Last week I received some art in the mail and they came in big boxes. I needed to recycle them, but thought- maybe I can make something with them? Since we’ve been inside more, might as well create a FREE place for my son to play! Here’s how to make a cardboard house for a kid.
When I was little, I could play house for hours. I loved pretending to be the mom and play doctor and make the news! I figured that with scissors, some boxes, and paint I could easily create a happy background for my son to make some happy memories too!
how to make a cardboard house for a kid
Let’s start with the video tutorial so you get an overview on what I did. Then, I’ll dive in with more details below:
If the video doesn’t work here, you can watch it on YouTube here. I’d be over the moon happy if you subscribed to my YouTube channel! Videos are actually released on YouTube first (usually the night before they’re published on the blog so you can see projects first there). Thank you!
- Cardboard boxes
- Staple Gun/ Compressor
- Painter’s tool (to push the staples down)
- Packing Tape or better yet Box Tape (it’ll paint easier)
- Heavy Duty Scissors
- Paint in whatever colors you want/have on hand. I used Dixie Bell chalk paint in white / green / light brown and black
step 1- make the base of the house
Start by grabbing a cardboard box. I used three boxes to make the house. You could use even more. The whole point of this project is to use what you have on hand and to get creative! You don’t need an appliance box to make this, though if you had one that’d be great.
Before you put the house together, cut out the door and the windows. For the door, I started by tracing a cooking pan so the top of the door would have an arch.
Next, I used a straight edge to make a line for each side of the door. I used heavy duty scissors to cut out the right side and the top of the door. But I didn’t cut the left side of the door, instead I folded it over so it’d be a functioning door with any tape holding it on. You can see how I did this in the video. Durability is important with a kids house!
For the windows, I cut an “H” shape to create a window that opens with two shutters. Simple, but effective. Again, I used the straight edge to mark the lines and then a razor blade and scissors to cut on the lines.
For the door, I added a little peep door to make it even more fun. Here you can see how the door opens with the fold on the side.
step 2- construct and paint the cardboard playhouse
For the rood, I just used a third box. It was slightly smaller than the base boxes and I stapled it on so it folded and created a triangle.
Next, it’s time to connect the house together. For that we opted for staples. Packing tape works too, but I wanted to paint the house and you can’t really paint over packing tape. The tricky thing with using a staple gun is that when you shoot it, the staple doesn’t close. So we used a metal painter’s tool to push the staples closed (making them safe).
I wanted to paint the house, so I used chalk paint to make the base of the house white. It is not necessary to paint the house- kids will love it either way. And you can use whatever paint you have on hand- latex or acrylic craft paint should work as well. Note, because cardboard is a dark color, it sucks up paint and two coats will probably be needed.
After the house is painted white, I painted the doors and shutters a light green since that’s my son’s favorite color.
To add some fun detail, I cut scallops out of cardboard. To make them, I traced a small bowl over and over and then cut that out. Simple, but it does take time. I think that it was worth it though because it made it so cute! Once they were painted, I attached them to the house with packing tape.
You can also see that I made a doormat with my son’s name on it. It’s just a piece of cardboard that I painted with a white border and his name. I attached a box to the house for the mail box. By painting on black details, it really brought the house to life!
Making the chimney was simple- I just used a box I already had and cut it on the same angle as the house. I painted it brown like the roof and taped it on. As you can see, I hand painted scallops onto the room so it looks like it has shingles. I like how this looks like a gingerbread house roof!
step 3-how to make a cardboard house for a kid. Flower box!
And now, it’s time to make flowers and a flower box! I cut out 13 flowers and painted them pink, yellow, and orange. Then I added a circle to the middle.
I hot glued on stems and leaves that I painted the same light green as the shutters and doors. To make the window box, I cut out more scallops and taped them together with a rectangular piece of cardboard. In the video I show more about this process. If you use tape and you want to paint, tape the insides of the boxes.
To attach the window box to the house, I cut slits in the house and added pieces of cardboard that poke through the house and I fold over and tape down. That way I could install them securely without making the outside of the house ugly.
You can see how cute the flower box looks next to the front door! I made three of the window boxes- one by each window. All these details did take time, so feel free to cut anything you don’t like. On the other hand, you can always go crazy with the details too! Like add a picked fence, bushes, and details on the inside.
step 4- add a dog house
Finally, for the last step in how to make a cardboard house for a kid, I finished out this project by making a little dog house for our pup Lucy. She loves dark tight spaces (she’s kind of like a cat in that way) so we knew she’d love this! You have to see the video for how much she loves it!
We have two dogs with totally different personalities. Our other dog, Derek would hate this (he prefers lots of space and sun) so we only made one.
To make it, we just used a smaller box and constructed it the same as the big house. I painted it pink and thought it looks so cute with the white scallops! As a finishing touch, I added a name plate for her. If Lucy doesn’t want to play, Don can always add stuffed animals in here.
Ta da! Here’s how this cutie house turned out! I love it- it’s sweet and happy. Lots of people suggested making the inside fun too- which is a great idea! I’m actually going to leave it plain. Don likes to take all his blankets and pillows and stuffed animals in there and watch a show. It’s safe place.
Right now, while I’m typing this, he’s coloring on the inside of his walls drawing dinosaur pictures. How great is it that he has a place to express his creativity that was made from trash?!
Alright! So there’s how to make a cardboard house for a kid. I had so much fun making it! It was fun to get creative and see what I can make with items I have on hand. When I was a kid I made a mini house out of cardboard and it’s one of the reasons I knew I wanted to be an interior designer.
Making things with your hands is therapeutic. Just the process of your hand creating what your mind can see is magical. If you’re at all in a funk, I’d suggest thinking up something you could make. I promise, it’ll help.
Ok- so what’s your favorite detail?! I’d love to hear in the comments!
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