainted) newspaper circles for space holders while determining how to arrange the pattern.
Next, I worked to find an attractive layout for our circles, and decided to cut down the colorful magazine clippings into petal shapes - four petals cut from the sides of each circle to overlap on top of the newspaper circles. This illusion of interlocking circles is almost like the quilt pattern, but a let less perfect! (I must really like this pattern because I just now realized it's also my Green Tables background!)
Once the paper was cut and pieced it only needed to be glued to the boxes. We used glue sticks - nothing fancy!
Finally, for added stability and durability I coated the boxes with clear contact paper.
As we accumulate more diaper boxes I plan to cover some with resist painted newspaper, but also a few with old maps.
At last our new Christmas toys have a home that is fun, special, and practically free!
The toys, tidy. My vow, kept!