Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Easter Shadow Box

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I bought my daughter the Melissa and Doug Pasture Pals toy many years ago. I still find the horses floating around the house on occasion but she never spent too much time playing with this toy. I have been looking at the box, which is wooden and has 12 compartments, thinking it would make a great shadow box. I finally decided to make a shadow box for Easter. The idea is that this is the place the bunnies live and work on the eggs. I used a combination of dollhouse accessories and hand made items to make up the house.  I have to say that every child who has walked into my house in the past week has been absolutely thrilled by this box and immediately demand that they be allowed to make their own diorama. 
I will go room by room and tell you what I included in my little workshop.

Here is what the box looked like originally. We painted the wood green and attached shingles across the top. I used dollhouse shingles and glued them on in layers. It is a little tricky at the corners because when you cut the shingles with scissors they splinter but I thought a rustic look was OK for the bunny house. 
I used strips of balsa wood to cover the edges of the walls. I just snipped them to the right length and glued them on with craft glue. The green paint shows underneath sometimes but I think it looks good.

I picked 4 different decorative papers that I think go well together and wallpapered the rooms with squares of paper.
Some rooms are carpeted with felt. The workshops have newsprint on the floor, and the first floor has burlap.
Top left corner room:
Dining room
This has a table I made out of a thimble and square of cardboard. The seats are two tiny wooden blocks from the Dollar Store. I purchased the cake at a dollhouse store.
Top row, second from left:
Reading room.
I made a simple bench using a Popsicle stick and wooden blocks and glued some little books on top of it.

Top row, second from right:
Game room
  I made a simple table using spools and plywood. I set up a card house using cards from a dollhouse store, glued on with tweezers to arrange the cards. I thought it was funny to imagine the bunnies making card houses in their spare time.

Top row, right corner:
I made a simple bunk bed out of craft sticks and painted it.
The key to cutting craft sticks without good tools is to score it a lot with an x-acto knife, then hold it in pliers when you snap it, The pliers seem to keep it from splintering. I made some pretty nice clean cuts for this project using this technique.

Middle Row, far left room
Egg storage room
 I made a crate by stacking and gluing balsa wood strips and used actual Easter candy to represent the unpainted eggs. It would have been better to make some out of polymer clay but the eggs I made looked really bad and the small jelly beans and chocolate eggs look good. You can just replace them each year. I tacked mine down using craft dots which hold stuff in place enough to keep everything from falling out, but are easily removable.
Middle row, second from left
Egg decorating room
This room was the most fun. I had some tiny glass apothecary jars which I filled with glitter. I made a table using a glass slide glued onto thimbles. If you are wondering where I find all these tiny thimbles, the Dollar Stores usually have bags of them in their sewing kit area. They are colorful and inexpensive and useful.
I made the paintbrushes by snipping a pointy toothpick in half and painting most of it brown. The tip is black and there is a band of silver around it.
The colored pencils are also made from pointy toothpicks, I painted them various colors and tried to emulate the zigzag created by a pencil sharpener. I put a glass bead on the table to show that they have a work-in-progress.
Middle row, second from right
Egg drying room
I made a shelf using yet another craft stick and arranged some foil-wrapped eggs and some colorful egg-shaped beads to show their work is drying and nearly ready to be packed up in baskets.
Middle row, far right side
I made baskets by wrapping soda pop lids with felt and trim and put some Easter grass and eggs inside.
Bottom row, far left side
Croquet set. I bought this. I think of the ground floor as their play and outdoors area.
Bottom row, second from left
Dollhouse chair
Bottom row, second from right
Teeter totter. I made this with a craft stick and some strips of plywood and have it balanced on a chocolate egg.
Bottom row, far right side
Gardening room
I have here some garden tools hung on the wall and a basket of fruit and veggies from the bunny's garden. 
I would say the ground floor could stand some improvement, upon writing up this post. But overall it is a pretty cute Easter decoration and best of all can be packed up for next year without taking up a ton of space.
If you want to make some cute clay bunnies to go in the house, here is a tutorial from last week.


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