How to Build a Cardboard Cabin

Written by gryphon adams
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How to Build a Cardboard Cabin
Build a classic cabin with a peaked roof out of cardboard. (log cabin image by Ray Kasprzak from

Designing and building a cardboard cabin brings into play creative skills and practical planning. As a kids craft, it gives kids a chance to see how the different structural elements of a cabin make up the building. As an adult project, building a cardboard cabin results in an eye-catching item for marketing, holiday decorating, a centrepiece, a gift or educational model. Building a cardboard cabin offers the satisfaction of creating a project yourself. This craft requires only basic art supplies and household items and works well as a group project for all ages.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Newspaper
  • Cardboard box
  • Lightweight cardboard large enough for the cabin roof
  • Scissors or utility knife
  • Masking tape
  • White glue
  • Tempera paints or poster paints
  • Paintbrushes

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  1. 1

    Spread newspaper on the table and assemble the cardboard and supplies.

  2. 2

    Upend a cardboard box on the table so its bottom side faces up. Slit the tape holding the bottom of the box together from one side to the other. Open the flaps. Fold one flap down and hold it down firmly by the top of the box edge to stabilise the cardboard box. Cut down one corner of the box from top to bottom.

  3. 3

    Open the cardboard box. Place a large cutting board under the fold of a box flap. Cut the flaps off the box on the cutting board. Keep fingers out of the path of the blade. Depending on the desired size of the cabin, the flaps may work well for the walls, ceiling and floor of the cabin. Alternatively, use a ruler and draw wall, ceiling and floor panels on the cardboard and then cut them out.

  4. 4

    Draw a door and windows in the cabin walls. For example, draw a front door in the middle of one panel and draw a door on each side of it. Draw two windows on another panel to create the back of the cabin. The end walls of the cabin work fine without windows.

  5. 5

    Cut out the windows, if desired. Cut the door on the top and bottom and one side so it will open and close. Fold along the uncut line to create a hinge.

  6. 6

    Place the ceiling panel on the table and turn the cabin upside down on top of it. Cut strips of masking tape the length of the walls and tape the tops of the walls to the ceiling on the inside of the cabin all the way around.

  7. 7

    Center the floor panel on the upside down cardboard cabin. Apply tape to attach the cabin floor to the walls all the way around. Cut the tape. If the cabin is for playing with, apply a second layer of tape to reinforce the floor.

  8. 8

    Fold a lightweight piece of cardboard in the middle to create a peaked roof for the cabin. Set it on top of the cabin and adjust it to the desired height. Trim any excess off each side. Add a thick line of glue along the edges of the roof on the underside, 1/4-inch from the edges. Center the roof so the glue touches the edges of the cabin. Hold in place for a slow count of 50. Allow the roof to dry for an hour.

  9. 9

    Hold the cabin on its side and use the end of the roof as a guide to trace around to create the triangles to fill the holes on each end of the cabin between the roof and the ceiling. Trace the peaked line of the roof from where it meets the top of the cabin wall on one side to where it meets the opposite wall. Finish the triangle by drawing along a ruler. Repeat for the second triangle. Cut out both triangles.

  10. 10

    Apply glue to the three edges of the triangle and slide it under the roof. Press down and hold to help the glue adhere. Repeat with the second triangle.

  11. 11

    Paint the cabin walls the desired colour.

  12. 12

    Paint the doors and window trim after the cabin walls are dry to the touch. Paint the roof.

Tips and warnings

  • Simplify the project for small children by providing shoe boxes and cutting the windows ahead of time.
  • Create a log cabin by rolling newspaper or paper from brown bags around a pencil or marking pen to form logs to glue on the cabin.
  • Keep utility knives out of reach of children.

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