Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Made: The wheels on the bus

Lil J loves his vehicles. In particular, he is obsessed with the song "The wheels on the bus", and has verses of the song down pat. He also loves the colour yellow. So when his birthday drew near, we decided that we would make him a yellow bus out of cardboard for his birthday present. 

Junior J wanted to paint the bus yellow, but the yellow poster paint didn't show up very well when applied directly on the box. I contemplated just buying yellow paper, and wrapping the whole box (which seemed like the most effective way to go about it), but the boy had his heart set on painting the bus for his lil brother, so we ended up wrapping the box up with masking tape and painting on that instead. 

Lengths of masking tape and oodles of yellow paint later, we added another smaller box in front, and cut the grilles and lights out of cardboard and wrapped them in aluminum foil: 

The hubs helped with all the cutting for the windows (we had two with flaps so they could open and close), and reinforced the insides with more cardboard so that the whole thing didn't collapse. Then I used black insulating tape and duct tape for the window borders (and to "seal" the edges of the windows), and blue disposable plates secured with Makedo clips for the wheels (we couldn't find any black plates!).

For the dashboard inside, I drew in a fuel gauge and tachometer (I was clueless about all the meters, so I actually had to google the components of the dashboard!)...

... as well as a speedometer and odometer. The needles were just secured using craft brads from Daiso.

The steering wheel was just a disposable plate, secured again with a Makedo clip. I admit, I was contemplating adding a gear stick, but trying to figure out the mechanics of using cardboard to make one escaped me, and I thought the kids would probably ruin that quite quickly!

For the back of the bus, we just added rear lights and I couldn't resist a little license plate. And I added wipers (so Lil J could do his "wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish" thing):

And of course, before you own a vehicle, you had better bring it for a test drive. So how did it fare?

Lil J loved it. He'd sit inside and fiddle with the dashboard, and scoot along his bottom dragging the bus along with him (its too heavy for him to lift from the sides), and pretend to beep the horn (I tried looking for a squeaky toy for the horn, but couldn't find anything suitable!). The kids all squished inside it during his birthday party. There was always one kid or another driving this about. 

It was a tight squeeze for three, and quite cramped if you have two kids sitting inside, but it's just nice for two kids to stand inside. All in all, I think the bus passes the little boy's vehicle inspection!

PS: I think we have this strange obsession with working with cardboard boxes. Click on the links to view our cardboard play kitchen and fridge!


  1. Cool! Such a bright cherry bus :)

  2. So this is the big project! I really paid off coz it looks great! I've been planning to make one for Sophie for the longest time and have yet to get started. This is a good tutorial. Hope it gives little J lots of fun time.

  3. Really really cute bus, Jus! Love the details!

  4. What a bright and cheerful bus! It's really a lot of work but seeing the smiles on the children's faces, I guess it's all worth it! :)

  5. Your cardboard creations are always fabulous!

  6. Super cute! How long did it take you and J to make it! I had a lovely little box from an Iherb order that I'd been saving to make a fire truck for Calla but it was just sitting around then I junked it :( Our old fire truck lasted a year till it too got sent to the recycling bin. Now Poppy is still asking for it. Maybe one day....

  7. Wow, this is SO BEAUTIFUL! I love the details on the dashboard. Can't believe you painstakingly wrapped the whole box in masking tape - brilliant idea, though.

  8. I love the yellow! You guys really painted it well, and J is so sweet to have wanted to paint it for his lil bro.

  9. Justina, what paint do you use to paint the cardboard usually? I want to made a postbox but not sure what paint i should use. Acrylic? the box is in white so i guess is easier. If on those tape you made here, what paint it is? thanks :) Eve



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