19 Things to Make Out of Cardboard Boxes (2023)

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!

Contents show

Cardboard Cars

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.

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Cardboard Rocketship

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.

Miniature Desk

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.

Cardboard City

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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!

Cardboard Shelving

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.

Cardboard Farm

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.

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Cord Organizer

If you’re like the average modern family, there is no shortage of cords in your home. Whether it is for the television, the computer, the smart speaker — the list could go on and on. If you want to prevent your workspaces and entertainment areas from looking cluttered, you are going to want to do something about your cord organization. And while you could easily spend $50 on fancy cord organizers online, you can also make your very own after just a little bit of cardboard material! See how over at Family Handyman.

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?

Cardboard Guitar

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!

Decorative Letters

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!

Decorative Owls

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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).

Cardboard Elevator

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.

Box Castle

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.

Cardboard Bookends

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.

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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!

FAQs

What items can be made out of cardboard? ›

23 Oct 5 Types of Products Commonly Made from Recycled Cardboard
  • New Boxes and Packaging. This seems obvious but is still worth mentioning – old cardboard can be used to make new cardboard and other types of paper-based packaging like paperboard.
  • Paper Bags. ...
  • Paper Towels and Tissues. ...
  • Newspaper and Writing Paper. ...
  • Chipboard.

What can we make with the help of the cardboard answer? ›

Make it into a planter by lining it with a plastic bag with some holes poked in the bottom. For added decoration, you can paint the cardboard to make it more fun! Paint cardboard boxes or line with fabric to make nice storage containers. Cut out small circles and paint them to make coasters.

What can you make with a cardboard box for kids? ›

How to play with cardboard boxes
  1. Make a house. Cut open a window and a door and let your child add cushions and other 'furniture'. ...
  2. Make a plane or a car. Use paper plates for wheels and steering wheels. ...
  3. Make a robot costume. ...
  4. Make a puppet theatre. ...
  5. Decorate the box. ...
  6. Use the box to encourage active play.
11 May 2020

How can we recycle the cardboard? ›

The cardboard recycling process
  1. The cardboard is sorted and shredded.
  2. It is mixed with water and pulped.
  3. The pulp is filtered.
  4. More water is added.
  5. The mixture is rolled and dried.
  6. Sheets are converted to new cardboard.
25 Aug 2022

What is cardboard paper used for? ›

The cardboard is a paper based material that is much thicker than the standard paper being used for writing. The added thickness makes it more solid, and let it be used for making boxes and other packing materials suitable for a lot of product types.

How do you make a small car out of cardboard? ›

To make a cardboard car, find a large cardboard box and seal the bottom with packing tape. Flip the box over, fold 1 of the short flaps inside the box, and leave the other flap outside the box. Then, tape the 2 long flaps together to close the top of the box.

What can I make with hands? ›

Painting, sewing, model making, sculpting, crocheting, macrame, beading, embroidery and more. Even things like playing an instrument gets your hands moving and has you creating something. So if you find yourself bored, stressed, or needing a way to unwind, try and find a hobby where you can make things.

Can you make paper out of cardboard boxes? ›

When recycled, cardboard can be used to make products like cereal boxes, paperboard, paper towels, tissues and printing or writing paper. It is also used to make more corrugated cardboard.

Is cardboard easy to recycle? ›

The good news is that most of that cardboard (as much as 91%) is recycled, making cardboard one of the easiest materials in the world to recycle. The reason it is so important to recycle cardboard is because it is made of wood fibres (like paper) and the production of 1 ton of virgin cardboard requires 3 tons of wood.

What are the 10 different types of packaging? ›

Commonly used materials in packaging
  • Cardboard boxes.
  • Corrugated boxes.
  • Glass Containers.
  • Shrink Wrap.
  • Cling Film.
  • Woven Sack.
  • Jute Bags.
  • Intermediate Bulk Containers.
20 Jan 2022

Why is cardboard good? ›

In terms of transportation, cardboard is also very durable making it the best packaging material for business. It helps to prevent moisture from infiltrating the product; this is an essential factor for products that need to withstand long transportation times, as well as protecting food products.

Is cardboard a tree? ›

Cardboard, as you are likely to be aware of, is manufactured using fibres from trees / plants. Pulp is not only produced from timber but can also be created in an environmentally friendly way by recycling woodchips and shavings leftover from lumber mill waste.

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