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20 Fun Cardboard Box House Ideas

By Elisha Baba


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Still trying to think of a way to recycle that giant cardboard box? It might be time to consider turning it into a cardboard house for your child to play in. Not only will they love having their own space to go and spend time, but cardboard box houses are also easier on the budget than other types of playhouses on the market while being more customizable!

cardboard box house

If you aren’t quite sure where to start, don’t fret, and take a browse through these awesome cardboard box house ideas.

Easy Ways To Turn A Cardboard Box Into An Awesome Playhouse

1. Two Box Home

cardboard box house Two Box Home

This first cardboard box home on the list is this two-box home that requires one box large enough for your child to comfortably sit in, as well as a smaller box you can cut up to design the roof and chimney. This example featured on Charcoal and Crayons even went so far as to buy an inexpensive knob for the door! How cute!

2. Simple Cardboard House

cardboard box house Simple Cardboard House

If you only have one box available to use for your child’s playhouse, then check out this idea on Mom’s Daily Adventures. You will need some material to make a roof, such as packing material, but you can also just use card stock or even a lightweight blanket! When cutting out the windows and doors, it’s best to use a ruler to ensure your lines are straight so your child doesn’t end up with a crooked door. You can also use a black marker to add details to the house, such as a brick design or other patterns.

3. Colorful Upscale Home

cardboard box house Colorful Upscale Home

For those who plan to keep their cardboard box home around for a while, it might be a good idea to paint it and outfit it with some basic conveniences. Check out this home featured in Artsy Craftsy Mom that is painted in beautiful bold colors, wallpapered on the inside, and even has curtains! The best part is, you don’t even have to spend money to add these features, leftover paint (or paint samples) can be the wall paint, leftover wallpaper from your DIY home project can decorate the inside, and spare bolts of fabric can become the curtains.

4. Cardboard Log Cabin

caradboard box house Cardboard Log Cabin

This next cardboard box house featured in Craigslist Dad is definitely going to take some planning, mainly because you will have to save a ton of paper towel, toilet paper, and wrapping paper rolls to create the log cabin look. The base cardboard box is still the same, and you can always create the basic house and add cardboard rolls to the exterior as you go. Building this type of log cabin cardboard home can be a great opportunity to teach your child about history!

5. Totally Rad Cardboard Dome

Okay, this cardboard dome isn’t going to be the easiest to build, but when it is finished, your child will love it! A cardboard dome like this will give your child more space than a traditional cardboard box house, while still being a nifty way to recycle that box! Do note that this project does take some time, and you’ll need to cut lots of triangles, but the end result is worth it! You can find the instructions to create this unique project on Tales of a Monkey, a Bit, and a Bean.

6. Collapsible Slot Cardboard Box House

cardboard box house Collapsible Slot Cardboard Box House

Maybe you don’t want a cardboard box house always taking up space in your home, and that’s understandable, which is why we love this slot cardboard house by Project Little Smith. The pieces of cardboard used to make the house are cut so that they can be assembled by sliding the pieces into the slots. And this makes it easy to disassemble the house and put it in a corner (or behind the couch!) when guests come over without having to mess with glue or tape. This also makes it easy to let your child decorate this cardboard home as you can lay the pieces flat on the floor and let them color on them with a marker or crayon.

7. European Style Cardboard House

Cardboard box house European Style Cardboard House

When you’re cutting windows and taping together a cardboard roof, you really do have the freedom to design the cardboard box house in any way you want! Check out this European style cardboard box house by Mia Kinoko. The only major changes between this house and the aforementioned ones on the list is the size and placement of the windows, and the design of the roof—all simple changes to make to really transform the look of your cardboard box house.

8. Cute Cardboard Castle

cardboard box house Cute Cardboard Castle

Do you have a little prince or princess on your hands? Then consider creating this totally adorable cardboard castle as featured on Twitchetts. This project is quite simple, as you will only need to make walls and cut them in the shape of castle turrets (though you can make a roof if you so desire) and then you will use fabric to decorate the castle and create the door. This project can be great for a dress-up playdate or a themed birthday party.

9.  Simple Cardboard Tent

cardboard box house Simple Cardboard Tent

Parenting is exhausting, and you may not have the time or energy left at the end of the day that it takes to design and construct a cardboard house. You can save time and effort by creating this adorable cardboard tent as outlined in Handmade Charlotte. This project is neat because it doesn’t require as big of a box as building a full cardboard house does, so this is a good idea if the box you have on hand isn’t quite big enough for a cardboard house.

10. Haunted Cardboard Box Home

cardboard box house Haunted Cardboard Box Home

Around Halloween time, you can make your cardboard box house the haunt of the neighborhood with a few additional steps. You’ll just have to pick up some fake webs, plastic spiders, and black paint and you are in business! You can even take it a bit further like this example in Happy Toddler Playtime and grab some foam web and pumpkin cut outs to glue to the house. Alternatively, white paint can be used to paint spooky sayings on the sides of this spooky cardboard box house.

11. Savvy Cardboard Camper

cardboard box house Savvy Cardboard Camper

This cardboard box home idea from The Merry Thought is great for kids who love to pretend they are traveling around the world. You will need two cardboard boxes for this project, as well as some imagination, as you’ll have to bend the cardboard to create the airstream shape. After you’ve created the base, cut windows where they would normally be found on an airstream and paint the project with gray or silver paint to get the full effect. This project is perfect for families with multiple children because the airstream can be built large enough for two or even three kids!

12. Quick And Easy Cardboard Home

cardboard box house Quick And Easy Cardboard Home

Featured on She Knows, this cardboard box house with one open wall is the perfect solution when you have a box that isn’t quite large enough to fit your child. All you will need is a single cardboard box and some tape. And not only that, but this playhouse is also collapsible if you tape it just as outlined in the directions, and thus you can fold this cardboard home and save it for another day.

13. Funky Barnhouse

cardboard box house Funky Barnhouse

For those with kids who love to pretend they are animals, construct them this funky barn cardboard house featured on See Vanessa Craft. This project does require a rather large box, red and white paint, and some black felt to create the roof—though you could use black paint if you wanted. Go all out and place some silk sunflowers through the wall underneath the window for an extra farmhouse vibe.

14. Cardboard Home For Your Furry Friend

cardboard box house

If your kids are too old for cardboard box homes, or maybe you don’t have children, you can still repurpose that large cardboard box as a home for your pet! Pets are typically smaller than children (and less picky when it comes to décor) so you’ll be free to design the cardboard box home however you please. Just be sure to set your pets favorite pillow or blanket on the inside to encourage them to use their new space. Check out this awesome example of a cat house featured on The Green Mad House to get some ideas.

15. Painted Outdoor Cardboard Home

cardboard box house Painted Outdoor Cardboard Home

Living in a drier, warmer climate, has its perks, and one of those is that you can build your child’s cardboard playhouse outside. This way it isn’t taking up room in your living room. You can even paint the cardboard house to match the paint scheme of your home like this example in Project Nursery. Don’t forget to add some painted grass, or maybe even some painted bushes around the base of the home—oh, and bring in the cardboard house if the weather is predicting rain!

16. Cardboard House Village

cardboard box house Cardboard House Village

Have multiple children? Why not make them each their own cardboard home! This is a great way to encourage them to play together while also encouraging them to express their individuality as they help you pick out the color scheme for their play home. This project will require multiple large boxes, and you can always buy them inexpensively if there aren’t enough lying around the house. This example by A Beautiful Mess shows three different variations of cardboard box home ideas. And this cardboard box village even has a cardboard box tree at the end of the street.

17. Extra Petite Cardboard Home

cardboard box house Extra Petite Cardboard Home

This small cardboard box home can be made for your infant and is mostly for picture taking purposes, but they may decide that they like sitting inside. The project is outlined on Healthy Grocery Girl, and only requires a cardboard box and some tape and glue. You can get create and make cardboard shingles and a chimney for the roof like they did in the example, but this isn’t required. You can also string Christmas lights through the box to brighten up the interior a bit and take some adorable holiday photos.

18. Fancy Cardboard Home With Window Boxes

cardboard box house Fancy Cardboard Home With Window Boxes

Upgrade your child’s cardboard home by adding cute details like window boxes for flowers or even a cardboard basketball hoop. There are instructions for both of these projects on the Home Depot website, and they will even walk you through the process of making awesome paper flowers for the window boxes. They also have ideas to make a cardboard ottoman for your cardboard playhouse, complete with fake cardboard postcards.

19. Secure Brick Cardboard Home

cardboard box house Secure Brick Cardboard Home

All children know the tales of the three little pigs and how the brick home is the one which was still standing at the end! Of course, this home is still made out of your leftover cardboard, but the glued-on bricks is an adorable touch! To glue the brick pattern, you can follow the instructions on Instructables, and use red construction paper cut into rectangles, or you can also use a stencil and some red paint. The door was painted with all purple paint so that it really stands out, but any color door will do. Add a house number and welcome sign, and your child will really feel secure in their faux brick abode.

20. Multi-Level Cardboard Box Doll Home

cardboard box house Multi-Level Cardboard Box Doll Home

The reality is, children can only use cardboard playhouses until they reach a certain height. If your child is already too tall for a number of the creations on this list, you could consider building them a cardboard box doll house instead. This project was featured on Mini Mad Things, and you will simply need a bunch of different shoe boxes in different shapes to create the different rooms. Use leftover scraps of cardboard to create fun furniture, like a cardboard bed, or table and chairs. Barbie won’t ever want to leave this dream home when you are finished!

Whether you are creating a cardboard box house for your child, pet, or dolls, the sky really is the limit when it comes to what you can accomplish with some cardboard. So next time you find yourself with extra cardboard boxes on a rainy day, grab those scissors and glue, and see what type of cardboard box home you can create!

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