Reinvention & Renovation

Furniture makeovers and upcyling

Shoebox beds for mice (and dolls, and bears…)

My son is the proud owner of a grown-up proper bed, and insists on taking all visitors upstairs to admire it, and to admire also his technique in getting in and out and generally demonstrating the art of Taking To One’s Bed.  Every night, a new toy is invited under the covers to accompany him, and no-one is ever turfed out, meaning that after a week there is barely enough room for Harry and we are generally woken in the wee smalls by the sound of sleepy arguments and turf wars as H wrestles with his toys for pillow space.  Action was called for, so now Marvin (mouse) and Digby (dog) have their own bed, which was as close as I could make to being a replica of Harry’s own.  Using a cutdown shoebox, clip-art tongue and groove panelling and a remnant of batting covered in gingham, we now have a bed, pillow and duvet to rival Harry’s own.

The only risky moment was when Harry turfed them both out and claimed that HE wanted to sleep in Digby’s bed….  A compromise was reached and Marvin and Digby now sleep alongside Harry with this bed carefully positioned next to his.  Let’s see how long it lasts….


And whilst we’re talking cardboard….

The wonderful and dangerous thing about moving house is that without warning you become drawn to homewares catalogues like a moth to a flame.  John Lewis suddenly makes a stealth entry into your ‘most visited’ sites lists and ne’er a day goes by without an interestingly large package arriving on the doorstep… or so my husband complains.  Still, a happy upside of this retail incontinence is that I find myself with a wealth of large empty boxes, just waiting to be recycled into fetching play equipment.  ’Think how much we’ve saved!’ I cry, to an unconvinced marital audience. In this case, a large box (formerly housing a vacuum cleaner, since you ask) has been painted and appended with some mouth-watering clip art to make a simple play shop, through which much money has changed hands in the last 24 hours in exchange for a variety of dented plastic vegetables.

As you can see from the pictures below, the actual cardboard box with just a door and a serving hatch cut into it were just as exciting to the 2yr old in question – the paint and decor just makes it a slightly more attractive addition to the playroom…


Simple cardboard train

In our new house we have a huge open hallway adjoining a large room  which is currently empty (the new kitchen arrives in two weeks and counting…).  It’s a space just begging for play, and my toddler has spent the last week careering from one to the next, dragging balloons, toys and numerous random household items in his wake.  A pull-along train is definitely called for, if only to ensure safe passage for Wilberforce, Leo and Rabbit.  Here I painted two leftover packing boxes, joined them with a length of rope and added one for pulling along.  The wheels are silver paper plates (bounty from Poundsaver, my retail guilty pleasure), and for the rear I printed up a simple backplate with the driver’s name; I’m discovering that ownership is very important when you’re two.

As you can see from the pictures below, Harry’s train was a hit, and it’s uncertain whether the passengers will ever be allowed to disembark….