Little House on the Prairie: Covered Wagon

The boys just love to have toys to play with to act out scenes from the things we are learning in school. A covered wagon is just the sort of thing they will play with for hours.
You will need thin cardboard, cardstock or quality construction paper, thicker cardboard, two bamboo skewers, some white cloth or tissue paper, a ruler, pencil, scissors, scotch tape and glue. You might have an open-topped box on hand that you could use as your wagon box, and if you do, you won't need the thin cardboard, which is used to make the box.
If you need to make your wagon box, take your thin cardboard and use a ruler and pencil to make the box bottom and sides on the paper to draw a two dimensional shape that can be folded up into a open topped box. We used the instructions at indietutes and made the line around the edge of the thin cardboard 1 1/2 inches in, but found that our box was too short and had to add more cardboard strips later to make the side tall enough. If we make another one, I would mark the lines 3 inches in instead. At the corners draw a line one third of the way from the line to the edge of the cardboard as shown. In this example, since the line in the corner was 1 1/2 inches from the edge, we drew a line 1/2 down. If you make your lines 3 inches from the edge, you can make the second line one inch down from the corner line.
 Once drawn, take your scissors and cut along the lines in the corner, leaving the line you just made, but cutting it so that you can fold them in.

Fold those little tabs in. Fold on the other lines to form a box. Glue the tabs you made to hold the box together. This is your wagon box.

 Using some more thin cardboard or cardstock paper, cut strips length ways to serve as the bows. Use scotch tape or glue to secure the ends of the bows to the inside of the wagon box. If you want to get the schooner shape, you can tilt the end bows outwards from the wagon, but we chose not to.
 Before you cover your wagon, the wheels need to go on. The wheels themselves are cut from a thicker cardboard. Find something that you can use as a circle guide, such as a glass or vase and trace the four wheels. You can cut them out with scissors or a utility knife. Mark the center of each circle and punch a hole through with a bamboo skewer. If you want to get fancy, you could cut triangles out of the circle to make spokes, but the boys didn't have the patience for that, so we put them on as solid wheels.
Holes also need to be made in the wagon box to allow the wheel axles through. If you cardboard needs strengthening for this, you can use a bit of tape to strengthen the area, and then pushed through the skewer along the bottom corner of the box. With the skewer all the way though the box, push the wheels onto either end. Trim the skewer to just longer than the wheel. A drop of glue where the wheel meets the axle (skewer) will help the wheels stay in place.

 I cut a white cotton kitchen towel to fit over the wagon. One side had a hem already sewed in, so I inserted a piece of yarn through the hem by tying one end of the yarn to a skewer and pushed the skewer through the hem to the end. I pulled both ends of the yarn tight to make that classic covered wagon hole look.

I could have sewn a hem in the other end of the cloth and fixed this end the same way, but the boys were anxious to play with their covered wagon, so we just tucked the end of the cloth inside the wagon. If you don't have an appropriate cloth, you can glue white tissue paper over the wagon instead.

Now your wagon is ready for all sorts of adventures!
We are off now to find (or make) some horses and people to fit it.

Popular Posts