DIY Cardboard Crafts That Are Easy to Make at Home

Shannon Quinn - May 29, 2023
Credit: Cardboard Ninja

Cardboard Key Shelf

Adults, this craft is for you. A lot of us have trouble losing our keys at the end of the day. So it’s smart to have a key shelf to put your phone and other belongings so that they don’t get lost. All you need to make this is a large piece of cardboard, and a box cutter to make the shapes. For full instructions on how to make this, check out the Cardboard Ninja YouTube channel. The video will help give you the pattern that helps you make this shelf to begin with. If you have the materials on hand at home, this can be completely free instead of spending around $10 to $20 on a key shelf somewhere else.

Credit: DIYs

Rope Wrapped Cardboard Basket

Rope baskets are all the rage right now, and they’re great for creating storage in your home while organizing. However, they can become very expensive if you’re trying to collect a lot of these baskets. So a good solution to the problem would be to make these baskets out of rope and cardboard boxes. If you have a lot of the same sized Amazon boxes lying around, that’s even better. You can duplicate the results over and over. Dollar Tree sells this type of rope, but you might be better off buying in bulk online, or from a craft store like Michaels. For instructions on how to make this, check out A Little Craft In Your Day.

Credit: DIYs

DIY Pirate Ship

Kids always want new toys when you bring them to the toy store. So why not make them something new with the leftover boxes you’re collecting at home anyway? This DIY pirate ship is really cute. And I can imagine kids playing with their toys inside of it for a long time. Just make sure they don’t try to put it in the bathtub! Make sure you have an adult nearby to help make this, since it requires cutting the cardboard at sharp angles to make the shape of the pirate ship. It just might become your kid’s new favorite toy. For full instructions on how to make this, check out Molly Moo Crafts.

Credit: Antique Pencil

Illuminated Dollhouse

All over the Internet, there are plenty of cardboard crafts making doll houses. But this one is truly elaborate, and looks more beautiful than most doll houses you could hope to make out of a box. What’s even better is that you can illuminate it with lights! So pretty! What would make this even better is if the interior had rooms for your little girl to put their toys in and use as a real dollhouse. Or, you could even use this as a Christmas decoration. For instructions on how to make this, check out the Antique Pencil YouTube Channel.

Credit: Shutterstock

Cardboard Dinosaur Mask

One of the most popular box crafts that I have seen online is the dinosaur mask. Or, any mask in particular, whether it be a robot, dinosaur, animal, or superhero. It’s easy to cut some ice out and turn it into a helmet. Especially if your kids have small enough heads to fit inside an Amazon box. You can go really simple with this project, or make something really elaborate like the mask that is in the next blog. If you want to make a dinosaur mask out of cardboard, check out this video by Zygote Brown Designs.

Credit: DIYs

Adorable Teddy Bear Toy

Odds are that your kids have lots of teddy bears. But do they have one made out of a box? Probably not. This comes from a YouTube channel literally called Box Yourself, where they do crafts…you guessed it- out of cardboard boxes. This teddy bear is so cute. All you need is some cardboard, white paint, a Sharpie, and some glue to make this craft at your own home. But there are a lot of crafts on that YouTube channel to choose from, and they are all equally as adorable. You could make your kids the entire animal kingdom out of boxes and give them endless hours of fun.

Credit: Shutterstock

Colorful Cardboard Bird

This next craft seems pretty easy and straightforward. All you really have to do is take a marker and trace out the shape of a bird. You can trace out the shape of the wings separately if you like, or keep it attached to the bird silhouette the first time around. Add some colorful feathers and sequins to make the bird even more colorful than before. It’s good to use some cheap paints like acrylic or gouache that are easy for kids to use. Even watercolors might work out well, since they are easier to wash out if they get on the skin. For instructions, check out the examples made on the Krokotak blog.

Credit: Million Gears

DIY Chocolate Vending Machine

This idea comes from a YouTuber called Million Gears. He made a vending machine completely out of cardboard, and it even allows you to put a coin in the machine to dispense a candy bar. He decorated the box with some stickers, to make it look even more legit. This looks almost too good to be true. How could he make something like this? Well, you have to watch the Youtube video to find out how he actually pulled this off. The video has tons of views for a good reason. Most people are curious to see how he did this.

Credit: DIYs

Thread Spool Organizer Box

If you’re a sewer, then you already know how thread can stack up very quickly in your collection. You may have reached a point where you don’t know what to do with them. Thread spool organizer boxes cost just $10 at Joann Fabrics or Hobby Lobby, but can be upwards of $100 if you buy a fancy one from Etsy. This is a solution to making a cardboard box that holds your thread spools instead. It may be a few dollars cheaper, depending on how much it costs to buy those large pins that stick through the bottom of the box. To each their own!

Credit: Shutterstock

Cardboard School Bus

We have already shown some examples of cars made out of boxes on this list. But here is yet another one that your kids can make easily on their own. It’s a school bus made out of a box that has been made with some acrylic paints and cardboard. There are also parents who have made a full size School Bus for their kids to play in. These are very intricate, and it’s worth checking out if you’re interested in making them a project that they can actually play inside of. If you want to make a full-sized version of a cardboard school bus, check out this video by Cipta Craft.

Credit: Turbo Fun Crafts

DIY Super Mario Game

This game was made by Turbo Fun Crafts. It’s hard to believe it’s real when you first see the demo of it on YouTube. How could someone make a game like this out of cardboard?! You’re just going to have to watch the video to find out. They took a very long time to figure out the mechanics of doing this project without using batteries or any kind of electronic elements inside of it. This might not be the easiest or cheapest craft to make it home yourself. But if you’re a fan of watching craft videos, this one is very interesting indeed.

Credit: DIYs

Lighted Superhero City

This is a really clever idea from a website called Craftionary. It looks like something you might use as a display for a boy’s birthday party that is superhero themed. As you can see from the photos, they made little skyscrapers out of cardboard boxes by wrapping them in paper. Then they poked Christmas lights through the windows of the buildings. Since this was for a birthday party, they also had different logos of superheroes on the wall above the display. This is a very cute idea and it will help you save some money on buying supplies at a party store.

Credit: The Q

Cardboard Robotic Arm

For people who are computer scientists in robotics, it’s common for you to do a robotic arm. A lot of companies make robots, including Lego. So it’s actually very common for something like this to go on. But what is uncommon is making the arm out of cardboard. You wouldn’t think that it would be sturdy enough to pick things up, but this video proves it wrong. If you want to see the full video on how they made this, check out The Q YouTube channel. It just might inspire you to make your own robotic arm out of cardboard as well.

Credit: DIYs

Cardboard Play House

One of the most classic cardboard craft ideas out there is the playhouse. When you were a kid, you probably climbed inside of your parents refrigerator or washing machine box at least once in your youth. They are so much fun, and you can let your imagination grow wild. But it can also be turned into something more elaborate like what you see in the photo. There are actually a lot of different designs on Pinterest and blogs throughout the internet, just in case you want to do something different than what is in the photo. If you don’t have a big box on hand, contact your local Home Depot or Lowe’s to see if they can give you one. For full instructions on how to make this play house, check out the Project Nursery blog.

Credit: Shutterstock

Postcard Flowers For Mother’s Day

Almost everyone has old greeting cards lying around the house. Maybe your grandma sent you $5 in a birthday card and you put it in a box as a keepsake. Now it’s time to recycle those things and turn them into a craft. Simply cutting out those colored pieces into the shape of a flower and doing what you see in the photo above is enough for a cute craft to give to your mom for Mother’s day. These cardboard flowers will last a lot longer than real ones. And if you’re working with a small child, they can’t afford to buy their mom flowers anyway. Cover with brown paper and a ribbon, and voila! You have a beautiful bunch of paper flowers.

Credit: DIYs

Box Puppet Show

This next idea comes from a blog called Handmade Charlotte. It is an adorable puppet show made using cardboard, paper, markers, and straws. Not to mention the little fairy lights that are adorned on the stage. This is very cute, and it looks sort of difficult to make. But if you follow the instructions and have a lot of patience, you can make this for your kids too. I can imagine this being a really good entry into some sort of contest for school. Or, if they make this, they’re guaranteed to pretty much keep it for the rest of their life.

Credit: Shutterstock

Wacky Cardboard Pumpkins

The texture of these cardboard pumpkins is very cool. All you have to do is take a cardboard box and tear it apart so that you can see the corrugated edges. Then take some scissors and cut them into small squares. Glue them onto the shape of a pumpkin that has been cut out of another piece of cardboard. Add some googly eyes or sparkles, and you have a masterpiece. In the photo, they made eyes and the mouth out of pieces of white paper with some pen drawings. You can really do whatever you want, but the result is going to be cute either way.

Credit: DIYs

Cardboard Box Twig Planter

This next idea comes from the Too Much Time blog. In the photo, you can see that they turned a cereal box into a planter that’s covered with twigs. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of this. I think that it looks like something you could buy at Dollar Tree. But if you saw this in a magazine or something similar online, then you should go for it. It wouldn’t take a lot of money to make this. and if you eat a lot of cereal, you can have more than one on each side table. You just need the twig attachments and a hot glue gun to make this project a reality.

Credit: Shutterstock

Cardboard Carton Cars

Making a car out of an old orange juice carton is actually very easy. As you can see from the photos, they cut out pieces of cardboard for the windshield and the side windows. Then they used those pieces of cardboard for the wheels that are underneath the vehicle. If you want to, you could get even more creative by painting the cardboard and adding extra details with some acrylics. I don’t recommend using watercolors for a project like this, because it probably wouldn’t cover up the surfaces. One young YouTuber called Max Imagination even turned an orange juice carton into a vehicle than runs on water!

Credit: DIYs

Kid’s Kitchen Made of Cardboard

One of the best ideas on this list comes from the Metro UK Blog, which showcased a mom who made a play kitchen for her daughter. The materials look expensive, but it is actually out of nothing but cardboard boxes. When you look online, play kitchens go anywhere from $200 to $500. But they are nowhere near as large as this one in the photo. This mom was able to make a custom kitchen for her daughter that is larger than what you can find in the store. And it honestly looks much nicer. Once the little girl grows old, she will be able to recycle the entire thing without worrying about what to do with it.

Credit: DIYs

Epic Staircase Slide

Growing up, odds are that you slid down the stairs at least once in your life. Maybe you tried to slide down the banister, or used a sled to go down the stairs. (Or was that just me?) This is a great idea for helping your kids make their sliding dreams come true without them getting hurt. But I would recommend watching them as they do this, just in case. You never know if the cardboard could slip and they can end up hurting themselves anyway. So just monitor their behavior and make sure that they are all right. For full instructions on how to do this, check out the blog called The Contemplative Creative.

Credit: Sherri Madison

Crayloa Box Costume

Sherri Madison on TikTok creates tons of amazing crafts out of cardboard. She does so many, we could have focused this entire list just on her creations! But out of all of them, I chose the Crayola box costume she made for her son. The original post had more than 80,000 views. In the video, she shows how she took multiple Amazon boxes to create the costume. It’s so cute, and incredibly well done. Look how happy he is in the picture. If you want to see more of her creations, check out Sherri’s TikTok called The Cardboard Queen.

Credit: 5 Minute Crafts

Cardboard Perfume Cabinet

This idea came from 5 Minute Crafts on YouTube. All you really have to do is cut the arms off of the box. Put those aside, and use them for the shelves. You cover the entire box and shelves in wrapping paper. Then reinsert the shelves and glue them in place. You’re left with a really interesting perfume cabinet in the end. My only concern is that I don’t believe this would hold that many products without collapsing. Cardboard is not that strong on its own. Maybe let your kids make this for their toys, but make sure nothing is breakable or made out of class.

Credit: Cardboard Ninja

Cardboard Mobile Cell Phone Charger

Have you ever had the issue where you found an outlet, but you’re forced to sit on the floor? Or your phone needs to be in your hand for an hour? This contraption eliminates that issue all together, and you make it out of cardboard. It hangs directly from your plug, so that the phone can rest on the cardboard while it is charging. And if it gets lost or damaged during your travels, there are no worries, because you can always just make another one. For full instructions on how to make this, check out the Cardboard Ninja YouTube channel.

Credit: Pinterest

DIY “Slingpunk” Game

Our next idea was taken from Pinterest, which showcased a game called “slingpunk”. It looks like each side has either blue or red pucks. Each side uses a rubber band to pull and sling the pucks to the other side. It seems like Whoever has the most pucks on the opposite side wins. so in the picture, the one with only one puck left would be the winner. at least that’s what I assume the rules are. It looks like you don’t even need the rubber band, but you need to push the puck quicker than your opponent. For more instructions on how to make sling puck out of wood, click here.

Credit: Pinterest

Pringles Can Castle

Here is yet another Pinterest find of a castle made out of Pringles cans. If you eat a lot of chips at home or on your lunch breaks, this one’s for you. This is perfect if your kids are a fan of Rapunzel, and they want to play pretend with a princess in a tower. Or, if they generally like fantasy and medieval times, this might be a good item to make as well. Even people who play Dungeons and Dragons might find it to be helpful. If you want to know more about how to make this, check out the Cipta Craft YouTube channel.

Credit: Tatzkreen Art

Cardboard Desk Calendar

Here is yet another beautiful adult craft made by Tatzkreen Art. It’s great for anyone who wants a desk calendar without paying the high price at the store. Everything is made of cardboard, and the numbers are either stickers or painted on. It’s easy to flip the numbers on the rings, and change the date every day. If you brought this to work, people would be guaranteed to comment on it. It might even be a good craft to do with your coworkers. I can imagine keeping this for years, especially if you feel really proud of making this yourself. Just watch the YouTube tutorial to see the instructions on how to make this.

Credit: Pinterest

DIY African Masks

I got this next idea from Pinterest, which showcased a large variety of African style masks that someone made out of cardboard. Some of these faces also look like they might be Picasso paintings. I would personally look at an existing mask, and use that as a template for what you would want to make with your own cardboard. Use a blade or sharp scissors to cut out the pieces. Then use a hot glue gun to attach everything together. They look so cool that you can easily paint them and hang them on your wall if you wanted to. This would be really cheap artwork for you to put in an apartment or a dorm room. For instructions on how to make this, watch this YouTube video.