Children (and adults) love to play with toy castles, but purchasing a toy castle can be expensive. Making a castle out of a cardboard box is both easy and rewarding. As well as being a cost-effective alternative, you can build home-made castles to any specification required, big or small; you can add as many towers as you like, and can paint it any colour. It is an excellent craft project for kids, but they require adult help and supervision.
Seal all the flaps of your cardboard box (choose any size box, but a regular box with dimensions of around 18 inches is a good starter). Reinforce all the seams with masking tape.
Cut out windows and doors with a craft knife. Cut out a drawbridge, but only around three sides. The base of the drawbridge should remain attached to the base of the castle so that it will open and close.
Draw 1/2-inch crenulations (battlements) in strips about 1 1/2 inches deep on thin card (such as from an old cereal box). Cut these out, using scissors or craft knife. Wrap strips of crenulations around your additional cardboard containers to make turrets with battlements. Cut windows into your turrets. Secure these turrets to the top of your main castle structure with masking tape.
Make some towers using toilet roll tubes or other cylindrical containers. Cut windows in the towers with your craft knife. Stick your towers to the main castle structure, anywhere you like. Secure firmly with tape.
Add any other architectural features, for example a balcony made from half an egg box, or a secret passageway using a long cardboard cling-film tube. You can add a staircase by gluing small cardboard soapboxes together.
Paint your castle with acrylic paints. Allow the paint to dry.
Cut a circle from your coloured paper; the radius should be about equal to the diameter of your tower. Cut the circle in half to form two semicircles. Roll the semicircles to form cones and tape securely. Tape the cones to the towers and secure firmly.
Make two small holes in the sides of the drawbridge, and two more in the wall right next to the drawbridge. Attach string to the drawbridge, threading it through the holes and knotting firmly. You can now pull up the drawbridge using the string.
Create the base of your castle. Take a large flat piece of sturdy cardboard, big enough to house your castle plus a moat and lands. Paint the cardboard with green paint where you want grass, and blue paint where you want a moat. Allow the paint to dry.
Set your castle on the base, so that the moat flows around it.
Before painting you may like to reinforce all the joins in your castle with more masking tape, to give a cleaner and more secure finish. Add brick effects using a small rectangular sponge, or paint creepers and ivy onto the walls. Add flags to the towers, using small paper triangles glued to cocktail sticks and inserted through the conical roof.
Using a craft knife can be dangerous. Children should not attempt to cut windows and doors without asking for an adult's assistance.