Recently my wife was planning our daughter’s Peppa Pig birthday party. While doing so she came across a picture wherein someone made a 2D cardboard representation of the red Peppa Pig family car to be used to take pictures with. This was a great idea. However, I didn’t think that would be nearly as much fun as a “real” 3D Peppa Pig car that my daughter could get inside and pretend to drive.
Creating the shape/body:
To begin I went out to our garage to look for a box suitable for this project. We had a nice box from a stroller/car seat combo that looked just about right. The tools I used for the basic construction included a hot glue gun, scissors, utility knife, pen/marker, tape and a tape measure.
I drew freehand to make the initial curve for the front of the car. I then used the piece I cut from the one side as a template to mark/cut the other side. As you can see, I left the bottom flap on the box, this will become the front nose of the car. Inside the box I added triangular shaped support “beams” that I made from the two flaps that got cut off when I made the side profile cuts. These are perfect for the job as they are the same height as the box itself.
Next, I attached some small flaps to the bottom main flap of the box to be used to secure the main flap to the new contour of the box side. In the picture you can see where I should have at least put those small flaps inside the box before having had glued the other side. I was trying to keep the attachment flaps on the inside of the box so that the outside would remain “smooth-ish”. However, with the papier-mâché I did in a later step, any attachment flaps put on the outside ended up being hidden and smoothed over.
Now that nap time was over for our kids, I needed to hide the Peppa car in our bedroom if I was to continue work without my daughter’s knowledge.
My next step was to make a cutout for the top of the car. I drew some lines so that some of the cardboard could be used as a dashboard, and the rear part as a reinforcement as well as a way to hide the rear side supports (not yet installed), and really the rest of the inside of the rear of the car.
Now, I moved on to the rear contour. For the back, I didn’t start the contour cut until after the main bottom flap (box half), but otherwise, I did the same thing I did for the front contour. Also as with the front, I used the removed box flaps to make the rear supports. Each flap gets 3 lines cut into it as shown in the image just above. Then I folded them into a triangle and put hot glue on one of the short edges. Once the glue was set on the one edge I glued the other edge and formed the triangle.
For the front and rear hood/deck contour I found some large pieces of cardboard with the lines/grain running the width of the car to facilitate curving the piece. I folded a small flap along the bottom of the hood piece and hot glued that to the bottom flap that was already on the car. I tried to keep gluing flaps on the inside of the hood piece, but ultimately this proved impossible near the top. With the dashboard and support beams installed I was hardly able to get my hands in behind the hood, let alone get hot glue on the tabs.
Paint and body work:
Next we moved back to the living room once the kids were asleep for the night. I wanted to do papier-mâché so that there wouldn’t be any seams, and I also hoped it would cover the attaching flaps used on the outside of the body.
Fortunately the papier-mâché did cover all of the spots as I had hoped. One thing I did not anticipate was how water logged the cardboard beneath would get. If not for the support beams I installed, the Peppa car may have died right there. If I did something like this again, I think I would cover the entire car in some tape to give the boxes beneath some water resistance.
Once dry, the Peppa car looked a little wavy. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t have anytime to try any fixes. I did however use some tape along the bottom on the one side. The papier-mâché had some bubbles and spots lifting after it dried. But the paint soaked right into it and fixed most of that. We used regular latex house paint, and were able to find a perfect Peppa Pig red car color.
Adding the finishing touches:
I used some automotive grade vinyl material for the body lines (you can get scraps of this stuff at the smaller sign shops willing to deal with individuals). The material comes in rolls and can easily be cut into strips. I used a paper plate to draw and outline for the wheel outlines, then thickened the lines with a thick black marker. For the hood line, I did the same thing, but I used an 18″ cardboard cake circle. (And don’t worry, we put ears on Peppa before the party started!)
I used LibreOffice to create some oval outlines on the computer. Then I just used the printout as a template to cutout the headlight and headlamp bezel from construction paper.
The final piece of the Peppa car was the windshield frame. I took a flat piece of cardboard of the right width and ruled out five 1.5″ sections. Next I folded up the top of the frame and hot glued it down. With the bottom portion of the cardboard sheet, I made a left and a right bar with five 1.5″ sections each. The portion below the bottom line is discarded. Then, I cut the left and right sides at the bottom of the top of the frame through to the last section, discarding the center piece. I left two tabs of the bottom squares on each side to fold into for a flat base. The final step was to cover the the windshield frame with painter’s tape to make it blue (as well as give it strength and cover the holes on the end of the top of the frame).
The finished car:
My daughter had a small pink chair that I put in so she could sit down. The car turned out to be a huge success. My daughter loved it and had a great time playing in it. My wife predicted that I would still be working on the car at 2:30 (when the party started at 2:00 lol). Though she was right, it was only the windshield frame that I was still finishing. The car held up pretty well, especially after my daughter got in and out of it a dozen times. The windshield proved to be an especially attractive hand hold and ended up detaching somewhat soon after being installed.
How long the red Peppa car will last is unknown. We’ll probably keep it for a little while at least. This project did take a while to make. Total time was about 6-7 hours over 3 days- 1 hour body construction phase 1, 1.25 hours body construction phase 2, 1.5 hours for papier-mâché, 45 minutes to paint, 2 hours of finishing touches. I didn’t actually keep track of the time. I tried to look through my photo timestamps, but I didn’t always snap a shot at the beginning and end of each time I worked on the car. I had considered putting a plywood sheet underneath the car- that way I could raise the car up on blocks to add the wheels- but I ended up running out of time. This ended up being somewhat of a blessing, as the car was already a bit too tall to start. In addition, the car is probably just plain safer with the bottom of the box as the floor.
I’m really happy with the way everything worked out. Our Peppa party was a great success and the car was a hit as well. The smiles on my daughter’s face were well worth the time and effort and few dozen first degree glue burns, lol.