How to Make a Cardboard Car

Two Methods:Making a Larger Cardboard CarMaking a Small Cardboard Car

Cardboard cars are a fun and easy craft that you and your child can work on together. Larger boxes transform into a kid-sized set of wheels, while smaller boxes turn into custom-designed toy cars. You may very well find that these become a favorite around the house. Next time you find yourself about to throw away (or recycle) a cardboard box, consider making it into a car!

Method 1
Making a Larger Cardboard Car

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    Seal a large cardboard box with packing tape. Make sure the top and bottom are closed.
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    Trace two doors in the two longer sides. The lines should begin at the halfway point lengthwise and drop down, so their flat side is along the top of the box.
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    Cut out the doors. Use a box cutter to cut along the lines you've traced.
    • Have an adult do this step, and all other steps involving the box cutter.
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    Cut out the windshield. Using the box cutter again, cut along the top edges of the box about two thirds of the way around. Start just in front of one door and continue moving back towards the rear, then finally along the other side.
    • Don't cut the piece out entirely. Be sure to leave this flap attached to the hood (the front third).
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    Fold and tape the windshield. Lift the flap you've just cut and fold it halfway down, towards the interior of the car. Tape the top fold to the bottom half to secure the windshield.
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    Cut a window in the windshield. Use the box cutter to cut a large rectangle out of the folded section from Step 5.
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    Cut a portion of the back and fold it down forming the seats.
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    Paint the body of the car at this point if you prefer.
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    Add cups to the front for headlights. Glue two cups to the front of the car so that their base is attached and the wider lip faces out. You can use paper or plastic cups.
    • Obtain 2 paper cups as it works well on this project.
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    • Cut the lower part of the cup. This part will form the headlights.
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    Add details on the car. Get some Popsicle sticks and form the grill.
    • Add a divider on the windshield.
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    • Obtain some bottle caps and form the taillights and signal lights.
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    Add paper plate wheels. Glue two paper plates along the length of each side for wheels.
    • Alternatively, cut out circles from construction paper and glue or tape them to the front.[1]
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    Paint and decorate your car. Use finger or tempera paints for a custom design, and add in details with markers.
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    Create an interior. Glue in construction paper or fabric for upholstery, and add another paper plate to the "dashboard" as the steering wheel.
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    Add an emblem and your cardboard car is finished.
    • This ride can fit one toddler.[2]
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Method 2
Making a Small Cardboard Car

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    Start with a small cardboard box. Cereal boxes or tissue boxes are particularly good choices.
    • If using a long tissue box, turn the box over so the open end (for tissues) isn't seen.
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    Make an incision around the sides and over the top. Start about 4 inches (10.2 cm) from the front of the car and 3 inches (7.6 cm) below the top. Cut upwards to the top, across the top, and 3 inches down the other side.
    • Use sharp scissors or a box cutter for this step.
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    Fold down the front section you've just cut around
    • You now have a front end.
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    Shape the rear of the car. This step depends on what kind of box you're working with, and what kind of car you want.
    • For a sedan, repeat Step 2 on the opposite end of the box.
    • For an old-fashioned Model-T type car, skip this step.
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    Pierce the sides at the points where the wheels should go. Do this with the sharp end of the scissors. You may want to measure out and mark the points in advance to make sure they are equidistant.
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    Insert two skewers for axles. They should run between the two sets of pierced points where the wheels will go.
    • Alternatively, you can use plastic straws, pencils, or pens. Do not use pipe cleaners, as they bend too easily.
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    Make wheels. Cut four wheels of equal diameter out of another piece of cardboard.
    • It's preferable to use a stiffer type of cardboard than the type found in cereal and tissue boxes.
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    Attach the wheels to the axels. If using a skewer, you can poke a hole in the wheel with the sharp end. Otherwise, you'll need to make a small hole in the wheels so they can fit on the axel. Use the sharp tip of your scissors; don't make the hole too large or the wheel will fall off!
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    Decorate your car. You can use markers, crayons and stickers, or glue colored paper onto the car. If you're really ambitious, you can paint it with tempera or finger paints.
    • Don't be afraid to leave the original design of the box as is, if you like it. The novelty can be a very charming part of the toy, and you can make a collection of several cars from different boxes.
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    Have fun with your car!

Tips

  • When making a toy car, you may need to adjust the length of your cuts to work with the box size.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard box (large or small, depending on your project)
  • Packing tape (for large car)
  • Scissors and/or box cutter
  • Paper plates (for large car wheels)
  • Extra cardboard (for small car wheels)
  • Skewers, straws, pencils or pens (for small car)
  • Glue (for large car)
  • Markers, crayons, tempera or finger paint (optional)
  • Ruler (optional)

Article Info

Categories: Recyclable Crafts for Kids