Creating a car from an old box, letting the kids have at them and race around the yard! I LOVED it and knew Zach needed to have a set of his favorite Cars characters to race in.
Once I knew who I was going to make; Lightning McQueen, Tow Mater, Doc Hudson, and Miss Sally, I just needed to get a plan in place.
Lily & Frog tools to build your box cars…
- A little internet searching for pictures
- Spray paint; bright red (glossy finish), light blue, navy, brown
- Construction paper
- 4 boxes – also several back-ups just-in-case
- Painter’s tape – it is actually the only tape I had handy
- Print outs for the logos (Lightning McQueen’s, visit Zach’s costume for all the logos)
Start your engines… I started with searching as many pictures of the 4 characters, from as many angles as I could to get the best possible picture to be able to design a box car… Truly, it is just popping in a few Cars terms into yahoo and a bunch of images will spit out.
Now I scoured the house for boxes and since we have two young ones in diapers and I save all the old diaper boxes for baby clothing storage, I was all set. From the pictures of the 4 cars I found online I manipulated the shape of the top of the boxes to resemble Lightning McQueen, Tow Mater, Doc Hudson, and Miss Sally.
To ensure the perfect shape, I did a little practicing first. Grabbing some construction paper, I outlined the size of the box on the paper. From there I sketched the outline of the body of the car (the profile), from the front lights to the back bumper, onto the construction paper. From here I transferred the sketch to my box int he same manner I would carve a pumpkin… lay the sketch in the longest end of the box, in the location you would like it to appear – using a pushpin, or a pen, make marks through the lines you sketch, poking holes through the paper and onto the box. when you peel the paper away, there will be marks left for where you are going to cut the box. Do this on both sides of the box making sure your car is facing the right direction on both sides.
Before you cut anything… ensure the from of the box is intact, this portion of the box will become the hood of the car. Now you can start cutting… But carefully, please be careful, to follow the line you just made by poking the holes in the box.
Once you are finished cutting, this is the tricky part. You need to fold the top flap of the box in and along the outline of the car you just created and tape it into place, you are creating the hood of the car. Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of this tricky part; honestly I didn’t think it was going to work out, so I didn’t feel a need to document it.
Now that you have taped down the hood onto the cutout of the car, you can start on the accessories which make the boxes the Cars they are…
- Tow Mater’s towing arm (Is that even what is it called?) the arm which attaches to the cars for towing.
- Lightning McQueen’s rear spoiler
Also, cut from the scraps of the cardboard box circles for tires, for all of your Cars characters.
Time for some car painting… Follow all instructions on the spray paint cans, do not skip anything.
In our case, I laid out an old painting sheet in the driveway, spray painted each car individually in the morning, then went out to do a second coat just before dinner. The only car I had trouble with was Lightning McQueen… the design on the diaper box bled through the bright red glossy spray paint. I’m not too sure why; maybe the colors on that diaper box, maybe the glossy spray paint, who knows? I just did a few extra coats on Lightning McQueen. Also, I was not too careful with dripping paint, after I convinced myself it is ok the car’s paint was not perfect, I realized I would be covering the paint with logos, tires, head lights, etc plus, the kids would never even notice, right?
Now, onto assembly… This is when all the pictures of the Cars characters you collected earlier come in handy. Grab your construction paper, scissors, and glue. As you read my description for assembly, you will soon notice I have no common sense for cars and I have no clue what the names of the parts are, so I’ll be making up my own…
First things first, I glued all four tires onto the car in the appropriate locations. Then I got into the fun stuff…
Doc Hodson – From working with the pictures I found online, I created Doc Hudson’s eyes and expression from white, blue, and black construction paper.
Don’t forget two headlights and his front grill, for this I used white paper, which I folded in half to ensure everything was symmetrical. To create the windows, I traced the outline of the body of the car onto white paper. While cutting the shape of the window, I just cut inside the line I traced (does that make sense??).
And for the finishing touch… Remember to add his pinstriping. And I don’t even think it is called pinstriping, but the silver bar along the side of the car.
Miss. Sally – Oddly enough, Miss. Sally was the hardest one to design. But let’s start with the beginning… From working with the pictures I found online, I created Miss Sally’s eyes and expression from white, green, and black construction paper. Don’t forget two headlights with the added yellow in the lights, I folded the paper in half to ensure everything was symmetrical. To create
the windows, I traced the outline of the body of the car onto white paper. While cutting the shape of the window, I just cut inside the line I traced (does that make sense??). And for the finishing touch (this is the hard part)… Miss Sally’s pinstriping on the back of her trunk. My first hurdle was finding a clear picture which I could enlarge. I was going to print it out and glue it on. Since this didn’t work, I tried to sketch it from a smaller print out. But after sketching over and over again for almost an hour, I threw in the towel and Miss Sally went without her pinstriping. I did add her rear lights though.
Tow Mater – From working with the pictures I found online, I created Tow Mater’s eyes and expression from white, green, and black construction paper.
For Tow Mater’s smile and buck teeth use white and black paper, creating the smile from the black paper and adding 2 white squares for the buck teeth. To add a little something, I only glued the top edge of the teeth, allowing them to flip out a little, it added a little charm and character to the Tow Mater personality. Don’t forget two headlights with the added yellow in the light, I placed a white and yellow paper on top of one another to ensure everything was symmetrical. To create the windows, I traced the outline of the box of the car onto white paper. While cutting the shape of the window, I just cut inside the line I traced (does that make sense??).
Tow Mater has his business logo along his door, to create this I jumped into MS Excel and typed in the correct wording and printed it out on green construction paper. Tow Mater also has some yellow and black caution stripping on his back end, don’t forget about that. And for the finishing touch… Tow Mater’s towing arm and hook for towing cars. Well I didn’t make a working towing arm, but I tied some yarn in the towing arm and it worked out just fine.
Lightning McQueen – From working with the pictures I found online, I created Lightning McQueen’s eyes and expression from white, blue, and black construction paper.
Lightning McQueen has a little tilt in his smile, when positioning the smile, I made it a little off center and sideways. Don’t forget two headlights with the added yellow in the lights; I folded the paper in half to ensure everything was symmetrical.
To create the windows, I traced the outline of the box of the car onto white paper. While cutting the shape of the window, I just cut inside the line I traced (does that make sense??).
And for the finishing touch… Lightning McQueen’s sponsors’ logos. This was the easy part for me. I used the logos I already created for Zach’s Halloween Costume, printed them out on paper, cut them out and glued them into place. For this, I got a little lazy, only using the Rusteze logo, lightning bolt, and racing number.
The ‘suspender straps’ were the easy part. I asked Zach to step into each car and I cut the straps to his height (Each kid at the party is his size).
All good race cars need a racetrack… building the World Grand Prix Race Track… When my friend, Tara, called me a few hours before the party asking if I needed any help, I hooked her on in. I put her in charge of drawing the race track (with Start and Finish line) for the kids to run along in our driveway using chalk. We even lined up some lawn chairs for parents to root their kids on as they raced.
World Grand Prix Race Track and Cars characters are one of the things I’m most proud of. Zach loved trying them on and racing them through the house before and after his party. I think I did a pretty good job on them too (patting myself on the back with this one). Even Andy told me he was impressed, because when I started they looked pretty boring and flat, but as soon as I added the eyes and expressions, Andy said they were perfect… And I should be renting them out to parties.