I'm relatively new to the Doctor Who fandom. I've always had friends who loved the show, but I never got hooked, despite a couple attempts over the years. Back in December 2013, I read this post from Jason Snell and I was inspired to try again, taking his advice to begin with Series 5 of the modern program. As it happened, my two-year-old daughter Penelope was hanging out with me the day I started The Eleventh Hour. Penelope doesn't sit still for much at this point, and live action television or movies can rarely hold her attention for more than a minute. Despite those overwhelming odds, she sat next to me for the entire episode, not even flinching when Prisoner Zero flashed its teeth or the weird giant eyeball (Atraxi) ship was staring The Doctor in the face.
It's been a wild ride in the two months since that first viewing. We watched all of Matt Smith's up to current, then returned to Christopher Eccleston's debut and watched right through David Tennant.
Penelope is just starting to talk, and she started referring to the show as Blue Box. Most days, she greets me at the door when I get home from work. Since we got hooked on The Doctor, that greeting has frequently been:
"Hi Daddy, watch Blue Box please?"
As we moved through the episodes, I started trying to think of a way to make Penelope's experience more than just a bunch of couch potato time with Daddy. One day a few weeks ago, I was moving a big wardrobe box to the garage when it hit me--this box is just about the right scale to be a toddler's TARDIS. I spent a couple weeks thinking about how I wanted to make it work, and ultimately it came together an hour or so at a time over the course of the last three weekends. The steps below aren't the exact order we followed, but now that it's done I think this would have been a more logical way to go.
- 1 Standard Wardrobe Box
- Tempera Paint (White; Blue; Black)
- 2 cabinet handles
- 4 sheets cardstock
- Double-sided tape or Craft Adhesive
- Empty Container for Top Light (I used an empty OxiClean tub)
- Packing Tape (for box assembly)
- Blue Painter's Tape
- Paintbrushes (big for blue coverage, smaller for black sign background, and a fine brush for lettering)
- Utility Knife
- Straight Edge (I used a 48" carpenters level, but a yard stick or other similar thing would work)
Supplies for Bonus TARDIS Key Project:
- Keys (The Hillman Group Axxess+ Model 71 (Yale Lock) for Eleventh Doctor's key)
- Sandpaper (Multiple grits for hand-sanding keys, I used 80, 120, and 220)
1) Prepare the wardrobe box for painting. My box was already assembled and taped, so I left it that way and just wiped the dust off. If you have a brand new box, you may want to paint it first since water-soluble paint and packing tape don't mix well. (More on that later)
2) Paint! And if you're doing this with/for your little one, get them painting as well. I decided right away that this TARDIS didn't need to be perfect, it just needed to be fun for Penelope. After all, she would have had plenty of fun with a plain empty box.
TIP: If your box has logos on it like ours did, attack those first. Load your brush up with a lot of paint and lay it on thick. Kid-friendly paint isn't the best for coverage, so you'll probably need multiple coats on these areas. We decided only to worry about full coverage on the side that would become the front doors.
3) Stop and watch and episode of Doctor Who while the paint dries
4) Flip the box and paint the other side
TIME CHECK: This is where we stopped for the first day - About 1 hour of actual work.