Now that we have two kids we don't take as many morning trips to the coffee shop. (Plus when you can make your own amazing iced coffee, and delicious chai for a fraction of the price, why go out?) But we still find our way to the coffee shop often enough. I pinned a bunch of ideas for cardboard boxes recently, and one that I really thought was cute was a mini coffee shop. Thing One always enjoys ordering and talking to the Barista, so I thought he might enjoy being one. Here's a sneak peak at how it turned out.
I started with a shallow cardboard box that was about 5 1/2 feet long and only 6 inches tall. I cut the two sides in the middle, folded the box in on itself and taped the two sides together with duct tape. You could also use two boxes and just put them together, or the top and bottom of a large box.
I found this faux wood wrapping paper at Target in the $1 section, and thought that would be the perfect coffee bar. I wrapped the entire outside of the box and used packing tape to reinforce all the edges and laminate the top of the "counter." I stuffed an empty coffee bag with newspaper, so it always feels full and holds it's shape. I bought this set of travel coffee cups also at the Target dollar spot, and we had saved this plastic french press even though it broke years ago. So glad we did, Thing One was so excited to have his own. I also had saved a bunch of Christmas cup sleeves, thinking I would come up with a project for them. I guess I did. : )
I made a little pastry case by folding a big piece of flat cardboard into a standing triangle, and taping it together. The piece of cardboard that comes with a set of queen or king sheets would be perfect I think because it's already kind of the triangle shape. I cut a large square out of both sides and then just used the squares as the shelves. I put a small piece of packing tape under the sides of each shelf to kind of secure it to the frame.
Then I felt sad about the poor selection of pastries. What is it, perpetually 4 p.m.? So I decided to make a couple of donuts and scones. I used a coffee cup lid as a donut pattern. I think that makes a good size, but I should have cut a smaller hole in the middle. Next time.
Here they are in the case. Cranberry orange scones are my favorite (and I actually have a really good recipe for real ones that I will share soon). I also tried to make a piece of banana bread, but wasn't super thrilled with how it came out. Oh well. The coffee shop manager here has pretty low standards, so he said it was fine : )
After I let Thing One play in the shop a bit I realized that he needed more space to set things down, and it would be nice if there was a little more interactive stuff. So I used a big diaper box to make a mini fridge. I taped the whole box shut and then cut a door out of one side and covered it with black duct tape. I covered the rest of the box with more of the faux wood wrapping paper. We had an extra cabinet door handle laying around, so I cut a few small pieces of cardboard and stacked them to make that spot thicker on the back. Then I just pushed it right through.
Now Thing One has more counter space and he can keep milk and ice coffee nice and cold. The creamer and milk are just washed out from the recycle bin. The more realist the more he likes it. And I like it because it's free.
Here it is again all together. Thing One really enjoys making us coffee all the time now. Best of all the whole project cost me less than $5, and probably about an hour all together (after the kiddos were in bed). I hate when a project is so involved or time consuming I spend more time making something for them than I do playing with them; this wasn't like that. I've spent more time ordering coffee already. As I should. Plus, kids are fickle. I know that he will get tired of playing coffee shop. Then I will be so glad I didn't invest in a big plastic cafe. I will throw out my cardboard box (or pass it on if someone wants it) and move on with life.
I've got to go get another cup of coffee. Thanks for coming by!