Bad Mom,  Bug

A little red cardboard cradle.

spray painting

I have this strange kid who doesn’t like me to throw anything out ever. Maybe I’ve traumatized her with my over-eager purging that I love to do from time to time. I guess it’s normal that kids her age get attached to things as silly as old leftover food, gum wrappers or maybe the box that her Christmas baby doll came in.

The box that the doll came in was printed to look like a baby bed. I’ll give her that. It had a nice hard pillow and a crib sidewall along the back side. But it also had a ripped off mark where the price tag used to be and an ugly starburst that said something like “Grow with Me” with photos of all the other dolls I could buy her as she gets older (which I’m not going to do). Anyway, the box was ugly. I had to get rid of it.

I am such a mean mom.

I know she’s probably the smart one wanting to use a box over and over and cutting down on her carbon footprint or something but I just can’t have yucky over-designed boxes cluttering up her room. There’s enough clutter in there as it is. So I threw it away in the middle of the night and I’ve never heard the end of it since. There were tears.

Until I promised to make her a cardboard cradle that is.

I’ve been perking on this cardboard cradle idea for a while but have been busy with other things so I never got around to it. It’s still a box and it was taken from the recycle bin in the alley behind the photographer’s shop near our house so I’m sort of redeeming myself on the wastefulness factor. I’m just being creative about it.

Also I just like a challenge.


It’s not a masterpiece and I would be much happier if it was made out of wood (hint hint Uncle Shawn) but it’s cute and so much better than that nasty box her babydoll came in.

she can carry it all by herself cradle

It’s light so she can carry it. I’m sure it won’t last forever (which may or may not be a good thing for me and my purging ways) but it works. All it needs is a small pillow and a little blanket. Though now that I’ve got her using an old pillow from her crib set and the bag that her flannel sheets came in as a makeshift blanket, she’ll probably get attached to those and never let me near the cradle with anything new or matching. Kids! Are they all like this or is it just her?

Instructions for hacks like me after the break.


I actually just glued everything together with normal Elmer’s white glue. I was completely surprised that it held and is relatively strong. Of course if she decides to sit on it, it will crumble but so far it’s holding up to vigorous rocking just fine. When I glued it, I held the pieces together with giant binder clips and then left it alone while we had lunch. That might have been the trick.


  • Madge

    Clarabelle was very much like this. She would cry if we threw packaging away and she hoarded all sorts of garbage. I just drew the line at any kind of food packaging, because that grossed me out. Every once in a while I would clench my teeth and throw a bunch away. She would cry all day about it.

    Pixie and Sprite have favorite toys but don’t seem to hoard the way Clarabelle did.

    I love the cradle. I never would think of making something like that. I’m always thinking about knitting baby doll blankets and other items like that. I’ll make Bug a blanket and pillow for her cradle. Let me know the dimensions so I don’t make it too big. Also, are we still all GREEN all the time?

    SAJ says: She I would love a little knitted blanket and pillow! I think she’s moved onto pink and purple… She says green and yellow are still her favorite colors but everything she picks is pink or purple. Thank you!!

  • K

    Adorable!! I definitely want to remember to make one of these for my daughter when she’s a little older. Bug looks thrilled! How cute. :)

  • Aunt Kathy

    I love it! Could we go back twenty years and you make me three? I would make Bug a quilt in exchange.

    SAJ says: If we could I would!!

  • leslie

    that is so very gorgeous! but i won’t show it to my girls, because i’m pretty sure they want one themselves…..

    oh and all kids are like this… our house (which is actually an aparment) things go “on holidays” for a looooooong time….they even send cards sometimes (ever watched “amelie of montmartre? one of the best parts is when the dwarf sends cards from all over the world:)

  • Gramma

    Years and years ago when we lived in Hawaii, Grandma Wilder (Your Mom’s piano teacher) made her a little cradle out of an oatmeal box. She loved it, but, alas, it did not last forever.

  • Kimberly

    I grew up with a mother with your similar purging tendencies, so I can’t resist piping up here.
    It seems petty, but I’ve never really been able to forgive her for junking my ‘Boo Boo Kitty’ and fake Hummel music box (I would have been about Bug’s age during these much remembered purges). I got an enormous amount of joy from those silly things, and I felt my mom didn’t appreciate that joy. She just decided my toys were crap and needed to by thrown away. I think the difference with you and Bug’s things is you’re trying to replace her ‘trash’ with something better. She’ll appreciate the effort, especially when she’s older!
    My mom was a teacher and most of her students were from families that did not have much. It was very common for her to give away my bicycle or backpack to one of her students without asking. THIS I can forgive. But dang, why did she have to go and throw away my favorite stuffed animal? Just be careful when throwing out Bug’s favorites, and don’t undervalue letting her plea her case! :)

  • Sonja von Franck

    Once again, your genius and creativity impress and inspire! I love getting messages that you’ve posted something new!

  • Clownfish

    I can see how creative Bug is now but being that she gets to swim in your wake of creativity daily…I can’t begin to imagine the things she will imagine and create as she gets older! Whether she reaches for a brush, a pen or a camera, it will be fun to see all that happens.

    It’s fun watching this unfold, even if from another state :)

  • BeachMama

    This is fantastic! I still have (tucked away in the basement) a baby bed that was made for me out of a shoe box, complete with matching sheets and knit blanket and a little baby to put inside. I may take it out for Apple one day or maybe I’ll use the template and make a new one for her, we will see.

  • Tammy

    If you wanted something a little more durable than cardboard but still lightweight, coroplast would be great! You could punch holes in and use brads to assemble. It is nice that she can move it around easily even with loaded with her baby doll. Great job SAJ!

  • bethany actually

    If you throw Bug’s things away, she’ll blame you for that. If you let her keep everything and she turns into a hoarder, she’ll blame you for that. Basically, kids blame their moms for everything so do what you want, within reason. ;-)

  • Kassi

    She’ll probably love and cherish that little red cardboard cradle over everything else as the years go by. I’m sure she will remember it and make her smile.