This is a fun animal craft that uses mostly recycled materials which you can easily find at home. If you don’t have any thick paint, such as acrylic, available, you can use any material you like. In the photos you can see me making this craft with my daughter at home, as well as some of the many different dogs and cats we made together in my Storycraft classes. These instructions are just a starting point, and you can make your dog and cat as quirky and characterful as you like! One of my favourite sayings at Storycraft is: “You can turn a box into anything!” See the “Alternatives” list for a few other suggestions. Why not combine this craft with reading a great animal story? Some of our favourites are the brilliant Tabby McTat by Julia Donaldson or Oi Frog and Oi Dog by Kes Gray.
You will need:
- Two small cardboard boxes – one for the dog and one for the cat
- A bit of thick cardboard, e.g., from a box
- Paint – preferably acrylic or thick kid’s paint like gouache (or see “Alternatives”)
- Black marker pen
- A ribbon or washi tape
- Glue or masking tape (NB: A hot glue gun is useful, but you can make this craft using masking tape and a glue stick instead)
- Optional: bell, sequins, buttons, googly eyes and other marker pens to decorate
1.Draw and cut some ears to fit your boxes from the bit of cardboard. Tip: Cut out one first and draw round it to get the same size!
2. Stick on your ears using hot glue or masking tape. You can fold a small flap at the bottom of your dog ears to help them attach. We did long ears for our dog and small triangles for our cat but you can do whatever shape you want.
3. Draw and cut out a mouth in the box if you want to. We did a cut-out mouth for our dog.
4. Cut out a long tongue for your dog. Bend the cardboard to make it curly and fold a small flap at the end to help it attach.
5. Paint your two boxes and your tongue separately. We chose to use fluorescent paints for this project, but you can use any colour. Consider painting another colour under your dog ears or adding pink triangles inside your cat ears. Tip: Cover any writing on the box with masking tape to make it easier to paint over. If your box has a shiny surface or you are not using thick paint then cover the whole box with masking tape first so that the paint does not flake off when dry.
6. When your paint has dried, attach the tongue to the back of the dog box using hot glue or masking tape.
7. When dry, you can add the eyes, noses, mouth and whiskers using a black marker pen or whatever colours you have available at home. Alternatively you can stick on googly eyes and a button for a nose.
8. Stick on a collar using a strip of ribbon or washi tape.
9. You might like to stick on more decorations, such as a little bell or sequin underneath the collar or a ribbon tail.
- Don’t have any thick paint? You can use anything to cover or decorate your box. You could even glue toilet paper around it or cotton wool to create a white fluffy dog!
- Why not try making other animals? For example, a bunny box with long cardboard ears or a piggy box, by sticking and painting a small paper circle or lid on the front of the box. You could make a whole menagerie of animals, monsters, or even people — try making your family out of boxes and adding wool hair!
- You could use other recycled materials in the house, e.g., lids and corks to create interesting features, noses, and ears.
- You could add spots using a cork stamp or stripes to your creations using masking tape.
- Why not turn your box into a piggy bank, with a slot cut in the top to put your money in and the box opening at the bottom?
Article and photos by Lemady Rochard
Lemady Rochard is an artist and illustrator living near Einsiedeln. She runs uthe Storycraft Studio near Zurich, where she offers themed art and craft classes and parties for children from 1.5-10 years. She has two young children and in her spare time enjoys travelling and drinking lots of tea! She can also be found on her website and Facebook page.