Astronauts vs. Aliens: Part 1

Cardboard Rocketship
Sadly, my poor camera is out of service at the moment. But it is in the very capable hands of the Nikon repair folks whom, I have no doubt, will get it back to me in tip top shape. When they do, I’m thinking a celebratory dessert will be in order.. something chocolate.

In the meantime, I thought I’d blog about the really fun and cool crafty projects we have been working on for our boys’ upcoming birthday party. An out of this world Astronaut versus Alien theme combined party to celebrate turning 5 and turning 2 (their birthdays are only 6 days apart).

One of the projects include a huge cardboard rocket ship. It’s not quite complete (will post a photo of the final result), it needs more detail. But the overall structure is there and the boys are loving the new fort!

Both my boys have started using this rocket ship like a boys only club. When the little guy gets mad, he stomps over to the rocket ship and hides inside. My 4 year old has packed up all the necessary provisions for a space adventure, including 2 pairs of sneakers (one for him, one for his brother), a pillow, a blanket, and several matchbox cars in a shoebox.

The inspiration came from a rocket ship built by an amazing local Bay Area artist, Craig Hansen @ Craigwork. This took quite a bit of time to assemble and I took some photos during the process but I wasn’t going to go into too much detail. If you want to give it a try, here are the basic steps…

Supplies: Elmer’s glue, spring hand clamps, box cutters, 5 cardboard boxes.

Rocket ship Step 1
I used 5 LARGE cardboard boxes from Home Depot. For each box, I cut one of the sides to open it up. Lay them all flat with the Home Depot labels up (this will be the inside of the ship). The ship will be 4 levels high.

Step 1
To attach them together, work from the ground level up. First, cut off the extra flap on the right side of one box. Then take the next box and glue its extra flap on the left side onto the the first box. Does that make sense? This prevents an unattractive bulky looking flap from showing when the rocket ship is complete.

After gluing the flap down, stand on the flap for about 30 seconds to keep it from moving, or use the clamps.

Cardboard Rocket Ship

It took about an hour to complete the first level. Phew! Put it in the garage and brought it back out the next day.

Second Level

The second level was pretty quick, you just repeat the same process. At this stage I cut out a door and let the kids go inside. That was it for day 2, back into the garage.

Third Level

On the third day I did the third level. This is where it got tricky because I had to start narrowing the rocket ship into a point. These are my measurements (2″ in on both sides). But I didn’t know what I was doing, so if you want it narrower, then increase that by a few inches. You should also cut the fourth level while you are at it ( 8″ on both sides).

Note- the top of my rocket ship has a hole on the top and it may or may not get a 5th level. If you don’t want a 5th level or a hole, then adjust your cutting to a point.

Trimming and Creating a Flap
To assemble the 3rd and 4th levels, you have to make your own “flaps” since you cut them off. So I took my scraps and kind of trimmed them and used it to bond the boxes together. I used the scrap that has the bendy edge. In the photo I highighted in red just about how much I trimmed off and used for this purpose.

This is where I stopped taking photos, my camera decided to stop working around day 4. So you have to believe me when I say I couldn’t have done this without the clamps, the cardboard is quite heavy and tall.

Updates will be coming soon!

***UPDATE***

Drumroll please….

The final rocketship.

Cardboard Rocketship

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2 thoughts on “Astronauts vs. Aliens: Part 1

    • We sadly said goodbye to the cardboard rocket ship a few weekends ago, but it was fun while it lasted :)

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