How to Build a Car From Cereal or Shoe Boxes

Updated November 21, 2016

If you want to show the kids a fun time and get rid of some household clutter while you are at it, gather up some discarded cereal and shoe boxes with a few craft odds and ends, and spend a couple of hours making cardboard cars. Kids will love designing their own race cars and trucks. After you help them get started, they will enjoy it so much that they won't even notice you slipping off for that well-deserved break.

Let kids choose a box of the size they want their car or truck to be and cover it all over with construction paper (use white glue to attach the paper to the box).

Tape two drinking straws across the bottom of the box---one in front and one in back---to serve as axles for wheels. (Alternatively, make four holes in the box---one near each corner, down low on the sides---and poke a wooden dowel through from one side to the other so that only an inch or so sticks out on each side.)

Cut four circles out of thick cardboard with scissors, and poke a small hole in the centre of each one to stick the ends of the drinking straws or dowels through to make wheels. (You could also use jar lids for wheels. Help kids to make the holes, or just glue them in place.)

Cover a smaller box with construction paper and glue it on top of the main box. This will be the cab or area for windows. (Cut out spaces for windows before covering with construction paper or put rectangles of white paper in those areas and draw people on them to act as driver and passengers.)

Decorate and embellish the cars using buttons for headlights and taillights and strips of ribbon or foil for bumpers, chrome and so on. This is the fun part, so let the kid's imagination go wild.


For window glass, do as suggested by Disney's FamilyFun site and cut pieces from clear plastic drinking glasses. It also suggests painting plastic spoons to make people passengers for cardboard convertibles. Make a tanker truck by gluing a single serving-sized cereal box to the end of a cylindrical oatmeal box, adding wheels and other parts as you did for a car.

Things You'll Need

  • Assorted shoe boxes, cereal and other small cardboard boxes
  • Construction paper
  • White glue
  • Drinking straws (or short wooden dowels)
  • Scissors
  • Miscellaneous craft pieces (felt, ribbons, buttons and so forth)
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