When we were kids, getting new toys was always exciting, especially when they came in a really big cardboard box. There was just something about the mystery the box held that made us giddy. Even if the thing inside was actually quite small, the bigger the box was, the more excited we always felt. Now, don’t get us wrong, we were always grateful for the actual gifts themselves, but on some occasions, the box was actually our favourite part of the whole present. When you’re a kid with a big imagination, cardboard boxes hold endless possibilities and can be transformed into just about anything you please when you’re a DIY enthusiast and know how to get crafty!
Check out these 15 fantastic DIY cardboard crafts that are great opportunities for crafting with your kids. Besides the fact that you can create just about anything you please if you’re creative enough, these crafts are extra affordable and therefore extra awesome!
1. DIY cardboard snowball launcher
When it comes to playing in the snow, the first thought in your head might not be that cardboard is the best material for playing with. Even though it’s thicker than paper, cardboard still breaks down when it’s wet and becomes floppy pretty fast. All For The Boys, however, is here to show you on way to break that rule! Thick cardboard rolls from things like paper towel and gift wrap are thick enough to withstand packed snow that hasn’t started melting yet, making them the perfect tools for making snow toys! Our favourite idea is this snowball shooter that lets kids launch them farther than they could possibly throw it for a really exciting winter day.
2. DIY modular dollhouse
Perhaps your kids area little older and would prefer to work on something calmer, quieter, and a little more detailed than a snowball launcher? Then maybe you’d like this adorable little cardboard dollhouse idea from Deko! We love the way they’ve kept the details simple by drawing them on with black marker for an outlined effect, but you could also get creative and colourful with markers, paints, and even glitter if you have a bit of a flashier style!
3. DIY cardboard guitars
Are your kids budding musicians or avid to learn because they’ve seen you playing the guitar at home? Well, cardboard guitars are easy to make if you just cut the outline but they won’t really strum and your kids will have to use their imaginations when it comes to plucking strings. Make It, Love It, however, has a better idea! They guide you through the process of making a 3D guitar out of layers of cardboard so it has a hollow centre and completing it with tied strings that will actually make a bit of a twanging sound when the kids pluck them.
4. DIY cardboard washing machine
Are your kids reaching that age where they love to play pretend, but they also just want to follow you around and do whatever it is you’re doing? Then why not combine the two and make them some play things that will also help them learn and feel like they’re helping you with the chores? We love this adorable DIY cardboard washing machine idea from Estefi Machado that your kids can actually load!
5. DIY cardboard camper van
Are your kids total budding outdoors enthusiasts who love the summertime because you take them camping and they have free range of the lake and the woods where you settle in each year? Then you probably know exactly how much they miss that feeling of living in fresh air when winter comes. Sure, they can play outside in the snow, but it’s not the same as a full camping experience! To tie them over until your first springtime trip, try making them this absolutely awesome cardboard camper van from The Merry Thought! They’ll be able to have the best imaginary camping experience possible until the season for the real thing comes around again.
6. DIY lumberjack axe
One of the best parts of working with cardboard is that it’s a versatile material, so it can be combined with lots of other materials for maximum crafting capacity. We love the way Make It, Love It used cardboard, wood, and a strip of leather thing to create a toy axe that’s perfect for playing lumber jack!
7. DIY cardboard flip car
Perhaps your kids are a little bit older and becoming interested in tinkering with crafting supplies themselves and making things that actually work, rather than just shapes and pretty things? Then we have a feeling they’ll really enjoy making this awesome flip car by The Cardboard Collective! Their tutorial shows you how to combine cardboard with cork and paper clips to make a little car that actually moves and will drive no matter what side your kids flip it over to as they roll it around the floor with their fingers.
8. Cardboard warrior helmet
Have your kids recently learned about gladiators at school and now they’re obsessed with the idea of leading Roman troops or becoming sword fighting warriors? Then this surprisingly detailed cardboard warrior helmet by All For The Boys is something they’ll get a lot of use out of! These are affordable to make so it’s ok if they’re involved in some rough and tumble games, but they’re also cool looking enough that your kids will want to take care of them while they play which is a great lesson for them to learn.
9. DIY cardboard monster feet
When we were little, and then again when our kids were little, cardboard was a total saviour when it came to making costume pieces. Sure, there are lots of things you can buy in stores that are great for playing dress up, but kids grow fast and the cost of premade dress up clothes can really add up. Instead, we’ve always loved making our own! DIY dress up clothes don’t have to require sewing skills if you’re willing to think creatively and use unconventional materials, so check out these hilarious monster feet from A Happy Wanderer. Your kids will be roaring like little sasquatch babies in no time!
10. DIY cardboard kaleidoscope
Real kaleidoscopes are stunning things to look through at any age, but we find that they’ve become less popular since we were kids. Even so, maybe you’d like to share something you loved from your childhood with your own little ones or perhaps just do a craft with them that involves a little bit more learning about things like reflections. In that case, we think you should check out how Handmade Charlotte created a cool DIY kaleidoscope using simple materials like cardboard and tinfoil!
11. Big cardboard dollhouse
We already showed you one awesome cardboard dollhouse option but what if your style is a little bit more colourful than what you saw previously on our list? In that case, check out how Dollhouse-11 used paints and colourful paper to create an eye catching dollhouse design that’s a whole lot of fun! Spare wall paper, gift wrap, or patterned scrapbooking paper would be great for this!
12. Cardboard roll pumpkin stamp
What if your kids are super DIY enthusiasts who actually spend much more of their time at home crafting than they do playing with toys? Well, cardboard is still a totally useful tool for you! If you’ve never made cardboard stamps before, you’re in for a real treat with this one. Make It, Love It shows you how to combine two empty cardboard toilet rolls to make a rounded paint stamp that’s easily turned into a pumpkin with a little bit of creativity! This is by no means the only shape you can make, but we think it’s a fun one.
13. Cardboard ships
Whether your kids are obsessed with pirates, Vikings, or naval war ships, cardboard is an awesome tool to help them explore their creativity and make what they love. iKatbag shows you how to make awesome cardboard boats that, while not actually good for water, look very accurate and make great props for dolls and figurines. We love the Viking style dragon heads on these ones, but you could make any shape you like!
Have you made other awesome cardboard DIY projects and crafts with and or your kids that they absolutely loved but that you don’t see on our list? Tell us all about how you made them or link us to pictures of your work!