Cardboard Animals

If you search for “cardboard animals” on Google, guess what the number one link is? That’s right! It’s my blog posts about all of the cardboard animal construction we did at work a couple of years ago. It’s about time, too. I’ve been in the top ten for quite a while, but I finally outplaced a few other sites about making small scale animal cutouts out of cardboard. :-)

Happy birthday, Michael!

Happy birthday, Lynn! This is a very special limited edition combination cardboard animal clam plus underwater diorama all in one!

Happy birthday, Delores!

Carrie and I finished JP’s diorama at work today (his birthday is tomorrow). This one might need a little bit of explanation after the jump.


Now that the “Age of the Giant Cardboard Animals” has passed, a new age has dawned. The “Age of the Dioramas” is upon us. In response to growing anticipation, Carrie and I unveiled the first three “beta” dioramas. We’ve got a little ways to go to get these up to the quality of the cardboard animals, but you have to start somewhere.

We decided to go with Dioramas for several reasons:

  • We wanted something with a little more room to be creative than the cardboard animals allowed. We wanted to expand into vegetables and minerals as well.
  • Camels and zebras, even cardboard ones, are not known for their portablility. The dioramas can be worked on at home (at least partially) to put an end to late night animal building binges.
  • We wanted something smaller because our crowded office space was getting even more cramped. This made for some interesting office politics (why does the giraffe get more space than the VP?).
  • And finally, we needed something different because some potential corporate investors just don’t see the humor in giant cardboard animals (not naming names).

The first dioramas are of a confused camel (?) in the desert, a hockey game using a turtle for the puck, and a crazy monkey eating a Dairy Queen banana split in the middle of the jungle. Astute observers of cardboard animal history will notice a pattern here. Those coworkers who were fortunate enough to receive cardboard animals last year will have that animal included in their dioramas this year. Next year, all bets are off.

I dug my old yearbook out of the attic and scanned a picture of the Original Cardboard Animal. My friend Jeremy and I built “The Burro” in our junior year of college and we set him up in the computer lab in the library where we both worked. You will also notice “The Squirrel” in the upper right corner of the photo. I’ve got a few other college yearbook pictures in my personal gallery.

Long story, but it started out so simply. Carrie “decorated” her boss’s office for his birthday. And by decorate, I basically mean trashed with streamers, confetti, balloons, bubble wrapping all the stuff on his desk, and a bunch of old mice and keyboards hanging from the ceiling. Then she started doing that for everyone’s birthday, and then I started helping her. Things went on for an entire year like that, culminating in a couple of us (with extra help from my wife) completely filling Carrie’s office with balloons for her birthday (we’re talking hundreds and hundreds of balloons, plus a bunch of inflatable pool toys, all blown up by hand).

Once we reached that point, I convinced Carrie that doing something crazy for birthdays was fine, but the trashing the office thing was getting a little old. So it was up to me to find a replacement for trashing the offices. Back in college my friend Jeremy and I once built a large cardboard burro in the computer lab in the library (where we both worked as tech assistants). I don’t exactly remember how we got to the point where that seemed like a good idea, but we did. A picture of the burro made the yearbook that year, and I guess I really need to get my yearbook down from the attic so I can scan in the photo and post the “original” carboard animal.

Anyway, I managed to talk Carrie into building people giant cardboard animals for their birthdays. It started with a sheep that was maybe three feet high or so and eventually we built a giraffe that was taller than the nine foot ceilings (his head went up one ceiling tile and came down another). The response around the office has been, needless to say, extremely positive. After all, who doesn’t want to come into work one day to a giant cardboard animal?

So now that we’ve built cardboard animals for an entire year, we’re ready to move on to whatever the next thing will be. After building about 25 animals in all, we pretty much need to pick something a little smaller and easier to build/make/whatever because the animals took a lot of time outside normal work hours, and we spend enough time here already. So the birthday deal for this coming year probably won’t be as physically large as the animals, but hopefully we’ll still manage to come up with something wacky and creative.

We made a quite a few cardboard animals at work before I started this blog, so I thought I’d go ahead and add links to all of the earlier animals, too. I put the thumbnails after the jump and I’ve used smaller thumbnails than normal to save time loading the page.


Happy birthday, Ron!

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