Paint sample cards come in a variety of designs, and in each design there are hundreds of great colors. They're designed to sell paint, of course, and we picked them up for that purpose, as we're planning interior and exterior repainting. But as we eliminated some of our many color options and Z greedily collected the cards, I began to see their colorful card stock as an intriguing toy-building material.
Materials needed for this project: Paint sample chips, four tea lights, two yellow buttons, two red buttons, tape, a pen, and a craft stick.
This bus is built using three kinds of paint chips. You can see two of them here - one has "windows," one doesn't. Add a few buttons for headlights and taillights, the metal rims from four tealights (they're taped to the bottom of the bus, and don't roll), and a pen for a few details, and you have yourself a vehicle. I folded about a 1/4" edge of each of the wall pieces to create a lip to attach the floor to. We never even used scissors.
The third kind, a single-color 3x4" single-color chip hawking premium paints, made great bench seating and also created the back of the bus. Whoops! No rear window. The seating just shines - I can't get over how great the colors make even the most ramshackle homemade toy look good.
I considered cutting out the windshield and making a driver's seat, but that was beyond our immediate needs and would have killed the beauty of our rapid-fire development cycle. Z was thrilled with how quickly our project came together and was perfectly happy to populate the bus and let the driver remain two-dimensional.
Problems with the doorjamb, which you may have noticed a couple of photos ago...
The craftier among you might elect to hide your tape seams and offer a bit stronger structure for long-term use, but part of the beauty of this project is that I was able to build quickly enough to keep her interest while keeping her sense of involvement intact. The project never got so complicated that it had to be perfect, and while the bus won't last long, she's having a blast with it. I'd love to see what someone with more time on their hands made of the great, and completely free, resource of paint sample chips that is yours for the taking at your local hardware store.
Incidentally, the little folks filling up her bus are the people from her several Fisher-Price Sweet Streets playsets. Highly recommended!