How to make a cardboard box tractor

Updated February 21, 2017

Give a kid a cardboard box and they'll travel to faraway places, create clubhouses and play homes, or drive cars, boats and even tractors. If your child loves farm life and wants to make his or her very own tractor, turn to the good old cardboard box again. This also is a quick and easy decoration-slash-plaything for a kid's farm-themed party.

Cut off the top flaps of the box, if there are any, except for the front flap. Paint the rest of the box red--or green if you want it to be a John Deere tractor. Use tempera paint to cover all outer sides of the box. This is the tractor body.

Make wheels. You can cut them from the leftover flaps, if they are big enough, or use a separate piece of cardboard. Cut rugged tire shapes from the cardboard and paint them black, or black with yellow insides. Make two big and two small, and glue them onto the sides of the box.

Carefully cut a windshield out of the front flap. Cut a rectangle out of the middle, leaving a wide enough border for sturdiness and to glue on the windshield material. You can use a clear plastic report cover or scrap of clear plastic sheeting, leftover laminating material, or even cling film. Hot glue a rectangle of this to the inside of the front flap to be a windshield. If you want to get super crafty, add some black pipe cleaner or cardboard wipers.

Make headlights by covering cardboard circles or small containers such as for cream cheese or cat food in aluminium foil. Hot glue these to the front of the tractor down below the front flap. You also can draw or paint on a grille with the black paint, or make a three-dimensional one out of a small greeting-card-size box with strips cut out, painting it black and gluing it on.

Add handles. You can add handles of cardboard or string if you want to be able to carry the tractor more easily. Just pierce small holes on the top edges and knot a string through them, or cut handle shapes out of cardboard, paint them red to match, and hot glue them to the inside of the cab.


If the front flap has a problem falling down, prop it up with strips of cardboard bent at the ends and glued to the front and then to the inner sides of the box. They should make a small triangle with the two sides of the box. Add any other accessories or decorations you like--a logo on the side, a door cut out--the possibilities are endless.


Don't let young children use utility knives, sharp scissors or hot glue guns. An adult should also supervise the use of paint. Spread newspapers on the surface you are working on for easy cleanup.

Things You'll Need

  • Large cardboard box
  • Clear plastic report cover, laminating material or plastic sheeting
  • Aluminium foil
  • Cardboard
  • Tempera paint
  • Utility knife or scissors
  • Hot glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • String
  • Small round containers
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About the Author

Kim Hoyum is a Michigan-based freelance writer. She has been a proofreader, writer, reporter and editor at monthly, weekly and daily publications for five years. She has a Bachelor of Science in writing and minor in journalism from Northern Michigan University.