This year Minnow had a great idea for his valentine box. He came up with the concept on his own but we had to do quite a bit of sawing and cutting for him. It was a little labor intensive but inexpensive and a lot of fun. Plus, Lifeguard Dad really got into this with Minnow so there was some great daddy/son time which was a bonus. Here’s how we did it:
We received a shipment of books recently from Amazon.com. We used the box as the frame for the monster truck. There was a little box carving with an exacto knife and lots of duct tape. We worked it until the shape of the truck was perfect. Use your imagination! We did this per Minnow’s specifications which were roughly based on the Grave Digger.
We continued using the exacto knife to cut out the windows. First, we drew them on, then cut it out.
After debating on the best way to go about working on the wheels, Minnow came up with the answer. We save a lot of materials to use in art projects. What homeschool family doesn’t? So, we had a bunch of coffee cans lying about. He suggested using them and though on their own they were a bit large, half of one was perfect. We have the paper type of coffee can so they were easily sawed in half.
Back to the frame of the truck. Minnow wanted a blue truck and it so happened we had some blue wrapping paper. Perfect! The box was wrapped with Minnow having a field day with the tape. The windows were cut out and taped back so the entire surface of the truck was covered in blue paper.
On to the wheels. The first thing that was done was to cover the front of the wheels. Using the cut coffee can, trace it onto a piece of black construction paper. Create a slightly larger circle around that and cut it out on the larger circle. Cut strips into the paper, from the outer edge toward the smaller circle all around the paper. This will give you a series of little strips that will make it easier to affix the circle onto the wheel. Fold the flaps around the wheel and tape it down. You could use glue if you want. Tape was easier and it won’t be seen. The result is a nice, neat circle.
Next, cut strips of black construction paper to the width of your coffee can. We had to use two strips to fit around the can. Then, make chevrons with a black marker to simulate tread on the tire. Minnow had fun doing this part. Then, tape the strips around the coffee can. Voila! You now have a wheel. Repeat three more times and…Voila! all four wheels. We used a dowel we had in the garage and duct taped two wheels to it at the desired width for where we wanted the wheels to be in comparison to the truck frame. Easy peasy.
We duct taped the dowels to the bottom side of the truck to affix both sets of wheels. The only problem with this is that the wheels are decorative only. It looks really cool but it is not functional. With a little more engineering and some hole poking you could pretty easily have functional wheels. Minnow doesn’t seem to care, though. He still plays with it and if the wheels fall off we have a never ending supply of duct tape. When it falls apart Lifeguard Dad will probably not need much convincing to create Monster Truck II.
Now comes the fun part. We have the basic monster truck but needed some personality. Minnow picked out some flames, skulls and lights. These were just printed, cut out and glued wherever he wanted them. We found a Texas license plate template and used that to create his vanity plates. When all was said and done, he had a really cool valentine box that was quite popular, especially with the boys. He entered it into a valentine’s box contest and won in his age category. Yay Minnow!