Assembly is fairly straight forward, but it's definitely a job for grown ups or skilled older kids.
- Cardstock, white paper
- Craft-quality glue stick or tacky glue and toothpick; repositionable glue stick
- Scissors, craft knife, chopstick, scoring tool (like inkless ballpoint pen)
- Markers, stickers, whatever for embellishing the mailbox and cards
- You can print and cut out the template on cardstock and trace it onto whatever paper or card you want - or make life a little easier by printing a copy on paper, cutting loosely around the mailbox and extra parts (the support piece, the door handle, and the key) and lightly gluing them to your cardstock with a repositionable glue stick or spray adhesive. Then carefully cut out along the dark solid lines and score and fold along the dashed and dotted lines with the template still in place. (If you've glued the template to the right side, just follow the mountain versus valley fold lines as marked - but reverse them if you glue it to the wrong side.) Don't forget to use a craft knife to cut out 3 sides of the lower door (the one for the elf mailman to use to remove the mail) and cut out the keyhole too, because it does kind of work with the key.
- Remove the template, and assemble the mailbox, using a glue stick or tacky glue applied with a toothpick. First, glue the support piece to the underside of the shelf that connects to the pull-down door (A in my template). The tabs will fold up next to the door (you'll glue them to the inner sides in a minute). Glue the handle to the door.
- Cut out the little triangle-y parts around the part that curves over the top if you haven't already done so. (It's easier to do the folds before you cut them out.)
- Fold the main part into a box shape, and secure by gluing the long tab to the edge it meets. You may have to reach inside from both the top and bottom to pinch it or use your chopstick to get it to stick well. Then fold the shelf and door into position and glue the little tabs of the support piece just in front of the pull-down door - this isn't absolutely necessary, but it does make everything more stable when you open and close the door to drop the letters in.
- Fold up the bottom and glue its tabs in place. You may need to use a chopstick or something to reach in and rub the surfaces together.
- Rub glue on the triangle tabs on both sides of the curved top piece and position them carefully. This is a bit tricky. Again, a chopstick is useful for reaching inside for the gluing.
- Cut out some cards and envelopes. Have your kid dictate notes and maybe decorate the fronts with mini artwork or tiny stickers. (You can also enlarge the notes 200%, write them and then reduce 50% to make it easier if you're at the reading glasses stage of life like I am.) Then let your kid post his mail!