We took part in a cardboard workshop over the school holiday, at the brilliant Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. I can't recommend this idea enough; an enormous stack of cardboard, enough rolls of tape to sink a small boat, and some eager participants. Here are the results:

The best part was, no glue and no staples. All I had to do was tear off endless strips of cellotape for the young engineers. Easy.

This is Sonny's school bus.

And an eye-catching masking tape mural; simple and flexible.



Inspired by the eye masks I made recently (post coming soon), the boys set about designing their own eyewear.

Children can make dress-up glasses from a single layer of felt; either hand-felted wool or acrylic craft felt (this is plenty good enough and comes in a wide range of colours including neons). Help them to draw around a pair of glasses on a piece of paper. Once they have the basic shape they can add wings/lightening strikes/eyelashes to make a more exciting silhouette. When they're happy with the design it can be cut out to create their template. Pin this to the felt and help them to cut the fabric around it. Poke a small hole through the finished specs on either side, and thread a length of elastic through. Tie both ends firmly and you're done.

Or they can make them out of cardboard instead, using the same method as above, which is what we did. Logan's Elton John c.1974 spectacles were particularly successful. 



My eldest son has developed a serious preoccupation with Harry Potter. He's up to book 4 and lives, sleeps and breathes the adventures of his 13-year-old heroes, so for his 8th birthday last weekend, I decided to make him a wizarding trunk.

The first step was to find the right kind of trunk. After a bit of research (and finding lots of cases selling for $70 - $180) I managed to get an old wooden one on ebay for $30 (£20).

The structure was sound, but the trunk required a bit of cosmetic tlc; I loved the battered exterior, but needed to re-do the inside, with a Gryffindor colour scheme of maroon and gold. I ripped out the loose areas of lining paper, mainly around the corners and edges, then sanded the remaining interior to give me a surface I could paint to good effect.

For the paint, I wanted a small quantity of hardwearing paint in specific colours, so I had low-sheen sample pots of emulsion mixed up at the DIY shop. Cheap too!

While the gold base coat was drying, I cut out the sponge stamps (using a washing-up sponge) for printing the check and diamond repeat patterns. The actual stamping part was very quick, taking less than an hour to print the whole interior, including awkward corners and touch-ups.

The final stage was glueing on the paper luggage labels. The most fantastic find were these Harry Potter posters by designer and illustrator Caroline Hadilaksono. Such an amazing talent; these posters are hand drawn and painted in gouache, and when printed out on a smaller scale they make perfect Hogwarts travel stickers. Here's where I found the Hogwarts crest, created by an avid fan (scroll down to find printable version). Here is one of the quidditch badges, and here's the other, plus the Gryffindor shield I pasted to the inside of the lid. I PVA'd the labels on the back and smoothed them down onto the trunk, lightly painting the right side with glue too, to stop the ink bleeding.

Here is the finished trunk, complete with Harry Potter costume sent over from England by devoted grandparents, and magical accessories and books procured from local charity (op) shops in Sydney.

A very happy customer.