Airplane-From-a-Box

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Total Time 2 to 3 hours Ages all-ages

With a minimum of effort, you can transform a plain cardboard box into a shiny, flying machine that your child can wear.

What you'll need

  • Large corrugated cardboard box
  • Utility knife
  • Metallic spray paint or brush-on acrylic paint
  • Duct tape
  • Aluminum foil
  • Long paper fastener
  • Plastic wrap

How to make it

  1. For the head hole, cut out a rectangle on the top of the box that's big enough for your child's head but not too close to the edges of the box. You should make the opening for the head on the smaller side, to prevent the costume from slipping off your child's shoulders.

  2. To make the airplane costume, paint the entire box with a metallic spray paint so it looks like a flying machine.

  3. For the propellers, cut two strips out of cardboard and cover them with aluminum foil. Fasten the strips to the front of the plane with a long paper fastener and give the propellers a trial spin.

  4. For the windshield, cut a frame out of cardboard the same width as the box. Tape a piece of plastic wrap inside the frame to make it look like glass and attach it to the box with duct tape.

  5. Sully Airplane Variation -- Nose Cone

    (For the Captain Sully variation, as seen on the CBS Early Show, airing October 24, 2009)
    For the plane's nose cone:
    Working on one end of the box, round the top and bottom flaps and trim the corners from the side flaps, as shown. Using a ruler to create creases, bend each flap inward, then join them with masking tape. Cut a square of cardboard to cover the end of the nose cone, then secure it in place with masking tape.

  6. Sully Airplane Variation -- Wings

    For the rear of the plane and wings:
    To create the back end, cut about 2 inches off each flap. Lift the bottom flap at an angle, trim the side flaps, and join the edges of all four flaps with masking tape. Cut two tail-shaped triangles from scrap cardboard, folding the bottoms to create tabs, as shown, then glue them together and affix in place. Cut out arch-shaped armholes then fold them up to form wings, as shown. Tape a lightweight wooden yardstick along the underside of the wingspan for support (trimming it, if necessary). Once the plane is painted, use glue dots or tacky glue to attach small figures, as shown.

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