Gypsy tribes historically consisted of Romani natives driven from their homes. To cope, these people developed caravans so they could travel in large family groups. The caravans were typically colourful and heavily designed. Eventually, these caravans became synonymous with fortunetelling and stylised gypsy culture. Whether you're a ROM yourself or simply want to teach your children about other cultures, building a gypsy caravan is one way to celebrate diversity and cement lessons. These little model caravans also make eclectic decorations.
Cut a piece of canvas fabric about 6 inches by 8 inches long. No matter the size of your box, the canvas must be twice as wide as the short ends of the box. In this case, multiply three by two to get six. Add 1 inch to the canvas length for seam allowances, in this case seven plus one.
Fold over 1/2 inch of the 6 inch ends and stitch them down to create a smooth edge on either end of the canvas.
Paint both the canvas and the two boxes with bright colours. Choose three of your favourite colours from bright purples, blues, greens, yellows, oranges and reds. Allow the paint to dry for at least 2 hours.
Add designs to your caravan with gold paint. Paint scrollwork along the canvas and along the sides of the large box. Embellish the work with leaves and stripes.
Cut four pieces of wire about 12 inches long and bend them into wide U-shapes about 6 inches wide. These U-shapes are the frame for the top of your gypsy caravan.
Flip over your canvas so you can see the plain side. Hot-glue the rounded base of each U-shape to the canvas, starting just behind the hem on one of the short sides and spacing the wires about 3/4 inch apart.
Run beads of hot glue up the arms of each U. Bring up the sides of the canvas and press them into the arms of the wires, creating a curved canvas roof for your caravan.
Run a bead of hot glue along each of the lower edges of the canvas roof. Slide the roof down into your box.
Hot-glue the small box along the bottom of one of the short sides of the large box, creating a place for the caravan driver to sit.
Hot-glue your four wagon wheels to the four corners of your gypsy caravan. You can get these wheels at local craft stores; look in the model-building and dollhouse furniture sections.
Things you need
- Canvas fabric
- Needle and thread
- Acid-free cardboard box: 3-by-7 inches
- Acid-free cardboard box: 1/2-by-3 inches
- 12 gauge steel wire
- Wire nips
- Hot glue
- Model wagon wheels