It’s time for the third installment of my cardboard creation posts. To recap, it all started with a cardboard kitchen, then last week I shared the refrigerator/pantry, and this week I’m sharing a tutorial on how to make a cardboard microwave!
To make the cardboard microwave you will need:
- medium sized cardboard box + 1 piece of cardboard for the door
- paper or shelf liner paper to cover box
- circular cork trivet (optional, I used one of these)
- vinyl (optional)
- handle that can sit flush against the cardboard
- microwave button template
- adhesive backed Velcro
First choose your box. I used this Glasslock box from Costco (by the way, these are amazing storage containers that I highly recommend). This box (a.) is great because it was the perfect size to fit on top of my cardboard refrigerator, and was somewhat sturdy. When opened, the box had an extra flap at the top (b.) so I cut this off first (c.) to use it as the microwave door. If your box does not have an extra piece like this, you will need an additional piece of cardboard to make the microwave door.
Open the box and place a sheet of white (or color of your choice) paper flush against the left side of the microwave (the side where your door opening will be cut) and attach the paper using glue. Then, glue on the microwave turntable. I used a cork trivet from IKEA, covered in cloth, but you can use any raised circular material. Cutting two identical circles out of cardboard and gluing them together would also work.
Next, make your microwave door and opening.
- Using a ruler, make a rectangle on the front of your box. This will be the opening of the microwave. (Ignore the double lines on my drawing, it’s just a mistake.) Make sure to leave at least 1 inch on the left side of the box (where you will glue down the microwave door), and allow room on the right side of the box for overhang of the door and your microwave buttons. I looked down in the top of my box to make sure my microwave turn table would be completely seen through the opening. Depending on the size of your box, your opening size will vary, but mine is 7 1/4″ wide x 6″ high.
- Use a box cutter to follow your lines and cut out the opening.
- Measure the opening in your microwave, then cut a rectangle out of your extra piece of cardboard that is approximately three inches wider and 1 1/2 inches higher. This will be the door of the microwave. Mine measures 10″ wide and 7 1/2″ high.
- If you’d like to have a little window in your microwave door, cut out a small rectangle in the door. Mine is 6″ wide and 4 1/4″ high. This step is optional, but I think it makes it look more realistic.
Now that you have your microwave opening cut, and door cut, cover them with paper. Just like in my cardboard refrigerator, I used one long strip of paper to cover the front, top, and back of the microwave and then cut panels to cover the two sides. Using hot glue or Mod Podge (I used Mod Podge), glue the paper to the box (covering your opening in the front), and then put a second coat of Mod Podge on top of the paper to give it more durability.
When the Mod Podge (or glue) is dried on your microwave, use an small blade to cut the paper away from your microwave opening.
To cover the microwave door, simply lay the door on a piece of paper and use it as a template to trace the exact size you need. Cut out the paper, and Mod Podge to the cardboard.
When the door is dry, turn it over to the back and hot glue a pieces of vinyl over the opening in the door. Then, take the loop side of adhesive-backed Velcro and place one inch-long piece at the top and bottom of the door.
Now you need to prep your microwave door for being glued down. You will need to make a crease in the door so that when it is opened, it will easily swing open.
- Measure the distance from the edge of your microwave box to the edge of the opening.
- Use a ruler, and mark that same distance on your microwave door, measuring in from the left edge. Use the ruler to make a crease in the microwave door from top to bottom.
- The crease should be deep enough so the door can bend easily at the creased line
Now that your microwave door is finished (except for the handle) you can attach it to the microwave. Use super glue (regular glue and hot glue will probably not be strong enough) and glue ONLY the left edge (what is left of the crease) to the microwave. Place something heavy on top of the area you glued so it is sure to have a secure bond. Next, take your handle and hot glue it to the right side of your microwave door. Let the glue dry overnight.
Lastly, use my microwave button template and adjust the size so that it will fit on the right side of the door. Print it out on a large adhesive sticker page, or print it on paper and glue it down. Then, take the loop size of your velcro, and attach it to the microwave so that it lines up with the hook side on the door.
*Note: if your Velcro is too strong and you’re worried about the handle of the microwave coming off due to the force of your child pulling, simply snip some of the loops so it’s less secure.
That’s it! You now have an awesome microwave your little one will love to play with. Charlotte loves to open and close the door, and push the pretend buttons saying “beep beep” and then “all done” when she feels the food has cooked long enough. She really loves this toy!
So that completes my series of cardboard creations (for now). Here is what all three of them look like together. Aren’t they cute? I hope you enjoyed these posts and have been inspired to use cardboard boxes to create some amazing (and cheap!) toys for your little ones.