How to build a robot out of cartons

Written by amy davidson
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How to build a robot out of cartons
Homemade carton robots can serve as cute decor. (Maschinenmensch - Roboter image by Marem from

Making a robot out of recyclable products, such as milk or orange juice cartons, can be an interesting project to try at home or for a school project. You can even create a carton robot to use as decoration for a kid’s room, or anywhere in your home. If you want to make a robot out of cartons around your house, discover how to do so using a little imagination and a few craft supplies.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Carton
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue
  • Small foam cube (2 inches by 2 inches)
  • Silver acrylic latex paint
  • Acrylic latex paint (colours of your choosing)
  • 2 small buttons
  • Yellow acrylic latex paint
  • 3 silver pipe cleaners
  • 2 foam columns (1 inch thick)

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  1. 1

    Cut off the top part of your carton. For example, if you have a milk carton, cut off the part at the top that is angled up, so that you just have a square opening in your carton.

  2. 2

    Flip your carton over so that the flat bottom is now facing up. Glue your small foam cube to the centre of the flat bottom. This will be your robot’s head.

  3. 3

    Paint your carton and cube with silver acrylic latex paint and allow a few hours for paint to dry completely.

  4. 4

    Use various other colours of acrylic latex paint to paint buttons and switches onto your robot anywhere you like.

  5. 5

    Paint 2 small buttons of matching size and shape bright yellow with acrylic latex paint. Glue them to the front of your foam cube to serve as your robot’s eyes.

  6. 6

    Intertwine 3 silver pipe cleaners and cut them so they are 4 inches in length. These will serve as arms on your robot.

  7. 7

    Poke holes in either side of your robot about 3 inches from the top and push a length of woven pipe cleaners about an inch into your holes, then apply hot glue around each hole to hold pipe cleaners in place.

  8. 8

    Paint your foam columns silver as you did with the rest of your robot’s body and allow a few hours to dry.

  9. 9

    Apply a line of hot glue to the side of one of your columns going down a few inches from the top. Apply the area with the glue to one of the sides of the carton on the inside. Repeat this step with the other column on the opposite side inside of your robot for legs.

Tips and warnings

  • Instead of doing foam legs, tape your robot to a remote control car and you now have a robot you can move around using the remote control.
  • Play around with paints and colours. Your robot doesn’t have to be silver; you can do any colour you want and use other things like glitter and stickers too.

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