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I really enjoyed making things out of cardboard as a kid and my daughter (10) loves physical construction as well. Some of the things I'd like to provide her tools for :

  • Easily cutting cardboard

  • Connecting Cardboard. I'm thinking maybe brads.

What would be a good selection of materials and tools to provide my daughter that would allow her to make cardboard-based construction projects safely? What level of supervision would be required given the materials recommended?

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Those are called brads. :) –  Aarthi Sep 20 '11 at 14:01
    
Thanks! I could NOT remember the name. –  Clay Nichols Sep 20 '11 at 14:09
    
I've edited the question a bit. Feel free to roll the edits back if you think the edits deviate from your intent. –  Beofett Sep 20 '11 at 14:11
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Brads are particularly cool because then she can make joints that can move, like a waving arm or some such. I used to make hand fans out of cardstock and brads when I was younger. They wore out fast, though. –  Aarthi Sep 20 '11 at 14:35
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2 Answers

[I'm reposting my answer from your cardboard-cutting question at DIY.SE here, since it was closed there as off-topic.]

When I was the age to be cutting holes in cardboard boxes for fun, the tool I had was a serrated knife — I think it was sold as a very cheap steak knife. The blade was, basically as dull as a letter opener (and somewhat flexible), but the serrations made it quite effective at cutting cardboard like a saw, either neatly or roughly depending on the force applied. It did have an end pointy enough to require some care, but that was never a problem that I recall. It also makes a great noise when cutting a large panel, especially the side of a box, as the cardboard vibrates.

I don't have any specific product recommendations as this was a few decades ago, but I do want to emphasize that this is a dull knife — the serrations do the work. I think this may be the principle used by "won't break skin" kids' woodworking tool sets, also, but I haven't ever tried one of those.

(This is for corrugated cardboard. On non-corrugated cardboard, the serrated knife will still work but the cut will have a thicker edge of torn-up fibers.)

As to fastening cardboard, I always used clear package-sealing tape. (It's much better looking, and less messy, than duct tape.) You can't peel it off to reuse the cardboard without possibly stripping off a layer from the cardboard, but you can cut the tape and leave it on, if you don't mind the looks.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

Powered scissors work very well. My 10 year old daughter can use them independently.

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