Kittens of Boxville DIY Project! This project came from the book and postcards of the same name from Japan by Ryosuke Handa and Yoneo Morita. I’ve been waiting to make this for my cat for months and finally did it in January as a late Christmas present to Butter. This project was so much fun so I thought I’d share what I’d did in case you want to make your own. And the great thing about this project you can make anything, whatever you can paint goes!
What you’ll need: $10 or less (Most of the supplies are common to find around the house. I use the generic acrylic paint you find at Dollarama)
- The biggest box you can find. I kept waiting for a bigger box but finally settled on this one, it’s a bit small for Butter so I may make another one soon. Ask around and make sure you get one big enough for your cat to be comfortable.
- Paints, whatever you’ve decided to make sure you get colors that you think will work well. It can be colorful, realistic, or futuristic. I do recommend getting black for adding details.
- Brushes, I suggest fine brushes for details in a variety of sizes and 1 large paint brush for applying paint to larger areas.
- Scissors or a box cutter.
- Paper and glue. I got glittery red paper for making letters on hard card stock.
Step 1: Pick a design! Your Boxville house can be anything. A fire station, town hall, a church, school, clock tower, office building, a store, your own house… I love baking so I decided to make mine a cupcake bakery for my cat Butter. Think of a witty name if you are making a store for later!
Step 2: Using box cutters or scissors cut off all flaps for one end of the box as you want nothing on the bottom of the house. Save flaps for later. Cut out your door. You can make a front and back door if you’d like in any shape. I made only a front door for more privacy, in an oval shape and made it be almost the full side of the box. I recommended you make the doors on the short sides of the box unless you are making it for a kitty. You can save the door part if you want to make a swinging door or an entrance, and I will show later how I used mine.
Step 3: Paint the cardboard box the main color on all sides. I wanted mine white so I had to do 3 coats to get the coloring I wanted waiting 30minutes between coats. Keep in mind, darker colors are easier and if your box has logos on it you may need several coats in the areas the logos are to cover. I painted my box with it laying down doing one side at a time as I found it easier. Keep in mind cardboard when it gets wet can change shapes so after its dries put books on top for a few hours to make is flat again.
Step 4: Roof Part I – Paint. There are so many different kinds of roofs designs you can choose, looking on google is a great reference. I own the Kittens of Boxville book so I used that as reference for mine. I used a ruler to draw the lines because I wanted it to be exact but I free handed most other parts so it’s up to you how much you want to freehand and how much you want to draw on before painting. I used a sharpie for the lines and the paint covered it’d without issue. I wanted my roof to have a ceiling so I also painted one of the extra flaps in the same colors to match me design.
Step 5: A sign! Signs are fun so I toke glittery red paper from Dollarama and hand drew the words “Butter’s Cupcakery” on the white side backwards and cut out. Then I used normal liquid glue to attach onto the cardboard. You can always paint your sign too.
Step 6: Details. This is where you can really let your creativity take over. I wanted to make a fake back door, fake windows on one side and two real windows on the other. So I used the box cutter (this would be hard to do with scissors) to cut out two windows and added paint for details while painting the fake door and windows. I did all this by hand using the ruler more for spacing and I’m a terrible painter. So its easy, trust me and remember this is for your pet! It doesn’t have to be perfect and making it should be fun. As well I made the piece I cut out for the front door into a side element to add more dimension and added cupcakes on the side to make it looks more like a shop. As well I added some swirls and dots on the side to make it appear more like an actual building (a very colorful building that is)
Step 7: Smoke stack. Take a left over flap and paint it any color you like, then with the ruler and a marker make identical size rectangles shapes and then cut out with scissors or a box cutter. I left my design very plain, it would be easy to make a nice brick detail if you’d like. I just used glue and tape after the paint was dry to attach all sides together. I didn’t attach the smoke stack to roof.
Step 8: Roof Part II – Making a roof. Now you want to make the roof using the flaps at the top in the upright position to give your cat more room. It’s up to you if you want a slant roof or a square one, or open or closed. I wanted mine to be enclosed as I mentioned in the previous roof step so I had painted one of the leftover flaps to be the ceiling. For the slanted roof look use all of the attached flaps of the long side and then cut a triangle on both sides of the end flaps to create the slant. Then I used safety pins to hold it together on the corners and to the ceiling flap (I tried tape and toothpicks but both didn’t work very well for me)
Step 9: Finishing Touches! You are all done, wait for the smell of paint to fade so your cat will go and explore their new house. I put mine on top of a cat blanket for extra comfort. Another great idea is to put this ontop of the kitty litter just make sure its big enough to fit the litter box inside.