The little ones made reindeer treat boxes at daycare and had so much fun with this quick craft (instructions are given below), we had to figure out how to make other kinds of animals out of the same basic triangle box.
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer will probably always be our favorite animal-shaped treat box – it was, after all, the first and made by a much-loved child – but why stick to a holiday theme? Now we’re busy brainstorming for other animals that could be suitable for this craft.
Grandmother will get a cat box for her birthday, filled with the treats her Kitty likes best. We’ll make a puppy dog treat box for ourselves, being a home of dog lovers. And our young friend Jordan (who wants to be a zookeeper when he grows up) will get a lion or tiger trinket box to match his jungle-animal theme bedroom, to keep all his important “stuff” stashed in.
Could a triangle box like this work as a black-and-white cow? A mouse? How about an Easter bunny, or a baby chick? Maybe other birds, too, like a parrot or a penguin? You can probably think of others, too.
But for us, it all started with this one…
How to make a Reindeer Triangle Box
- 1 box in the shape of a triangle, with a lid (our box came the unfinished wood craft supplies section of our local hardware store and it measures about 5 inches from point to point);
- craft paint (brown or tan for the deer, other colors as appropriate if you’re making a different kind of animal) and a paint brush;
- 1 pompom (1/2-inch size is good, black or red);
- 2 googley eyes (any size you like – ours are 1/2 inch);
- 1 or 2 pipe cleaners (chenille-covered wire, in brown, black, white or red);
- glue (white glue or a glue gun, whichever you prefer).
About the Triangle Box:
Our box is made of wood, and you may be able to find a similar box at your local craft supplies store or hardware store, but there are other options if you can’t find a wooden box in the right shape and size.
A papier mache triangle box would do fine, too.
Purim treat boxes are often available in triangle shapes, and they can be painted or covered with sticky-back paper to use for this craft project.
Alternatively, you can make your own triangle-shaped box out of cardstock, cardboard, or even from heavy paper if you want to do that instead of buying a box. We found a lot of different tutorials online for making a triangle box, like this one, and this. Some methods are easier than others – and don’t forget, when deciding which “how to” to follow, you will want to make a lid as well as the box itself.
- Paint the outside of the box and its lid with craft paint – light brown or tan is best for a reindeer – and let dry.
You can also paint the inside, if you want, or line it with pretty paper or fabric, or just leave it plain.
- Put a dab of glue onto one side of the pompom and press it onto the box on one point of the triangle box.
If the lid is fastened on with hinges, as it is with our box, be sure to glue the pompom nose on the bottom point – the one that furthest away from the hinges.
- Place the googley eyes onto the box at what looks like a good placement for eyes, in relation to the pompom nose, then glue them in place.
If you’re not sure exactly where the eyes should go, try different positions until you like the effect – are the eyes more or less level, even with the top or hinged edge of the box, and are they both about the same distance in from the sides? If so, mark lightly with a pencil so you’ll know where they do, then put a spot of glue on the back of each and press them gently in place.
- While the glue is drying, bend your pipe cleaner to make the reindeer’s antlers.
If you want a big fancy rack of antlers for your reindeer, twist two pipe cleaners together to make one long piece so you can bend the end into wiggly antler shapes. If you want shorter antlers that are easier for very young children to make, just use one pipe cleaner – that’s what the kids did at daycare, and we like the short antlers just fine.
To make a simple set of antlers: Pinch the pipe cleaner in your fingers about 1/3 of the way in from each end and bend it up in a sharp angle. Repeat at the other end of the pipe cleaner, about 1/3 of the way in from the end. You will wind up with a shape like a squared-off letter U, where the arms are the antlers.
- Glue the straight piece of pipe cleaner (the base of the U shape) onto the end of the box lid at the end furthest away from the nose – that is the top of the reindeer’s head.
So, that’s how you make a triangle box into a reindeer.
More Ideas for Animal Triangle Boxes
Use a brown or pink pompom for the nose, instead of Rudolph’s red nose, and add short lengths of fishing line or stiffened thread for whiskers. Instead of pipecleaner antlers, glue on felt triangles for the cat’s ears.
Choose a brown or black pompom for the nose, and glue on big floppy ears made of felt. If you like, glue a short piece of red ribbon or felt to under side of the lid at the lower point of the triangle, for the dog’s tongue.
Paint the box white or grey instead of brown, give your mouse a pink pompom nose, and add whiskers of stiffened thread or fishing line. For ears, cut two circles of felt and gather or fold the edge at one point to make it take on a slightly cupped shape, then glue on to the lid quite close to each corner. You can also add two white teeth of felt to the underside of the lid below the nose, if you like.
Look at some pictures of Holstein cows to help you decide how to paint your box in black and white patches. You may want to draw on the pattern lightly with pencil first, to help you get the painting right. Use a larger black pompom or a piece of felt for the nose. For the ears, glue on large pieces of felt cut into elongated oval shapes.
Easter Bunny / Rabbit:
Paint your box white and use a pink pompom for the nose. A few whiskers of stiffened thread or fishing line would work well for a rabbit, too. Add pieces of white felt for buck teeth, and give your bunny a pair of big long floppy ears cut out of white felt. If you want to be fancy, cut a second pair of ear shapes (slightly smaller) out of pink felt and glue these on top of the white ears before you attach them to the box. Instead of white, you could also make a grey rabbit if you want.
Chick/ Parrot / Penguin / Other Birds:
We haven’t tried making any bird triangle treat boxes yet, but we’ve been talking about how to do it. The idea we’re thinking of right now is to paint the box in the right color(s) for the bird, glue on the googley eyes quite a bit closer together than we’d put them for a furry animals, and maybe paint on a beak (in yellow or orange) on the lowest point of the triangle box – or glue on a triangular piece of felt to make the beak, we haven’t decided yet. As a finishing touch, it would be fun to glue on a few feathers (from a craft supply store or from an old feather pillow, depending on what’s available and what you need) on the top of the bird’s head, as they don’t have antlers like the reindeer or noticeable ears like the other animals.