Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Elephant No. 339: Stacked Wooden Boxes

I've always been drawn to boxes and other containers, so when I came across an entire display of inexpensive wooden boxes in a discount store, I of course began playing with them to see if I could make an elephant.

Since there's not much—or rather too much—I can say about boxes or wood, I'll just describe today's activity here.

These are the two boxes I bought.

And these are all the other wooden bits I bought to dress up the basic shape and make it look more like an elephant. Although I knew exactly how I was going to attach the two boxes, I didn't really have any idea how I was going to add ears and the like, but I was sure something would come to me, and I wanted to be prepared.

Using a glue gun, I stuck the smaller box on top of the larger one. This formed the head and body.

Bearing in mind that I wanted to be sure that both boxes would be functional, I was careful about how I attached various accents. I started with the ears, using a series of little wooden spoons. I used six on each side, but didn't worry about the sides matching one another precisely.

I added one spoon down the front next, to serve as a trunk.

Because the trunk was so flat, I added a couple more layers. I also added two small pieces for tusks.

I added a similar small piece to the back for a tail.

Finally, I cut four small pieces of dowel into quarters, bundling them together to form legs.

I then glued all four legs to the bottom of the lower box.

To finish up, I added some pieces on top of the head as a sort of headdress. I hadn't really planned to do this originally, but there was an ugly gap in the veneer on top of the box, so I wanted to cover it.

The elephant was now assembled and ready to paint.

I began by painting almost everything with a medium grey.

Next, I painted pink inside the ears and on the toenails.

I shaded some of the grey next, then added black for eyes and at the end of the tail.

To finish the painting, I used bright colours on the headdress, along with some gold for a few accents.

Along the way, I also tested the boxes, to make sure they still opened and closed easily.

I was a little surprised that I ended up liking this. Before it was painted, I thought it was weird and likely to be quite ugly. Once it was painted, however, I thought it was rather fun. It took me about an hour to design and glue everything, and another hour or so to paint it, so it also wasn't a significant investment of time.

It cost me less than three dollars for the two boxes, so the quality isn't great, and I probably should have sanded everything before painting. But I'm very happy with the final result—particularly because I can also stow things inside it.

Elephant Lore of the Day
Elephants sometimes end up trapped in unusual confined spaces, often as the result of some misadventure.

One day in 1884, a troupe of circus elephants was parading up the busy market thoroughfare of Fortess Road in London's Kentish Town. Suddenly, two of them spooked. This, of course, caused the rest to charge off after them, and soon there were four elephants on the loose in London.

Running down Cathcart Hill, they veered off onto Pemberton Gardens—where two of them promptly fell into a basement. Wedged in rather tightly, there was no way the elephants could climb out on their own. This caused quite a sensation, as the sight of elephants in a household cellar isn't something you see every day.

Eventually someone arrived with rope and a winch, and the elephants were pulled free. They quickly rejoined the other elephants, which had already been corralled by their keepers, and the circus parade continued.

Album page featuring an illustrated version about the runaway elephants,
The Graphic, 1884.

To Support Elephant Welfare


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