Oh, the joys of childhood. Running around barefoot, making pies out of mud, and of course, making multiple creations entirely from cardboard boxes. Whether you are looking to relieve the glorious DIY moments of your childhood or recreate them with their own children, you will find some of the best cardboard box craft ideas out there right here in this article!
Oh, and cardboard boxes can also be used to make more subdued (but arguably less exciting) crafts — you’ll find these in this article too!
Cars are one of the most common themes that come up in make-belief, and it’s no wonder why! Kids are always on the move, with places to go and people to see. And they’re going to need a car to get them there! Show your kids how they can make a car out of cardboard boxes by following this tutorial from Laugh Paint Create.
If your kids are looking for something more adventurous than a regular car, why not make a rocketship? If you follow this tutorial from Lemon Lime Adventures, you can see just one example of how to make a wonderful rocketship for playing make belief out of cardboard boxes. However, the possibilities are by no means confined to this tutorial. Encourage your children to access their inner creativity!
Cardboard Sewing Machine
Sometimes, vehicles just aren’t what we are in the mood for — but there are plenty of other things that cardboard boxes can be used to make! For example, with a little bit of creativity you can make an adorable cardboard sewing machine, as seen here at Little Red Window. Kids can have hours of fun by pretending to make different garments and textiles!
DIY Dry Erase Board From Cardboard
Although most of the entries on this list are just for playing pretend, we have included a few ideas that can be used in practical ways, too! One example is this DIY dry erase board that can cleverly be made of cardboard. The tutorial comes courtesy of Curly Made.
Here is another practical solution, and one that the kids are sure to love! This mini portable desk from the Centsible Life is entirely made of cardboard which makes it an inexpensive alternative to expensive lap desks that you could buy at a home furnishing store. Its size makes it the perfect solution for working on the couch or in bed.
Have you ever wanted to be the mayor of your very own town? This cardboard craft idea from Crayola is a wonderful activity idea for lovers of Sim city and other urban planning simulation games. It is also a wonderful activity to undertake with your child as it provides a great way to spend some quality time with one another. It is also an example of an ongoing project that you can do over the span of a month or longer.
Cardboard Light Cave
There is something about forts that kids just love! This cardboard “cave” can be decorated to taste with the addition of twinkly lights, banners, and other decorations. Get the creative idea over at Kendall Rayburn —it’s sure to keep your child of any age busy for hours!
Cardboard Deer Head
Do you find yourself drawn to woodsy down-to-earth interior design, but do you find the idea of poaching an animal cruel? If so, you may find yourself interested in this cardboard deer head from Instructables. This makes the perfect fireplace centerpiece, and also acts as a great conversation starter. In fact, cardboard deer heads are so popular that they can be quite expensive if you purchase one in a store. It is much better to use your old discarded boxes to make your own!
Speaking of cardboard crafts that are practical, what could have more use than a row of shelving? Although it may be hard to imagine that cardboard shelves could ever be strong enough to hold up anything, trust us when we say that they can be so long as you are following the right kind of instructions. You can find out how to make robust shelves over at Remodelista.
This idea is similar to the city idea that we shared earlier. Much like the creative city idea, this idea from Joyfully Weary shows you how you can make a farm landscape out of simple cardboard cut-outs. Also like the city idea, this is an ongoing project that can be added to over time. It also provides a great bonding opportunity, as well as an opportunity for your child to learn all of the names of the farm animals.
Cat Scratching Post
Animals are an important part of the family too, so it wouldn’t be super fair to write an entire article without mentioning at least one craft idea that can benefit your pet. In this case, we are talking about an impressive DIY cat scratcher, as seen here over at Dream a Little Bigger. Anyone who knows cats well knows that they love to sharpen their claws on cardboard, so why not give them the perfect opportunity to do exactly that?
Here is the perfect craft idea for the budding musician in your life! You can make this cardboard guitar as seen at Make It Love It for your little ones with a minimal amount of cardboard and effort. If you are feeling adventurous, you can even use elastic bands to make the guitar functional!
If you are looking to add decorations to your home, you can be shocked about the amount of money that goes into purchasing home decor. One way to cut back on your expenses is to make some home decorations yourself. This design from Grillo Designs shows you how you can make large decorative letters out of cardboard that can look like metal!
Speaking of decorations, if letters aren’t your style you might want to try your hand at making an animal-themed decoration! We love these cardboard owls from DIY Joy —not only do they make beautiful statement pieces, but they also look rather expensive (even though they are made out of cardboard and very easy to make).
Here is something a bit different than the standard rocketships and cars of the cardboard craft world — a cardboard elevator! This unusual but fun creation from Repeat Crafter Me can teach your kids about how to use an elevator, and also give them an opportunity to imagine that they are in many magical places around the world, from the Empire State Building to the Eiffel Tower.
This list wouldn’t be complete without the inclusion of a castle. You can follow the directions over at Be a Fun Mum to create the ultimate magic castle. This castle is so majestic that your kids will love to use it as a backdrop for all of their imaginative play.
If you are putting together your book collection, you can’t consider your job complete until you have chosen a pair of adorable (and functional) bookends! With a little bit of creativity and some help from Almost Makes Perfect you can make professional-grade bookends out of cardboard!
Pom Pom Maker
This is not so much an item or an object that you can make — more like a device! If you have always wondered how crafters make those adorable giant “pom poms” out of yarn, then you will probably be delighted to discover that a piece of cardboard is an integral part of making these pom poms. You can find out how to turn your cardboard into a pom pom maker over at the Craft Train.
So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and go order yourself some large purchases so that you can make best use of a cardboard box contraption. Even if you can’t order something like a fridge (though these make the best boxes), if you save up your boxes for long enough you will have enough to make your own cardboard palace in no time!