How to make a robot out of a cardboard box

Written by carol holaday | 13/05/2017
How to make a robot out of a cardboard box
Build your child a simple robot costume from an ordinary cardboard box. (Getty Creative)

Cardboard boxes are especially interesting to children because many are big enough to sit or stand in. With a little imagination, a plain brown shipping box can become just about anything. When you use cardboard boxes for play and learning activities, you help the environment by recycling and reusing, and you help your child learn by exploring and building. Nurture your child's interest in science, space, rocket ships and robots by turning your child into a robot with a few cardboard boxes and some silver duct tape.

Tape the smaller square box closed and cut a circular opening in the closed end with the craft knife. Make sure that the opening is at least 5 cm (2 inches) larger than your child's head.

Leaving a 5-cm (2-inch) margin around the edges, cut a section out of one side of the box to create an opening for your child to see out of.

Use the craft knife to cut the flaps off of the open end of the larger cardboard box, and turn the box upside down so that the closed top-end is facing up. Cut a circular opening in the top that your child's head will easily fit through, and cut two circular armhole openings, one on each side of the box, an 3 to 5 cm (1 to 2 inches) down from the top.

Completely cover the outsides of the boxes, and line the edges of the openings, with strips of duct tape.

Use permanent markers to draw robot features on the robot body and helmet.

Place the larger box over your child's torso so that his head sticks out the top and his arms stick out of the armholes, and place the "robot head" helmet over his head.


If you don't have duct tape you can cover the boxes with heavy duty wrapping paper and let your child draw robot designs on the boxes with markers or crayons. Make buttons and knobs from the cut-away flaps, and add them on to your robot body and helmet.


Closely supervise your child while using permanent markers and protect clothing by having your child wear an old adult-sized t-shirt or dress shirt, over her clothes. Only adults should use craft knives. Do not cover the face opening of the robot helmet with any type of plastic; as such coverings pose a suffocation hazard.

Things you need

  • Head-sized square cardboard box
  • Torso-sized cardboard box
  • Duct tape
  • Craft knife
  • Wide-tipped coloured permanent markers

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