An all-about-boys Valentine’s Day project to share with you today!  
{because I have 3 of them, and not everything has to be pink and heart-shaped for Valentine’s Day}.

First a question: do kids still make Valentine’s Day boxes?

It was one of my favorite things when I was a kid, and I loved that my mom spent time with each of us 6 kids to make something creative to put our Valentine’s in.  I can remember we brought these into school (all the kids did) and we exchanged our Valentine’s cards and oooohed and aaahhhhed over everyone’s neat creations.

I loved it, and apparently never grew up because I still have so much fun making them with my own kids now. 
I have been working on them in the evenings, that last hour or so before bed.  We get a little more done each night, and since we finished my boy’s box, I thought I’d show it to you, step by step.

Maybe you’d like to make something similar with that sweet little boy in your life?

Ok, here we go.

Find your box (sturdier is definitely better).
A cigar type box would work great for this project.
A tissue box would not.
So first find a good, sturdy box that can withstand some little boy-play.

Spray-prime it, or use gesso to cover it in white. 
You can skip this step if you are covering it in paper, but sometimes it can get tricky to completely cover over certain boxes using paper and glue only, and this year, my big guy really wanted to paint his box.

I keep spray paint primer on hand for projects like these.  You can spray a box like this out in the garage in like 2.5 seconds and it dries in a couple minutes.  Then you’ll have a nice clean slate to work from.

Decide now where you want to have your box open to remove your Valentines, and where you want the slot where Valentines can be placed IN the box.
For our car, we placed the opening for the cards at the back, just above where we’ll put the license plate.

The box we have is one we used before for crafts (it’s a large crayola crayon box that was originally filled with 4 boxes of crayons).
We actually used it last year to make a police-truck box for my boy, and I had two, so this year we used  it again.
It’s great because it opens up like this, and there is a tab there where you can close it up again very easily.  We chose to have the opening on the bottom of our car.   

 Now, here you can see we added working wheels.  This is totally optional, of course.

Last year, my boy added cardboard wheels to his box, and painted them black and silver.  
But then something happened I did not expect:
 that box became this special prized possession of his, and for the entire next year, he used it as his piggy bank / treasure box, and the wheels didn’t hold up so well.  Neither did the rest of the box for that matter.
So this year, I decided we would make it stronger and sturdier.  
First, for the wheels, I collected some applesauce can lids…
which we simply drilled a hold the same size as our dowel rods, and put the wheels and axles together. 

And inserted the axles into the box like so…

And there you go.  Working wheels.

 From here, you can do all sorts of things with this basic car shape.  
You can easily make this into a truck.  Or a military jeep.  Or a race car.  After much deliberation, my boy settled on a race car.

At this point, you’ll need to fire up the hot-glue gun.
We needed a curved top, and so I grabbed an empty cracker box….
… and I bent it like this to round it a bit….then I hot-glued that roof right on, easy peasy.
Seriously.  For these kinds of projects, the hot glue gun is your best friend.  
It provides instant gratification because it dries so fast, and so you can get things done very quickly {always a good thing when you’re working with impatient little people}.
Now for some jazzed-up rims.  
We considered using washers, but couldn’t find enough of the same size in daddy’s tools.  Then we started digging through our craft supplies and found these wooden clothespin doll-stands, and voila!  They fit perfectly.  We hot-glued them on.
Next, we tried rounding out the car front and back a bit more by gluing on some foam (which we dug out of the trash from a broken dollar-store sword!).  
It’s really shaping up to look like a super-cool race car!
At this point, we took a break for a few days, because life is busy.
But today, we got to painting.  
My big guy decided he wanted a black and yellow car.
We started by covering it with yellow acrylic paint.
 Then of course, he painted the tires black.

From there, things just started to just take shape.
With almost any arts and crafts project I do with my kids, it’s neat to let things sort of evolve, and to go with what the kids are interested in doing…we do a lot of talking and debating.

So at this point,  you can see {below} that we added a sloping piece of chipboard (from the back of a notebook) on the front and also the back of the car to finish it a bit.  
Boys are funny.  
Even at 4 years of age, they are so observant and my son continually corrected me as we worked together, telling me how a real car is supposed to look, and wanting to add in details that I would not have thought of myself.

 He wanted a spoiler, so I cut one from chipboard and hot glued it down, and he painted it black.
I still had some shiny silver card stock left from my classroom days, and we used it on this project quite a bit.
 We talked about ideas for the license plate, and settled on “2FAST.”  🙂
 We added some stripes and some designs on the side using card stock, headlights, a grill, and the number 84 (my four year old loves the number 4 of course, and his second most favorite number is “racetrack 8).   You can also see here that he opted to paint the entire wheel and the rims black.  

We often look at reference pictures while we work.  I pull up race car images on my iPad, and we pick and choose things we like from the photos.  For this project, the initial inspiration actually came from one of my boy’s matchbox cars.  References are a good thing, so use them as much as you need to when you’re creating.

Here is the car from the back, with the slot for inserting the Valentine’s Day cards, and (since this will be my son’s keepsake box/ piggy bank) for slipping in coins and cash.  
Here it is opened up from the bottom…
 My boy wanted to write his name on the bottom of his car so everyone would know it was his.  
He’s 4 and he only writes in one size right now: extra large.  But he did a great job. 🙂

 There it goes!  Zooming away.

 Zoom Zoom
 Zoom Zoom Zoom
Later Dude 

Hope you enjoyed seeing our Valentine’s Day Box project.  I sure had fun making it with my sweetie.  He hasn’t let it out of his sight all day, and he’s looking forward to taking it to our Valentine’s Day party this year.  

My favorite part of the whole project? 
Getting some great 1 on 1 time in with my biggest boy.

I love you, Joshua!

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