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Build a Cardboard Castle

This is a great rainy day project, if you have already collected some toilet paper and paper towel rolls and various small cardboard boxes.

Most of the cardboard is thin enough for a child to cut. I dismantled all the boxes and turned them inside out to hide the labels, but I think a colorful castle would be nice, too. See the little round tower on the corner? That is called a bartizan. We cut slits in a toilet paper roll to stick it onto the wall. The skinny white tower to the left is a garderobe….a latrine. It hangs over the outside wall and empties into the moat, or in this case, into the lake. The tall towers have merlons, (square blocks which defenders could hide behind,) and crenels, the spaces in between, for shooting at the enemy.

This is a great rainy day project, if you have already collected some toilet paper and paper towel rolls and various small cardboard boxes.

Most of the cardboard is thin enough for a child to cut. I dismantled all the boxes and turned them inside out to hide the labels, but I think a colorful castle would be nice, too.  See the little round tower on the corner? That is called a bartizan.  We cut slits in a toilet paper roll to stick it onto the wall. The skinny white tower to the left is a garderobe….a latrine. It hangs over the outside wall and empties into the moat, or in this case, into the lake. The tall towers have merlons, (square blocks which defenders could hide behind,) and crenels, the spaces in between, for shooting at the enemy.
My son wanted me to work with him. It was fun to collaborate. And it was fun to see what he remembered from our last trip to the Chateau de Chillon. He remembered that people of the middle ages used the water of Lac Leman right outside the castle both for sewage and drinking water…ugh.
Look at this delightful watermill he made. It is fun to see what the shapes of the cardboard will suggest. The watermill is made from some dividers from a box containing jam jars.
He used my ink brush to add details.
And he remembered about the shingled catwalks, which are called allures. Of course, a castle needs defenses, like the cannon you can see above.
Here are some inspirations for you, pictures from the Chateau de Chillon.
Look at the sundial on the side of this building.  Do you see those curved supports under the roof?  These projections are called machiolations.  Defenders could drop missiles on attackers from there.
Can you see the narrow windows, through which defenders could shoot arrows on attackers?  They are called arrow loops, or meurtrieres, which means “murderers” in French.
We think of castles as being made of exposed stone, like this, but this castle had stucco spread over the stones, as shown in the picture below.
This wooden gallery on top of a wall is the allure.  It is fun to walk in an allure and look down into the courtyards on each side.  Inner courtyards are called baileys, or wards.
This tower on the right is called the keep, or donjon.  It was the last refuge of the castle owners and was very difficult to penetrate.
What kind of castle features are you going to build?
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Written by Beth Curtin