How to make a shoebox house

A shoebox house can be a copy of a specific house, such as your own house or a house you've seen in a magazine or book. You could also make a shoebox house based on a story or as part of a school project. A shoebox house project provides practice in planning and design. This craft project only requires a shoebox and some basic household items and craft supplies. (See References 1) Your crafting skills do the most important work.

Remove the shoebox lid. Crumple newspaper into balls and fill the shoebox with them. Put the lid back on the box. Make a house that shows the outside of the house by placing the shoebox upside down, so the bottom of the box becomes the roof.

The Disney Family Fun website suggests using découpage to cover box buildings. Mix equal parts white glue and water in a bowl with a mixing spoon. (See References 2) Tear plain paper lengthwise into ½-inch wide strips. Dip a paper strip in the glue mixture and remove excess glue by running the strip between your fingers.

Apply the strips to the shoebox one strip at a time. Crisscross and overlap the strips. Apply one thin layer. Allow the glue to dry.

Make a peaked roof for the house---a roof that points up at the sky in the middle. Choose a piece of construction paper in the colour you want for the shoebox house's roof. For example, make the roof grey, red or brown. Fold the paper in half lengthwise.

Open the folded paper wide enough to fit on the house. Measure the width of the shoebox and draw two triangles the width of the shoebox house. Cut out the triangles.

Put a stripe of glue along the long sides of the shoebox right on the edge of the box. Set the roof on the box. Center the roof. Carefully press the construction paper against the glue. Apply glue along one end of the box on the roof and along the underside of the roof. Put a triangle in place to cover the hole under the roof. Gently press the roof onto the edges of the triangle to glue it in place. Repeat on the other end of the shoebox house.

Pick out paint colour for the house while the roof glue dries. Adding white paint to the colour makes a paint colour lighter.

Draw rectangles for the door and windows with a pencil. Use a ruler to make the lines straight. For example, make a door 2 inches wide and 6 inches tall. Draw a 3-inch wide by 3-inch tall window on each side of the door.

Use a felt pen to draw the window and doorframes. Add a doorknob or handle to the door by drawing one on the right hand side of the door.


The newspaper stuffing makes the house more stable. You could leave the box empty and cut out the windows if you want to show the shoebox house's interior.

Things You'll Need

  • Shoebox
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Newspaper
  • White paper from recycling bin
  • White glue
  • Bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • Construction paper
  • Felt pens---any kind
  • Poster paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Cup of water to clean the paintbrush
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About the Author

Gryphon Adams began publishing in 1985. He contributed to the "San Francisco Chronicle" and "Dark Voices." Adams writes about a variety of topics, including teaching, floral design, landscaping and home furnishings. Adams is a certified health educator and a massage practitioner. He received his Master of Fine Arts at San Francisco State University.