DLTK's Crafts for Kids
Thomas the Tank Engine Shoebox Train
Thanks to Wendy for
sharing these photos!
"I spray painted the boxes then
used a salt container (that I just
happened to finish that very week)
and enlarged the Thomas Craft on
your site. I also added 3 black
circles to the sides and a #1 out of
foamies." (see below)
Click here for images
of the train made by
Scotty and Tristan.
Thanks so much to Tamara (and her son William) for sending in this idea!
- 1 large shoebox
- 1 small shoebox (i.e. For toddler size shoes)
- Paint: blue, red, black, yellow, gray[made by mixing black and white] (we used washable watercolors and it took several
- coats with drying time between each one to get good coverage. There is probably an easier way to do it than we did---a different kind of paint that would coat better but we just used what we had on hand)
- Glue (we used tacky glue)
- toilet paper roll or cardboard tube,
- Yellow foam and/or circle/rectangle foam shapes
- large wiggly eyes
- Leanne's templates from the Thomas paper craft: face and bumper (see below)
- (optional) thin doweling (we used 3/16")
- (optional) 3" round woodsies (size can be adjusted/changed to fit the relative size of your train)
- (optional) drill and drill bit (and adult assistance on this part of course!!)
- (optional) use the template from Wendy for the wheels.
Note: Might help to have a picture or model of Thomas on hand to refer to regarding details of decoration.
1. Paint the shoeboxes mostly blue; the front of the large box and
the lid of the small box should be black as well as the toilet paper
roll. Let dry. Repeat as many times as necessary to get desired
2. Glue the small shoe box to the top back end of the large shoebox lid so it resembles the general form of the train with the driver compartment at the back end.
3. Cut small slits (4 should do it) around one end of the toilet paper roll so they fold out easily. Apply glue to the flaps and position it in front of the drive compartment on top of the large box.
4. Paint a black circle inside two yellow foam circles leaving a yellow border around the edge. Glue to the small box on either side of the smokestack.
5. Paint a black rectangle inside two yellow foam rectangles leaving a yellow border around the edge. Glue to the small box on the right and left edges.
6. I also rough free cut two small whistle pieces out of yellow foam and glued them between the two round windows behind the smoke stack.
7. Print out the template from the Thomas paper craft and paint the face gray. Glue two large wiggly eyes where the eyes are and glue the whole face to the front of the large box.
8. Refer to a picture or model of Thomas to help you in painting the red stripes and yellow #1 to either side and the back.
(you can stop here or if you are really ambitious like us and your child is intensely interested in trains like my son is, you can go on and add wheels as follows)
9. Poke 3 aligned holes along the bottom edge of either side of the large box and insert a doweling in each one as an axel. You may need to clip the doweling down to size, leaving only 1/2"-1" sticking out each side.
10. Drill a hole the size of the doweling through the center of 6 round woodsies. Paint them black and let dry. Once dry, apply glue around the opening and place one wheel on each end of the dowelings. Let dry.
11. Color or paint the bumper template as Leanne directs in the Thomas paper craft, cut out and glue to the bottom front edge of the train.
Possible variations: by using the Percy or James template and changing the paint colors and decorations, you could make some of Thomas' friends instead or as well. Also, I have a rough idea in my head of how this might resemble Thomas a bit more if we had used something like a round oatmeal container for the front or part of it anyway to be more rounded like Thomas. But I haven't tried it. If someone else does, I'd love to see how it turns out.