It’s a Bridge… It’s a Rocker… It’s a Stool!

I’ve taken a break from sewing over the past week, but it’s been for a good cause. I found this tutorial for creating a great new toy from discarded cardboard. It’s a stool, no… it’s a chair, no… it’s a bridge, no… it’s a rocker, no… it’s a mountain… What Eli and I can both agree on is it is a very versatile toy/piece of kiddie furniture.

I had pinned the tutorial for the Hashi Stool a little while back, and when neighbors set out two HUGE boxes from their new set of patio furniture I knew it was time! One of the boxes is waiting to be transformed into a playhouse of sorts, and the part of the other that isn’t now a Hashi Stool will perhaps become a painted playmat for cars and trains. (We’ll see how motivated I am for the follow through on that one.)

The slideshow tutorial can be found over at The Cardboard Collective. A printable pattern is also provided. It’s a blog full of fun, cute and things to make from discarded cardboard, written by Amber who is currently living in Tokyo with her family. I highly recommend her blog and look forward to trying more of her projects in the future. This link will take you to their project gallery. Go on… have some fun and keep just a bit more cardboard out of the landfill or recycling center!

Tracing the pattern onto cardboard. I enjoyed how the pdf pattern we printed off had been originally drawn onto a Japanese newspaper.

I asked my brother what the word “hashi” means. It is a Japanese word meaning both chopsticks and bridge. I think in this instance the reference must be a bridge as it would be most difficult to eat much of anything with this contraption.

Eli enjoyed squeezing glue out of the bottle…

…almost as much as he enjoyed spreading it.

This was the first project I’ve ever done WITH Eli, although admittedly most of the action took place during naptimes. I like that he now feel like he had a part in it’s creation. I look forward to many more such experiences with him.

I really like how Amber decorated her Hashi Stool by attaching discarded retro album covers she found to the sides.

Eli helped spread the glue for the paper on the side as well.

In the absence of such a windfall of decorative-goodness I settled for children’s wrapping paper. The little brown bunnies are a little too cutesy for my taste for this project, truth be told, but I wanted to use what I had on hand. (I also just wanted to finish this project already and get back to some sewing!) As it used only a bit and the roll came from the 99 Cent Store I think I can still consider this basically a free project. (Well, I guess I did buy glue, but we still have plenty left of that as well.) If I happen upon paper I like better in the future I’ll just cover this current layer of decoration up!

Showing off how it can rock… he rocks ON it plenty, just not when Mama has the camera out!

Then he decided ‘Raffe can demonstrate the rocking feature.

Tentatively climbing up. When we initially made it too narrow it tipped over on him, so now he’s a bit wary. We have since made it wider and it is very stable.

A little more confident climbing on it if Mama does it with him. This thing is sturdy and can hold a lot of weight.

It makes a great tunnel…

…although this truck is too big. Good opportunity to work on that concept.

This car fits though!

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  1. Maysem said,

    May 22, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Seems like Eli took his job duties seriously;) Much too cute! I think you did a wonderful job on your bridge.. bunnies and all! It’s amazing what can be done with cardboard! I remember when we were young, my sister and I built a dollhouse. I loved that dollhouse… wonderful memories!

    • May 22, 2012 at 5:46 pm

      I was amazed at all the things Amber has done with cardboard! Can’t wait to do more, but I still like sewing better. 🙂 How fun that you and your sister have the dollhouse memories to share!

  2. May 22, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    OMG! Brilliant idea! The kids and I always loved to make things together… still do! 🙂 I wish I would have known about this tutorial when they were little! A mountain would have just fit the bill now and again! 🙂 Have fun with it you guys!

  3. adohrenwend said,

    May 22, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    I can’t tell you how it makes me smile to see how great your stool came out! I don’t think I mentioned it in the original post, but “hashi” is Japanese for bridge. There is a bridge at the imperial palace in downtown Tokyo with the same shape that inspired me to make the pattern for the Hashi Stool, but what’s even cooler is seeing Eli play with it as a bridge in toddler world. Fantastic work!

    • May 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      Thanks so much for providing the inspiration and instructions for this project. It has been a lot of fun. It’s also nice to have that little link to Japan as my brother and his wife are living in Kyoto and I like for Eli to have as things in his life that can serve as conversation points to connect him with them, if that makes any sense the way I just described it!

      • adohrenwend said,

        May 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm

        Yes, makes perfect sense to me. That’s really cool you have a Japan connection, I love Kyoto, it’s such a beautiful city.

  4. May 23, 2012 at 12:55 am

    Hi Karen,
    wow you are amazing, i love what you and lil Eli did with the card board plus it looks sturdy enough, i am planning on doing one for my kid as well.. that is quite amazing.

    It does not matter what you call it, kids have wild imaginations that they tend to use it for every purpose, it can be a bridge, a chair or a horse even. Their imaginations are limitless.

    • May 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm

      I’d love to see the one you make! I agree with your comment about their imaginations. I like toys like this that are simple and can let their imaginations run!

  5. growingslower said,

    May 23, 2012 at 7:49 am

    What a fun project! I can imagine you could make a whole variety of shapes using the same technique. I am looking forward to the day that Baby can help me craft.

    • May 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      Crafting with your little one is so much fun! I waited anxiously for the day to come when we could do this together. I’m glad we can do some things together now. I think I pinned a tutorial that showed how to make a toy guitar using this technique, and then stringing it with rubber bands. I might try that some day as Eli is beyond obsessed with guitars.

  6. May 23, 2012 at 9:09 am

    I could totally see this idea being sold at a kids furniture store! Very creative, Karen and Eli 🙂

    • May 23, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      Thanks… it is actually a lot like a fancy cat scratcher sold at pet stores. I think if (when!) we get cats again it will be shredded before too long.

  7. deedeemallon said,

    May 23, 2012 at 10:43 am

    what fun!!! you are a good mom letting your son get all gluey! don’t forget that. there are plenty of moms out there who wd not!

    • May 23, 2012 at 1:47 pm

      Thank you. 🙂 I figure as long as it will come off with soap and water (and is non-toxic, of course)it’s all fair game. I certainly want to teach my son that if you live fully and actively it can get messy and that isn’t something to be afraid of. In some cases it makes the experience all the more fun!

  8. ReStitch Me said,

    May 23, 2012 at 10:58 am

    That is so cool! Sometimes the simplest things are the best. I’m off to see the original site–thanks for sharing!

    • May 23, 2012 at 1:50 pm

      I’m glad you liked it, Kelley. It seems kids can often play for long periods of time with simple things as they are only limited by their imagination.

  9. Susan Case said,

    May 23, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    I love this. I’m your newest follower from the Polkadot Linky Party. I’m going to pin this on my collaborative Recycle! Kids Activities & Art board. I hope you can visit my blog sometime: Kindergarten & Preschool for Parents & Teachers.

  10. May 23, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    This is a great idea with lots of potential for learning both when constructing but also afterwards – as Eli found with his truck and car.

  11. artclubblog said,

    May 24, 2012 at 7:13 am

    How cool. Some amazing things have been made with cardboard layers, like Frank Gehry’s chairs, and now your bridge/rocker/stool!

    • May 26, 2012 at 8:22 pm

      Very gratifying to read of something I made mentioned in the same sentence as a Frank Gehry creation! (Not that I’ll let it go to my head or anything!) 😉

  12. faerylandmom said,

    May 24, 2012 at 7:39 am

    That is just way too cool…

  13. May 24, 2012 at 11:47 am

    How awesome is that!!! I LOVE cardboard, so many great project possibilities!!

    • May 26, 2012 at 8:24 pm

      Thanks, Karah! I’m looking forward to trying some of the other projects from The Cardboard Collective.

  14. May 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Thank you for stopping by today! I am just amazed how involved Eli is with all your crafts!

    • May 26, 2012 at 8:25 pm

      Eli’s involvement is new to both of us. He’s finally understanding language enough to not just be the proverbial bull in a china shop. We are really enjoying this new stage and will be doing a lot more together!

  15. Anjali said,

    May 24, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Love the jeans and the rocker! Looking forward to reading about your other projects!

  16. twodaloo said,

    May 24, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Can I just say, this is AWESOME! I am definitely putting this on our project list…maybe I can get to it by 2013 😉

  17. Melanie said,

    May 25, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Cool idea!! Thanks for sharing at Things I’ve Done Thursday!

  18. May 25, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    This is awesome! I’m going to make this a project for us to do together 🙂 I subscribed to your blog–I love it!

  19. May 25, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Love this project! It makes so much sense to make something with your little one. That way they treasure it more! I can’t wait til mine is old enough!

    • May 26, 2012 at 8:27 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Grace. It is so much fun to do projects together. Your child will be there before you know it. It’s cliche (especially in the middle of ANOTHER sleepless night!) but they do grow so fast!

  20. May 26, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Too bad they don’t have a love button to press. I am going to make one of these. How fantastic! my kids will love it, and they’re old enough to help in the building too!

  21. Hello Red Balloon said,

    May 28, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Wow, very cool!

  22. May 30, 2012 at 1:49 am

    That is awesome! I must try it!

  23. The Sisters said,

    May 30, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Oh my gosh! This is awesome! So much fun to do with your kids, too! Thanks for sharing your ideas on “Strut Your Stuff Saturday!” We’ll see you next week! -The Sisters

  24. June 1, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    I absolutely love this! My son has some sensory issues and rocking is part of his therapy. I need to go scour my neighborhood on recycling day so I can score some cardboar and make one of these. Thanks for linking up and I am featuring you tonight!

    • June 9, 2012 at 7:43 am

      I’m sorry I never responded to this comment. It got caught in my spam folder. I did discover the feature when I showed up to link up at your party. Thanks again! I’d love to see how your rocker turns out!

  25. June 1, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    […] have a great upcycle brought to you from Folk Haven. Create a rocker/bridge/stool/tunnel out of discarded cardboard boxes!My son has some sensory […]

  26. Decemberbaby said,

    June 12, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Oh, that’s way cool. I bet you could sew a cover for it out of some nice kids’ fabric if you wanted to, and even add a layer of batting to soften the edges (although really, it’s cardboard. not exactly razor-sharp.)

    • June 13, 2012 at 7:52 am

      That’s a good idea that hadn’t occurred to me. I’ve got the paper on it changed now, so I think I’ll leave it as is, but I’ll remember your idea. Especially if I were to have a crawling baby exploring it a cloth cover could make a lot of sense. Also, as far a decoration mod podging fabric I really like (such as some you used in your giraffe quilt!) should have been something I considered.

  27. godgirlgail said,

    June 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Fun Fun Fun project! Thanks for sharing.

  28. pinkbluebird said,

    June 22, 2012 at 12:21 am

    hi Karen, love this post and have pressed this on my blog (if thats ok) – – looking forward to more.

  29. June 25, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    […] to general clutter. And I’m making an attempt to make many of his new toys myself. (Also here and here.) For those that we buy, I’m being more conscious in making decisions in favor of […]

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