How to build a car that moves out of cardboard

Updated July 20, 2017

Do you or your children love cars? Add some fun to a homemade car by adding wheels that turn. This car costs pennies to make, so you can build your own fleet or make your own demolition derby. This article provides step-by-step instructions for building a small car that moves.

Use the larger rectangular cardboard box for the lower portion of the car's body. The smaller box will provide the car's windows, windshield and rear window. Attach the boxes using glue or staples. Make sure that the smaller box is placed a little off-centre so that the front portion of the car appears longer than the rear. The larger the boxes, the larger your cardboard car.

Cut out identical circles for wheels from the large pieces of cardboard. If you want stronger wheels cut out two circles, hold them a couple of inches apart and glue them together using a long, narrow strip of cardboard. Cut a hole in the centre of the wheels just large enough for the PVC pipe. Decorate the wheels with markers or paint---try a flashy hubcap design.

Attach the PVC pipe to the wheels with glue. Cut a holes in identical spots on both sides of the large rectangular box along the sides near the front and back. This will provide a space for the car's axles---the PVC Pipe. The holes need to be low enough on the side of the box to allow the wheels to turn without the box dragging. Fit the axles and wheels to the car body and test to see if your car moves.

Finish your car by painting it a bright, distinct colour. You can include as much in terms of design details as you would like. Draw on a grill, headlights, number plates, door handles or any other details. Although the cardboard might not last forever, you now have a personalised car that rolls forward and backward.


Do not try to ride in your cardboard car.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 rectangular cardboard boxes (different sizes)
  • Various colours of paint
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Large pieces of cardboard
  • Two pieces of PVC pipe
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