My little guy loves dinosaurs. He can't get enough of them. I wanted to create a magical place for him to play with all his creatures.
Using an old suitcase, foam sealer and stuff around the house I made the perfect spot for his dinosaurs to roam.
It may not look like it, but the suitcase does close shut and can be tucked away under a bed. How ideal is that, it has it's own carrying case? The thing that I love about it is that everything but the dinosaurs are intact. There is no set-up, no take-down and no small pieces floating around the house.
Here is how I made It
What I used:
- a hard shell suitcase (this won't work with a cloth suitcase)
- brown spray paint
- a plastic canister (for volcano)
- two Capri-sun boxes
- a can of Great Stuff (found at any hardware store)
- random greenery
- a sheet of model grass (I got mine at Michael's, this can also be replaced with green paint)
- hot glue gun
- paints ( I used brown, gray, green, blue and red)
- Mog Podge
I originally bought the foam cone for the volcano, but later decided it wasn't big enough.
Step 1: Remove any extra stuff from your suitcase, like this divider. You want a clean surface.
Step 2: I taped off the hardware and spray painted the inside brown.
Step 3: I cut two Capri sun boxes on an angle so they were the height of the inside of the suitcase. Then I cut half circles ,that were used for caves. Make sure your cut your caves so they are on opposite sides, so that when they are placed in the case, the caves are facing out.
Step 4: I glued down my Capri-sun ramps and my canister. When choosing an object for the volcano you need to make sure there is plenty of room for the case to close on top of it. You'll need to account for extra bulk from the foam.
Step 5: Prepare to spray the foam. Wear clothes that can be ruined. It does not come off once it dries. WEAR GLOVES. This stuff can be pretty nasty. You don't wan to get it on anything. Have extra gloves available. Attach the applicator and make sure to keep the bottle upside down while spraying.
Step 6: Create your volcano and hills with the foam. I started by filling in all the gaps around the containers.
Next I built up the volcano.
I covered everything else and then started adding rocks and bushes around the sides.
This stuff blows up pretty big. Using a plastic knife I smoothed it down over and over again. After a few minutes it would grow up again. Keep smoothing it down in the areas you don't want it to grow. Once it looked good I let it dry over night.
When I came back the next morning I found that it had continued to grow and was now to big. The case wouldn't close anymore. So I had to trim it down with a razor blade. I kept the trimmings and used them later.When the foam is cut it doesn't have the same texture, so I had to get another can of Great Stuff. Instead of spraying it on this time, I sprayed it into a paper bowl and used a plastic knife to spread it on. I kept pressing it down so it wouldn't blow up too big. I let it dry over night again.
Step 7: I glued the grass and rocks down. I used the pieces of foam that were trimmed for my rocks. I didn't trust the foam to not grow to big. * If you don't plan on making the mistake I did, you can spray extra foam onto card board and trim it down after it dries.
Once everything is dry and in place make sure the suitcase will close!
Step 8: I painted everything. First I painted the rocks and volcano brown , the water blue and the bushes green.
Once that was dry I dry brushed gray over all the rocks. I wanted the volcano to look more gray, and it added texture to the rocks. I also highlighted the bushes with a few other shades of green.
My kids were literally playing with this the whole time I was working on it. I was glad because I realized the paint was not sticking to the smooth foam. It kept chipping off. To stop this I Mod Podged the whole thing. It seams to have worked. You can also try painting it with a primer before you paint.
Step 9: Glue greenery into bushes. I glued the ends and then stabbed them into the foam.
*It really wasn't difficult, and didn't take much time, except for waiting for things to dry. Remember it's for kids and doesn't have to be perfect.
I'll be doing it again. I hope to make another case with a different theme in the future.