Cardboard Safari–Constructing creative three-dimensional models in cardboard

Cardboard Safari skull

The department stores have switched into the Thanksgiving and Christmas season seemingly overnight now that Halloween has passed.  If you’re thinking ahead to the latest and greatest new gift idea for model builders and other crafters for the coming holiday season, you should take a look at some creative new building kits from Cardboard Safari.  We at have tried out three of the company’s precision laser-cut project kits and found them to be easy to build and loads of fun for a variety of audiences.

Cardboard Safari designers use various types of cardboard to create everything from real office furniture to desktop art, and wall wreaths and retro toys to a human skull.  We tried out Cardboard Safari’s Human Skull, Astro Rocket, and steampunk or retro Ray Gun with display stand.  The instructions were straightforward and materials sturdy enough that when we were distracted during the World Series we could redo our work without any errors or blemishes in the final product.  They require no glue, but are carefully designed so cardboard components solidly secure the model–something like a snap-tite plastic model kit.  The photo above and first photo below show the final projects we created.

Ray Gun and Rocket Cardboard Safari

When I was a kid my first exposure to model kits was the Gayla Industries Styrofoam board gliders like the F-14 and the Space Shuttle, the West Wings simple balsa gliders, and Guillows rubber band-powered planes.  These were simple three or four step models.  Later I moved into larger styrene gliders, and more advanced balsa and plastic kits.  On a parallel track I grew up with Legos, starting with a basic house set and moving up to the remote-controlled functional car.  You can learn the same building skills with the projects at Cardboard Safari.

The kits range from the beginner to the advanced builder, the Astro Rocket something any kid with basic dexterity could complete with little help from an adult, and the Human Skull and Ray Gun projects more advanced kids could accomplish with patience.  These kits are made with some sturdy cardboard, so as long as you don’t force putting tab A into slot B, the end result will look just like the examples on the company’s website.

Cardboard Safari room

Building things teaches kids patience, self-discipline, technique and skill.  The only advice or reminder a kid might need is “Take your time,” and “don’t force it.”   I used to take typing paper and make three-dimensional boxes and houses and cars with Scotch tape.  Whether or not the end result looked like what I wanted I still had the benefit of doing and trying and appreciating the effort.  But the Cardboard Safari kits aren’t intended for kids alone–they are for builders of all ages–and many of the projects would be appropriate for your office desk or wall.

Check out the Cardboard Safari website here for their variety of models available and reasonable prices.  We’re thinking the office needs the Rocket Table and 32-cent chess set.

C.J. Bunce

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