How to make a sled out of cardboard boxes

Written by william jackson
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How to make a sled out of cardboard boxes
Getting creative with cardboard. (Daniel Martinez)

Whether you are looking for the cheapest ride down a snowy slope or aspiring to take first place at the annual Cardboard Classic Sled Race, card board sleds are easy and fun to make. In fact, you probably have most of the necessary materials lying around your house. Learn the basics of cardboard sled building so you can enjoy your own home-made adventure.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Cardboard box
  • Scissors
  • String
  • Glue
  • Duct tape

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  1. 1

    Design a blueprint for your sled. Depending on the types and number of boxes you have obtained, your options are almost limitless. It could be a simple, flat body with rounded edges or it could be more complex, with sides or even a roof. Some people may have a bobsleigh design in mind, while others may picture a race car or even a surfboard. Even a sled that looks like an aeroplane or an outhouse are possible to make with a little planning.

  2. 2

    Use the scissors to cut your box or boxes according to your design. For basic sleds, this means cutting a rectangle about the length and width of your body. For larger or more extravagant designs, you may have to cut multiple pieces of cardboard, measuring each before cutting to ensure that they fit correctly. Avoid bending your board if possible, as this may weaken the cardboard's strength.

  3. 3

    Add sides and a top using duct tape, if you'd like them. Place the sides roughly perpendicular to the base, two at a time so you can tape touching edges together before taping them to the base. Be sure that these additions are firmly attached to the base of the sled.

  4. 4

    Make a roof by placing your designated piece of cutout cardboard on top of the sides and usually parallel to the base and then attach with tape. In most such sleds, the roof only partially covers the sled, leaving room for you to enter and sit comfortably. Be sure to leave space in either the front or the roof so that you can see ahead when riding.

  5. 5

    Attach handles once the body of your sled is complete and sturdy. Your handles can be made using either rope or duct tape. If you are using rope, strap it around the front of your sled and then through holes in either side, knotting the ends to keep them in place. Duct tape can be used as a handle by cutting off about 30 cm (1 foot) length of tape and folding it in on itself in the middle section to form a non-adhesive strip, about 15 cm (6 inches) long. Then simply attach the sticky ends of your tape to the sides of the sled.

  6. 6

    Paint the outside or add any other design elements that make the sled fun for your family. For instance, you can paint imaginary wheels on a race car sled, stripes on a tiger sled, flames on a hot wheels sled or graffiti on an urban sled. There are countless possibilities, so take some time to brainstorm before building your custom card board sled.

Tips and warnings

  • Doubling up the bottom with an extra layer of cardboard will help your sled last longer on the slopes.
  • You can often get boxes for free from large grocery or department stores.
  • Corrugated cardboard is more durable than flat cardboard.
  • Although painting the surfaces of your sled with fibreglass resin can increase its lifespan, cardboard cannot be made completely waterproof.

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