Here is a fun way to create a fairy tale world filled with castles and gnome homes built from recyclables. This project is adapted from the San Antonio Parks and Recreation’s “Quick Crafts Cardboard Castles and Gnome Homes” lesson taught by educator David Jimenez in a video on the City of San Antonio YouTube channel.
What you need
Hot glue, tape, white glue, scissors, construction paper, cardboard scraps, markers, pencils, cardboard tubes from toilet paper, paper towel or wrapping npaper rolls, recycled disposable cups, bowls and plates.
What to do
First, play around with the recycled materials, stacking bowls on cups or cups on tubes, to discover shapes that will work for your gnome home and castle construction. Let your imagination soar by combining materials to create new shapes.
A small disposable bowl glued to the top of a paper cup, for example, becomes a mushroom-shaped gnome home.
You also can create cones from construction paper to make a pointed roof for a toilet paper tube tower.
Place a a small bowl with the rim facing down onto a piece of construction paper and trace a circle around the bowl with a pencil. Once done, cut the shape out. Try making circles with different diameters, using bowls and cups of various sizes.
Using a ruler, draw a line across the center of the paper circle. Measure the length of the line. Divide the resulting number by two. Using a pencil, mark the halfway point determined by your calculation with a dot. Cut along the line, stopping at the dot.
Next, overlap the cut edges of the circle to form a cone shape. Use glue or tape to secure the shape. Place the cone on top of a disposable cup or cardboard toilet paper tube to create a gnome home.
Now it’s time to create a castle. You’ll need cardboard and cardboard tubes to make the walls — make sure that the tubes are taller than the cardboard you are using to make the walls.
Cut four rectangular walls of equal height out of cardboard (walls opposite each other should be the same length, too.) Castle walls often have a pattern of rectangular notches across the top, where archers can fire their arrows; add those, too, if you want.
You can join the walls using four paper towel tubes. Starting at the bottom, cut two slits in each tube 90 degrees apart that are the same length as the castle walls’ height.
Using four paper towel rolls, cut a single slit from the bottom to the top of each roll up to the castle walls’ height. Slide the tubes onto the castles’ four corners using the slits you cut.
Make as many structures as you want to complete your vision. Using hot glue is the fastest way to see your creation come to life, but if you don’t mind the drying time, white glue also gets the job done. When the glue is dry, use markers to decorate your