Charles and Ray Eames designed their House of Cards in 1952 to celebrate “familiar and nostalgic objects from the animal, mineral and vegetable kingdoms.” We decided to make our own version, with some help from Todd Oldham’s Kid Made Modern, my favorite kids craft book (see previous crafts from the book here and here).
- Ruler + pencil
- Paint, stickers, paper, etc. for decorating
The version in Kid Made Modern is to build a Fort of Cards out of 18″ square pieces of cardboard. I decided to scale the project down to 6″ square cards (though I love a good fort!).
What you need to know is below – it’s very simple:
1. Cut out cardboard squares, all the same size. You can use old boxes, but for a couple of bucks, I bought one of those big pieces of cardboard you use for school presentations. I used a rotary cutter and a cutting mat to make the cutting easy.
2. Measure and make a mark in the middle of each side of your square; at the mark, draw a line about an inch long in toward the middle of the square. Use scissors to make notches along these lines on all four sides of the square.
You can do this for one square and then use it as a template for all the others, rather than measuring every square.
3. Decorate your squares with whatever supplies sound fun and look pretty. We used paint, stickers, glitter, markers and an old Snow & Graham desk calendar (I knew I’d find a use for it!).
(Incidentally, you can do steps 2 and 3 in reverse order, if you want to decorate first, then cut notches later).
4. Build to your heart’s content.
If you want to interpret Eames’ House of Cards a little more closely, you could take photos of everyday objects around your house and yard, and mount them on cardboard. Or you could cut photos from magazines and decoupage them onto cardboard.
If I were going to make these again, I think I would cut the cards to resemble the Eames’ design, including the 6 notches, which offer more interesting building possibilities.