We had a few friends over for brunch this past weekend, fellow parents with kids of varying ages. As we watched our daughter Olive play with some toys while drinking our orange juice, someone reminisced about how a friend of theirs had saved all of their used juice cartons and turned them into big building blocks for their boys. My ears perked up and I immediately encouraged everyone to drink up while extolling the virtues of vitamin C. Soon enough the carton was empty and I got to work.
There's not much to making the blocks, actually, and the real challenge will be figuring out a finish that will be durable and safe. I have an idea about patterned wrapping paper or the Sunday funnies and Modge Podge but am not certain that is the best way to go. Any insight or suggestions on that front are most welcome.
What You Need
• An empty juice carton
• Packing tape or clear duct tape
• Scissors or an exacto knife
1. Pull apart the top edges of the carton so it forms an 'X'.
2. Pull on opposite corners to easily open up the top. Clean the inside thoroughly. Let dry.
3. Cut down the center of two sides, down to the crease line (see the blue line in photo). Do not cut the side with the plastic spout or the side opposite of that. Cut the other two.
4. Fill carton with crumbled newspaper. This will give it a bit of weight, strength and also deaden the hollow sound when dropped (or thrown).
5. Using your thumbs, firmly push the plastic nozzle inside out, into the interior of the carton.
6. Fold the flap with the nozzle down flat, and then fold the remaining flap on top of it. The existing creases make this pretty simple.
7. Tape the whole thing shut and you are good to go. Happy building.
These blocks are good on their sides but not so great vertically, due to their tendency to be a little rounded on the bottom. A bit of manipulating may alleviate that problem, however.
(Images: Richard Popovic)