There is something about dinosaurs. They were such incredible creatures and the very thought of them is enough to spark anybody’s imagination. So enormous, so deadly and so different to anything at all on earth today! That might be why they are so popular with kids, including my own girls. I decided to make them a dinosaur small world in a suitcase for play, and I have to say I enjoyed creating this world at least as much as they will love playing with it.
Would you like to take a look inside?
If you’d like to create a dinosaur world like ours this is a brief run-down of how I made it, although I have to say that you can be as creative as you like when making one of these so don’t feel restricted to the way I’ve done mine.
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You will need
• A papier mache suitcase, I bought ours from a local craft supply store but it looks similar to this one here. Alternatively find an old toy suitcase you are happy to repurpose.
• Good quality acrylic paints
• Felt pieces in assorted colours
• Sparkly glitter foam in blue
• Fabric glue
• Small plastic dinosaurs
• Mod podge or similar paint sealer
• Needle and thread
• Lead pencil, paper and scissors
• Optional modelling clay
• To begin with you’ll need to design the inside of your small world. To do this press a sheet of blank paper into the inside base and inside lid, and cut the paper panels to fit the space exactly. I also cut panels of paper to fit the inside back (where the suitcase is joined) where I wanted to add the cliff and waterfall details
• Sketch a simple outline for the landscape of the small world using lead pencil and use this as a template for your felt pieces. Use double sided tape to stick the paper to the felt and cut along the sketched lines, this will give you felt shapes to exactly fit the inside of your suitcase. Do the same with the blue glitter foam for your waterway.
• Cut out extra felt details to decorate the world like trees and clouds.
• Paint your suitcase. Using a papier mache suitcase required two coats of the same colour of paint, and the yellow spots on top of the green also required two coats of paint for each spot. If you are repurposing an old toy suitcase you’ll probably also need to paint it white first to cover up the existing design (unless you are happy with that one and want to keep it as is).
• Paint the inside edges of your suitcase which are not going to be covered in felt.
• Once the paint is completely dry add a coat of mod podge to make it a bit more strong and durable.
• Glue the felt and glitter foam pieces in using fabric glue.
• Optionally, you can make a nest for the dinosaurs’ eggs. I cut a shape like the one pictured on the bottom right in the collaged image and sewed the seams together, then sewed a second shape exactly the same in a different shade of brown to the bottom of it to make our nest. You could more easily make one from modelling clay though. I made the dinosaur eggs in our nest using orange blu-tack (sticky tack), mainly because I couldn’t find the modelling clay – although I know it is in the craft cupboard somewhere!
• Make a “Roar” speech bubble for the front of the suitcase by sketching the letters and bubble shape onto paper, then sticking them to felt with double sided tape and cutting them out. The easiest way to cut out the individual letters is with a sharp craft knife and cutting mat. Glue it in place with fabric glue.
• Add plastic dinosaurs and viola!
Your dinosaur small world is now ready for play
This is one small world I don’t actually feel like moving into, but it makes for fun and interesting games!
More fun dinosaur crafts
• Create some cool toilet roll dinosaurs
• Make a fun pterodactyl paper puppet using our printable template
• These sparkly paper plate dinosaurs have long been one of our most popular posts
• The kids will LOVE playing with dinosaurs in sticky mud – especially if it smells like chocolate!
• Dinosaurs in Rainbow jelly is lots of messy fun too
• Design your own Dinosaur board game using a cereal box as a base