We recently read an article that referred to cardboard as “beige gold” (in that case because it was being stolen from business’s recycling bins and resold) and we couldn’t agree more! A good piece of recycled cardboard can be turned into countless crafts and creative projects.
Enter UNBOXED: Adventures in Cardboard from our friend Eleanor Ford of Mini Mad Things. This amazing book is all about using what you have to create something new, which is a message we 100% agree with! Eleanor is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to complete the first print run of this gem of a book. UNBOXED is full of ideas, techniques, and inspiration for kids to get creative with cardboard.
We had a chance to catch up with Eleanor and get a sneak peek into the book – keep reading for more. And head over to Kickstarter to support the book and snag a copy of your own!
What was the driving force behind creating UNBOXED?
As you mentioned, UNBOXED is about using what you have to create something new. In a world of finite resources and growing consumption we want to encourage the creative use of simple recycled materials, like the humble cardboard box, to create play. Encouraging our little ones to repurpose what they already have is not only great for our planet, it also requires creative thinking to see new possibilities beyond the original purpose, helping our children become the resourceful inventors of the future.
Do you have a memory of crafting with cardboard, or another recycled material, when you were growing up?
Growing up my siblings and I spent a lot of time making, using the materials we had around us to create fun. We learnt to sew and to knit; to saw, hammer and build. My favourite pastime as a little kid was hanging out in my Dad’s shed where we had a big basket of scrap wood to build with. We were taught how to use proper tools correctly from a young age and given the freedom to create and also the freedom to make mistakes. To this day the smell of sawdust and engine oil is my happy place.
Where do you look for inspiration?
My children provide me with all the inspiration I need. I just ask them ‘what should we make today?’ and I’m always answered with the most amazing array of cool ideas from time machines to snowmobiles; monsters or magical creatures. I’m always astounded by the amazing creativity and imaginations of young children.
If you had to pick one project from your book as an all-time favorite, what would it be and why?
My favourite project from the book is the ART HOUSE, it really encapsulates what my new book, UNBOXED is all about. It’s about taking something simple, like a humble cardboard box and creating something new; in this case creating something quite special. This house truly was a collaborative project which we created over days together. Each of the children involved in the photoshoot for the book were given art ‘bricks’ to decorate, each ‘brick’ became an individual work of art which we then used to decorate the outside of the house.
What message do you have for kids and their parents right now who are looking for crafting inspiration?
Don’t be afraid to just have a go, It’s not about making something pretty or perfect (the best things usually aren’t), it’s about exploring your imagination, problem-solving and embarking on your creative journey. You may begin with the idea of making a cardboard house but then find yourself on an underwater voyage in a submarine!
Back UNBOXED today and start saving up your cardboard for when the book is released in October!
PHOTO CREDIT: Belinda Monck Photography