UNBOXED: Adventures in cardboard

UNBOXED: Adventures in cardboard

I'm super excited to introduce to you my first children's craft book, UNBOXED: Adventures in Cardboard!

I have been working away behind the scenes for the last year to self-publish my first children's craft book (I said first because I have a few more planned). Through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign we successfully funded the first print run and our book is now available to purchase through our website and selected stockists.


What's the book about?

This book is about using what you have to create something new.

To be specific; It's about using cardboard boxes to make cool creations that inspire creative play.

In a world of finite resources and growing consumption, we want to encourage the creative use of simple, recycled materials, like the humble cardboard box, to create play. Encouraging our little ones to re-purpose what they already have is not only great for our planet, it also requires creative thinking to see new possibilities beyond the original purpose, helping our children become the resourceful inventors of the future.

cardboard box cubby house, a craft project from unboxed, a children's craft book by Mini Mad Things

LESS screens: MORE Imagination, Creativity and Play.

If you are here reading about our children's craft book the chances are you're a parent. As parents we all sometimes need a little inspiration; fun craft project ideas that will get your little ones away from screens, using their own imaginations, problem solving and engaging in creative play. Well this book is FULL of ideas!

children playing cardboard butterfly wings, a project from unboxed, a children's craft book

What's inside the book?

Inside the book your will find:

  • 15 PROJECT IDEAS to make, using cardboard boxes, including rockets, a huge marble run, cubby houses, dress-up costumes, a city, cars and lots more.
  • Lots of other fun creative ideas and a special bonus project.
  • Inspiration for making a creative space at home for your little ones.
  • A list of basic craft supplies to build your craft cupboard.
  • Ideas for using household RECYCLING and SUSTAINABLE crafting tips.
  • Simple building technique ideas for creating with cardboard.

Each of the project ideas presented in the book are not only fun to make but also create something that your little ones can then play with. For example, building a pirate ship that they can then sail the seven seas in!

child playing with a pirate ship made from cardboard boxes

Why is this craft book different?

Whilst researching this book, I looked at loads of children's craft books most of which my kids and I found pretty uninspiring. So many children’s craft books are prescriptive, providing a list of instructions to follow; take one piece of red paper, measure this much, fold here, cut there..…

Don't get me wrong, there is some value in children being able to follow a set of instructions to make an owl from a toilet roll but for me the greater value comes from letting little ones explore their own creativity.

Also, what happens if you don't have the same materials available or if your cardboard box is a different size?

With us, there are no rules (or instructions). We are all about creative thinking, exploration and making your own fun. It’s not about making something pretty or perfect (the best things usually aren’t), it’s about using the materials you have available to explore your imagination, problem solving and embarking on your creative journey.

So, THIS IS NOT an instruction manual. Whilst we will provide you with some handy tips and ideas about how to make the projects, there are no step-by-step instructions. Our projects, presented with big beautiful images, are designed as a starting point, to inspire and ignite YOUR little one's imagination.

kids wearing monster masks made from cardboard boxes

The second point that I felt was lacking in a lot of craft books I researched was the quality of the images and design of the book. A lot of the books were, well, just a bit... blah! When embarking on this project, it was important to me create a book that was not only filled with fun, creative ideas that kids would love, but to also make a book that was well designed with beautiful images that parents would find inspiring too.

To create all the images for this book I have collaborated with the most amazing photographer Belinda Monck who has perfectly captured the joy of children making and playing. Yes the images for this book are beautiful, but they are also REAL. I can assure you, a lot of paint, glue and cardboard boxes were used in the creation of these photos and a lot of joyful mess was made!

children painting, an image from unboxed, a kids craft book

Who is this book for?

The activity ideas presented in this book are ideal for 3-10yr olds. Each project has multiple elements that can be adapted for different age ranges. Older kids may enjoy creating clever constructions with cardboard whilst little ones will love sploshing paint and decorating the creations with collage. Having said that, I'm 40 and I love building with cardboard, sploshing paint and getting messy with collage, so really this book is for everyone!

Hi, I'm Eleanor and I love making things!

Portrait of Eleanor Ford

Thank you so much for taking the time to learn about my book. Here is a little about me and my journey to creating this kids craft book:

Over 2 years ago, after the birth of my second child, I launched MINI MAD THINGS. Initially the business began with me designing and creating ethically manufactured children's fancy dress costumes. (You can see our collection of fun kids dress-ups HERE.) As the business grew, I started writing this craft blog, sharing all the crafty creations I made at home with my little ones. The craft blog became more and more popular, so we launched children's craft workshops (currently not running due to COVID-19) and a series of CRAFT KITS for you to get creative at home. Through this process we have tried and tested all the projects in this book not only with my little ones, (yes our house is often full of colourful creative mess!) but with friends, at our kids craft workshops and with the wider creative community we have built on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK. So I know your kids will LOVE the projects in this book!

Prior to launching into the glue covered painty world of children's crafts, I worked in the fashion industry as a jewellery designer, producing hand-crafted luxury jewellery. I have always had a life long passion for making and creativity. My extensive experience in the fashion industry has given me a strong design aesthetic and the artistic knowledge to create this beautiful book.

Come and FOLLOW me on INSTAGRAM and SHARE your crafty creations inspired by our book UNBOXED using the hashtag #MYCARDBOARDADVENTURE

Head to our FACEBOOK page and join our MINI MAD CRAFT group to share your ideas with our creative community.

I love to see all the amazing things you have been creating at home!