Doors, Drawers & Windows: Making Interactive Books and Boxes with Randi Parkhurst – Day 1

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The first day of Randi Parkhurst‘s workshop, Doors, Drawers & Windows: Making Interactive Books and Boxes really made my brain stretch and took me out of my comfort zone multiple times. I never worked on this type of project before and that’s why I took the class – to push my creative self.


We worked toward completing an adorable little house with doors that opened…

Handmade house by Randi Parkhurst

…windows that slid…

Handmade house by Randi Parkhurst

…doors that slid and windows that swiveled. Seeing all of these mechanisms was intimidating at first.

Handmade house by Randi Parkhurst

Thankfully, our very first task was easy. Take brown paper, crumple it up, open it up and then and paint it with watercolors. That I could do.

Watercolor painted papers

Once that was done, we started to work on our house parts. Randi uses mat board for her structures. A great tip she gave us – if you get mat board with fabric on it, it’s really just bookcloth. Peel it off and you can use it for another project. GENIUS.

Bookcloth peeled off of mat board

Each window was made of layers of foam core, mat board, and clear plastic to simulate glass. We covered our pieces with the painted papers to give them interest.

Mat board window frame covered in colored paper

Mat board window frame covered in colored paper

We even trimmed out our windows, just like real windows. Which of course, they were.

Completed sliding window frame

There’s no way I could describe the steps to you – there was meticulous work done here and thankfully, Randi had cut many of the pieces in advance. If you’re interested in making one of these fabulous houses, definitely take the class. You have to see it done in person.

I’ll admit that I turned into one of those people:

“Wait. What did you say?”

“What are we doing?”

“Where am I gluing this thingie?”

It was sad.

But I soldiered on. The swivel window was a bit easier. It was composed of an outer frame and in inner frame that spun on a dowel. The mechanism was pretty cool.

Mat board window frame covered in colored paper

Unfortunately, I made my hole too big and my window flopped around instead of turning smoothly. I did my best to fill in the hole to tighten up the dowel, which improved things a bit.

I didn’t get to finish my swivel window today, so I’ll have to go in early tomorrow and complete it.

Randi’s quote of the day:

“Triangles suck.”

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