How to create an awesome DIY Dinosaur Valentine box out of a shoebox, perfect for elementary school kids. So unique you can even use it as a keepsake box!
Valentine's Day will soon be here, and that means the annual exchange of cute little Valentines in homes and classrooms everywhere.
I can remember making a special Valentine box for classroom Valentines every year when I was in elementary school. In fact, I still have one of those boxes, made from an old shoebox, in my cedar chest.
My Jaden happens to love dinosaurs. Even though we don't really have a Valentine's Day party on the schedule, I still thought it'd be fun to make him a special box he could put his Valentines in but also turn into a keepsake/treasure box after Valentine's Day has passed.
And I just happened to have a couple of shoeboxes, waiting to be used for a special shoebox craft or project of some sort, hangin' out in my craft closet.
When asked what dinosaur he'd like to have, he chose his favorite, of course… Triceratops!
Looking for Valentines to put inside your special sweetheart's box? Make your own “Mint to Be” free printable Valentines.
HOW TO MAKE A VALENTINE BOX LOOK LIKE A DINOSAUR
Kids can definitely get in on the crafting with this one, though they will need supervision, as it does require using a glue gun, box cutters, and craft knife.
I've had mixed feelings over this creature of a box. Before the eyes or any other features were added and it was just the box with a crest, Dan mentioned it looked like Lisa Simpson.
After it was completed, I kinda thought it looked like a razorback… I think it's the red (the color Jaden chose) and the fact that we live in Arkansas, home of the Razorbacks, so we see them everywhere all the time.
Either way, it's a Triceratops, and I'm stickin' to it. So, here's what you'll need and how to make this cute li'l guy…
Supplies You'll Need for a Dinosaur Valentine Box
Instructions for Making The Triceratops Crest
The first step in creating your Triceratops Valentine box is to cut the dinosaur's crest from the poster board. The size of the shoebox will determine how large you need to make the crest.
To make the dinosaur's crest, you'll need to follow these steps…
- Cut a large circle from the poster board, however large you want your crest to be, again depending on the size of your shoebox.
- You'll need to cut flaps on the bottom edge of the crest to prep it for gluing onto the box.
- Cut large triangles all around the outside edge of the crest, resembling the crest of a Triceratops.
- Decide on placement of the crest, and use your box cutters to cut the lid of the shoebox in half, right in front of where the crest will sit. (We decided to cut our lid in half, so the crest remains stationary and is less likely to get torn up; and also because we used a shoebox with a flip-over lid.)
- Next, use your hot glue gun to glue the back part of the shoebox lid down; that way, it can't be lifted, thus maintaining safety of the crest.
- Then just glue your crest in place, using the flaps you created, to do so.
Hardest part of the craft is over… Whew!
Painting Homemade Valentine Boxes
Now for the fun of painting and decorating, and this is where kids can especially get involved in the creative, crafty fun.
Paint your box whatever color you choose. We chose to use red poster board for the crest, which pretty much matched the paint that Jaden chose.
If you get a little paint on the poster board, that's ok… Crafting is messy; embrace it! Fair warning: It may take several coats of paint to cover any writing on the shoebox.
You can also paint the tips of the crest a different color if you choose. We went with brown on the tips.
Decorating Your Dinosaur
Once the paint is dry, it's time to add the finishing touches. This is where your egg carton and cardboard cones come in.
The lid of your egg carton should have an edge with round shapes on either end. When I saw this, I saw the perfect platform for the wiggle eyes to rest on.
- Cut one whole side with the 2 round shapes out of the egg carton, leaving the flat edge around the bottom.
- Paint this to match your box.
- Once the paint has dried, add hot glue around the bottom edge, and put it in place on your box lid.
- Then glue the wiggle eyes in place with a couple dots of glue.
You'll need three horns. The two cardboard cones will work for the upper horns.
- Cut a rounded piece out of one side of each cone, so the horns will point outward from the box rather than straight up, when placed on the dinosaur's face.
- Add glue around the edge and glue in place, one horn on either side of the eyes.
For the third horn, you'll need either a smaller cardboard cone or the pointed piece that sticks up out of an egg carton, which is what we chose to use… It's all about using what you have.
- Cut the rounded cone shape out of the egg carton.
- Add glue around the bottom edges of the cone, and place it on the edge of the box lid, centered between the eyes.
Lastly, the mouth…
- Use one of the edges you cut from the cardboard cones for the bottom part of the mouth, glueing the piece in place beneath the lid on the box itself.
- Shape one of the egg carton bowls into a beak of sorts with scissors.
- Glue the “beak” into place on the edge of the lid itself, beneath the single horn.
More Valentine's Day Ideas
More Valentine Box Ideas
If you're using the box as a Valentine box for classroom Valentines, you may want to cut a slit in the top of the lid, so there's a place for the Valentines to go.
We're using it as more of a treasure or keepsake box, so we didn't add the slit.
You can use any kind of box to create a really unique Valentines box, including a shoebox, tissue box, or cereal box.
In fact, my friend Mariah over at The Simple Parent, has 20+ Valentine boxes for boys. You'll find all sorts of Valentine box ideas for elementary school aged kids!
Just remember: This craft is not about perfection… It's about creating something your child will treasure for years to come, and all because you took the time to make it with him/her.
Just be creative and have fun with it!