Make a Collapsible Playhouse

Make a collapsible playhouse out of cardboard, foamboard, or masoniteWhat is it about cardboard and wrapping paper that is so bewitching to a kiddo? I remember forsaking all other toys any time a big ol' cardboard box entered my childhood home. If you had given me the choice of a fort made of cardboard and duct tape versus one of those Fisher Price playhouses, I would have chosen the shoddily assembled cardboard version every time.

Recently I've noticed the same tendencies in my own child. I've been saving recycled toy ideas to make for Lucy on my Kiddo Activities and Kiddo Pinterest boards, arming myself with project ideas to encourage this make-do mentality in her play some day soon. I can't wait until she's ready for scissors and glue, but in the meantime, I thought she'd really enjoy a Mama-made playhouse—and boy, did she ever!

Make a collapsible playhouse out of cardboard, foamboard, or masoniteWe don't have lots of space in our home, so I knew I wanted the playhouse to be easily disassembled and stored behind our big dining room cabinet when not in use. Originally I was thinking I'd use tempered masonite because it's inexpensive, thin, and lightweight. But in the end, I decided foam board would be the quickest/easiest material to work with since all I needed to cut it was my trusty X-Acto blade. A foam board playhouse certainly won't last forever, but if Lucy plays with it often enough, I'll definitely consider using these pieces as a template for a masonite version that she can use outside too.

Is this playhouse recycled? Well, no, it's not. But it sure was cheap and lots of fun for both Lucy and me, so I'd say it's a big win!

Playhouse Building PlansI drew out the measurements I used so you can make your own cardboard playhouse without all the guess work. (Click to print.) But if you are working with smaller pieces of cardboard or an actual box, why not come up with your own design?

Make a collapsible playhouse out of cardboard, foamboard, or masoniteIt's very helpful to have a t-square when marking out the measurements for each panel of the house so you don't have to measure down from each side of the board to get straight lines. I also don't recommend using a marker as I did, but I wanted the photos to show the lines clearly. I'd use a pencil instead so your lines won't be visible if they don't all get cut away.

Make a collapsible playhouse out of cardboard, foamboard, or masoniteI used household objects as guides for the round shapes in the playhouse like the window, the arched doorway, and the doorknob. After cutting out the door, you'll want to cut away a little extra around it so that it will easily open without getting stuck inside the opening where you cut it from.

Make a collapsible playhouse out of cardboard, foamboard, or masoniteOnce all of your pieces are cut out, you're ready to slide it all together! I was able to assemble the entire house without any assistance, though it would have been nice to have some help standing up the two sides of the house while I slipped on the front or back panel.

Make a collapsible playhouse out of cardboard, foamboard, or masoniteMake a collapsible playhouse out of cardboard, foamboard, or masoniteI used white duct tape as a door hinge, but I recommend using duct tape to wrap where you will be taping first, so if the door pulls in the wrong direction (which it will if kids are using it), the tape of the hinge won't pull the outer layer off the foamboard.

Make a collapsible playhouse out of cardboard, foamboard, or masoniteMake a collapsible playhouse out of cardboard, foamboard, or masoniteI think Lucy's favorite part of the playhouse has been filling it with all of her toys, and then throwing them out the window and into a basket she has placed outside the house. Her poor Teddy sure has been through a lot since I built the house! But at least I can testify to the fact that my toddler is quite the baller. 

Make a collapsible playhouse out of cardboard, foamboard, or masoniteWe loved the simple white style of the playhouse, but decided to jazz it up a little bit with the addition of paint, gingerbreading, shingles, and a little more detail drew on with a Sharpie paint pen. There are so many ways you can go with this—it's really a lot of fun!

I used this pink floral spray paint for the gingerbreading and door, and used a regular brown spray paint (I believe Rustoleum brand?) for the shingles. I used hot glue to hold the shingles in place and rubber cement for the gingerbreading.

Make a collapsible playhouse out of cardboard, foamboard, or masonitePart of the appeal of a white foam board playhouse is that you can decorate it however you want! I plan on getting inside there with Lucy and some magic markers and letting her interior design the joint to her heart's content. -Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Stella and Valentine from the Signature Collection and Pearl from the Fresh Collection.

ABM Studio: The Styling Room

ABM prop storage and meeting roomHere's one more fun space from the ABM studios that we wanted to share with you guys. We call this room the styling room, but we really use it for a whole bunch of different things. We store lots of styling props in here as well as miscellaneous kitchen gear that doesn't fit in our kitchen. If you would've told me two or three years ago that (1) I wouldn't be shooting everything in my own kitchen, and (2) would have a whole wall of cute props to choose from for my recipe photos, I would've laughed in your face! So I have to admit this room is a little slice of dreams coming true. Not to get all gushy, but thank you guys so much for making this possible for us.

Annnyway, we also use this room to have meetings, phone conferences or just for another work space if some privacy or silence is needed.

You want to see how this room started out????

The styling room beforeOh yes, that is a chimney that leads to nowhere. Old houses are always full of funny little add-ons or stories from things that once were. Apparently this house had a fireplace at some point, but it doesn't anymore. We did add our own faux fireplace though.

The biggest surprise in this room was underneath the carpets. We found asbestos tiles, many of which were cracked or in disrepair. We had those professionally removed and had (laminate) hardwood floors installed. 

We also painted almost everything black. If you want to see more "before" pictures click here

ABM prop storage and meeting room    Here's what the room looks like currently. I love the drama the all-black walls and ceiling add to the space. Sort of reminds me of my living room. Josh built the custom shelves to organize our styling supplies. And we added this small table and four chairs to the center for anyone to use when they are utilizing the room. 

This room is located directly above the kitchen, so it's a quick walk up the stairs to grab items I need when I'm cooking.

ABM meeting room  ABM prop storage and meeting room       ABM meeting roomABM prop storage and meeting room     ABM prop storage and meeting room      ABM meeting room To the far right in the above photo you can see the enclosure around the stairwell. Keeps us from falling. Also we keep meaning to paint that stairwell rainbow... Should we do it? It's white currently, and it's hard to keep clean.

ABM prop storage and meeting room  ABM prop storage and meeting room ABM meeting room    This room leads directly into our two office areas. Even though this room was originally a bedroom, we are thankful for the extra storage space and a quiet spot for phone calls to happen. Thanks for letting me share! xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman, Photography: Janae Hardy. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions. Source: Table and Chairs/Amazon, Rug/West Elm, Light Fixture/DIY.

Winter Basics Dreaming

Chicwish wish list2The cold weather is in full force here in my hometown. And it's got me in the mood to give my wardrobe a little makeover, so we teamed up with our old friends at ChicWish to put together a little wish list for the changing seasons. I'm on the lookout for cozy sweaters, longer (but still cute) skirts and cool-girl boots. You know about cool-girl boots? It's a thing. You don't even have to be a cool girl to get some (thank goodness!). I am obsessed with matching basics with a few fun pops of color or patterns. I eventually want to be that woman who has a closet full of clothes that all match each other and all fit her perfectly. I've cleaned out my closet. I'm working on identifying staples I'm missing (or if I have one that doesn't fit well anymore). I'm thinking about trying out some version of the whole capsule collection thing in 2015. Which is just around the corner-can you believe it!? So, finding the perfect mix and match basics is high on my priority list this season. xo Emma

Emma's Wish List: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14

track

PVC Wall Planter DIY

Wall planter (made from pvc pipe, can  you believe it?) click to learn how to make it   Ideas for DIYs can come from a myriad of different sources: sometimes I make things I want but can't afford, things I need but can't find, or in this case, something I can afford and find but that happens to be sold out. Grrrrrr. I wanted to get these really interesting wall planters for the studio living room from West Elm, but they were sold out and therefore unavailable for my decorating purposes. The lack of ready-made wall planters sent me searching for a DIY way to get those green leafy guys up on the wall. So I made a few sketches and recruited Josh to implement the plan. -Laura

Hey guys, Josh here. Laura and I put our heads together for this one. We initially made the planters out of bent acrylic sheets (instead of PVC pipe). They looked awesome! But right when we were about to hang them, the acrylic started cracking open :/ So we had to rethink the material situation. This is what we came up with.

Supplies:
-8-10" PVC pipe (length depends on how many planter you plan on making) Try going to to your local plumbing supply store and asking if they have a damage pile you can look through. I got our pipe for free! Never hurts to ask.

-wood board (width and length depends on the size of pipe and number of planters you make)
-wood and super glue
-saw tooth picture hanger(s)
-plants/planting soil/planter pebbles

Tools:
-jig saw
-straight edge
-Sharpie
-hand or miter saw
-drill
-clamp

Wall planter (made from pvc pipe, can  you believe it?) click to learn how to make it                     Wall planter (made from pvc pipe, can  you believe it?) click to learn how to make it                     Wall planter (made from pvc pipe, can  you believe it?) click to learn how to make it                     Wall planter (made from pvc pipe, can  you believe it?) click to learn how to make it                     Step One:  This step basically involves making three cuts. Take your straight edge and Sharpie and make a line straight down the pipe lengthwise. Then do the same on the opposite side (the first cut is cutting the pipe in half lengthwise). Depending on the size of pipe, you may not have to cut all the way through, just cut enough for your planter size. The planters we made are about 8.5" high (I used an 8" pipe).

After I cut the pipe in half, I made a cross cut. I had to drill a hole so I could get the jig saw blade started. To make the line for the second cut was a two person job. I measured up 8.5", then slowly rotated the pipe while Laura held a Sharpie against the pipe, making a line around the circumference. If you don't have a helping hand, you could clamp the Sharpie onto a table (facing out) and rotate the pipe against it. Or maybe there's an even easier way that we didn't think of...

After I had all the halfsies cut out, I spray painted them white to prime them.

Wall planter (made from pvc pipe, can  you believe it?) click to learn how to make it        Wall planter (made from pvc pipe, can  you believe it?) click to learn how to make it                                   Wall planter (made from pvc pipe, can  you believe it?) click to learn how to make it                                   Wall planter (made from pvc pipe, can  you believe it?) click to learn how to make it                                   Wall planter (made from pvc pipe, can  you believe it?) click to learn how to make it                                   Step Two: This step only requires a couple of cuts! The base is comprised of two pieces of wood. I made the back piece 10" x 12" and the bottom piece 10" x 5". These measurements make the edge stick out about an 1". You can make it any size your heart desires. After I had the two pieces cut and attached to each other, I traced the centered half pipe, then applied the super glue to the edges and pressed it against the two surfaces. I clamped the half pipe down. Be careful not to clamp too hard, or it will push the edges of the pipe out, and it'll be all distorted and wonky and dumb looking. After the glue dried, we painted each planter and installed the hangers on the back. Then it was time to plant!

Note: As an afterthought, I decided to round the bottom ledge so it matched the curve of the half pipe. I did it with a jig saw, and it was a bit of a hassle since it was already attached. You may just want to leave the bottom square, but if you do want it curved, then cut it before you attach to the back! 

Wall planter (made from pvc pipe, can  you believe it?) click to learn how to make it                                   Wall planter (made from pvc pipe, can  you believe it?) click to learn how to make it            Laura picked out the plants because she's good at that stuff. She chose plants that would hang over the edge as well as went with the colors we painted the planters. When you are choosing your plants, take into account the amount of light that will be in your space. Different plants require different amounts of light. The little tag on the plant usually indicates the amount of light the plant needs. The planters aren't very big, so take the size into account as well when you go plant shopping. When we planted, I put in a couple of inches of pebbles for drainage, then transplanted the little guys into their new homes. 

Wall planter (made from pvc pipe, can  you believe it?) click to learn how to make it            Wall planter (made from pvc pipe, can  you believe it?) click to learn how to make it            Wall planter (made from pvc pipe, can  you believe it?) click to learn how to make it            Wall planter (made from pvc pipe, can  you believe it?) click to learn how to make it             That's it! We hung the plants in the the office living room. The hardest part of this project is remembering to water :)  - Josh

 Author: Joshua Rhodes. Photos by Laura Gummerman and Sarah Rhodes. Photo edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

The Shop

Check out our Photoshop Actions, E-Courses, Workshops and Crash Courses!

Browse by Category