Material Required for Making a Little Cottage: one shoe-box with its cover, a twelve-inch square of cardboard, three small boxes, and a bit of glacine paper to make window-glass.
Here is the little Cottage of Boxville. I think The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe might better have chosen to live in a shoe-box like this than to have made her home in an old boot! The cottage certainly seems cozy, and far more comfortable than a shoe would be. I know that her children would have preferred a dwelling like this. I am sure you like it better yourself, so I am going to tell you how you may build one just like it.
Find a shoe-box and take its cover off. Set the box upon its side with the bottom of the box facing you. This is to be the front of the cottage.
Upon the front you will need to draw two windows and a door. Take your ruler and a pencil. Measure a window space two inches from either end of the box. Make each window space two inches wide and two inches high. Half-way between these, draw a door space with its base at the base of the box. Make the door space two inches wide and three inches and a half tall.
Down the center of each window space from top to base of the square, draw a line which divides it into half. This forms the window-blinds, which you will need to cut open. (To make window with blinds, see Diagram One, B, page 166.) Cut top line. Cut down the center line and cut across the base of the square. Fold the sections of cardboard outward against the sides of your box, and you will have made a window with blinds.
Half-way between windows is the door space. (To cut door, see Diagram Two, A, page 167.) Cut across the top line of your square, down one side and across the base. Fold the cardboard outward, and you will have made a door that you can open and close at will.
If you happen to have a round-headed paper-fastener that has two pointed prongs that are meant to press through papers to keep them together, take it and press its prongs through the little door where a door-knob should be. Bend the prongs together to one side and you will have a door-latch. By turning the round knob, you may fasten the door or open it, as you like.
The roof of the cottage is supported upon two pieces of cardboard cut to fit each end of the box. (See Diagram Three, A, page 168.) To make these, take your cardboard and cut a piece the width of one end of your box and four inches higher. Make a second piece of cardboard like it to fit the other end of your box. Glue both on the box, one on each end. Then, with scissors, cut each piece off diagonally downward from the top at the rear of the box to the front of the box. This cuts off a corner and makes a sloping rest for each end of the cottage. Upon these the cover of the shoe-box is slipped to make half of a sloping roof. (See Diagram Three, AA, page 168, showing box cover placed upon side-wall pieces.)
Slip your box cover over the two points, when both are thoroughly dry. See, it makes the best kind of a roof for your cottage!
If you wish to add a chimney, any long, narrow box that is small enough to form the right proportion to the roof may be used. Measure its base upon the cottage roof near the top. Cut the cardboard of the roof so that the box end may be slipped through it and stand erect, and you have a chimney. If you use a box which has a sliding cover like a drawer, its outside will be like a real little chimney. You may mark off bricks upon it with a pencil, and color it bright red. A wad of cotton will form the smoke for a chimney.
I painted blinds and door of the cottage that you see in the picture. Blinds were green and the door was brown. You may use almost any kind of paint to do this. The colors from your water-color paint-ing-box will answer. You may use crayons too, if you like. Other paint takes somewhat longer dry. It is not so well adapted to the building.
In front of my cottage, I made a garden with some artificial flowers that had once been on my summer hat in a wreath. You may easily make a garden for your cottage, or you may have tubs of flowers like the one in the picture. It is the lower half of a pill-box filled with forget-me-nots.
The cottage is furnished with furniture cut from small boxes. These may be three inches long or smaller. My furniture is all painted, but you need not paint yours unless you care to do so.
The bed is made from a box and its cover. To make it, first take the lower half of your box and turn it over so that its rims are below instead of on top. At each corner cut a leg for the bed, and remove card-board from between these cuttings, so that it leaves at each corner of the rim a two-sided leg. (To cut bench form, see Diagram Six, A, page 175.) When you have cut this lower half of the bed, take the cover of your box and turn it so that its rims come upward instead of downward. Remove the rims from each long side, and you will have left the head and footboard of the bed. Glue this piece to the lower half you first cut, and the bed will be finished. Sheets and pillow may be cut from tissue or lace paper.
A chair is made from the lower half of any small box. Beginning at the center of one long rim of the box, cut the rim off half-way around. The part with rim removed will be the back of the chair. The other will be the seat and legs. Legs are cut to right and left of each forward corner. Cardboard is evenly removed from between them. Rear legs are cut in each rim at the side of the box in the same way, except that these rear legs have but one cut needed. They are not cornered as the front legs are. (For cutting a chair, see Diagram Six, C, page 177.)
A table for the cottage is made from a spool by standing the spool on end. Over its top is placed the half of a small round box. (A square box cover may answer quite as well.) The table may be made from an ordinary spool, or two twist spools glued end to end. (For table, see Diagram Six, DD, page 178.)
A mantel with fireplace for the cottage may be cut from a small box three inches high. Stand the box on end and cut from its rear, near the base, an opening like that of a fireplace. (For cutting a mantel with fireplace, see Diagram Six, G, page 180.) Use the back of the box, as it has no printing upon it. If your box is painted, it will not matter whether or not you make your cutting in the front, as the print will not show when cleverly painted over.
In my cottage there lived a tumble toy lady. Her name was Polly Ann. You can see her in the picture with her china dog. You may use roly-poly tumble toys or penny dolls to play with in the cottage. Figures cut from magazine pictures are fun to use, too. Color them with your paints or crayons.
Besides tumble toys, Noah's Ark figures, and picture people cut from magazines, villagers for Box-ville cottages may be found at any penny store where children trade. These are small dressed dolls, one cent apiece!
In candy shops where party favors are sold, all manner of small figures may be bought. These are odd little men or women - just the very ones to use in playing Boxville plays. At every holiday season, new ones appear! You can always find them.
I built a tiny cottage with two windows and a door, I called it Boxville Cottage and I placed it on the floor: All 'round about my cottage, a cardboard village grew - I'll tell you how to make it, so that you can make one too!