How to Make Shapes From Cardboard

Written by emilytrudeau
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How to Make Shapes From Cardboard
Use cardboard shapes to build a structure or box. (white cardboard boxes image by leafy from

Shapes are the building blocks of the world. Engineers use them to build anything from a simple wheel on a child's toy to the most complex bridge. You can draw or build with cardboard shapes, which are easy to create on their own. They are also much less expensive than purchasing a set of pre-made stencils or shapes. Build a structure or draw out a picture of almost anything with a few basic cardboard stencils.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Cardboard cereal boxes or shipping boxes
  • Utility knife
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Drawing compass

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  1. 1

    Unfold a cardboard box or cereal box. Use a utility knife to cut through tape or glue, if necessary. You now have a flat piece of cardboard.

  2. 2

    Draw out the shape you want to create on the cardboard in pencil. Use a ruler to make a polygon with straight edges, or a drawing compass to make a circle. Freehand draw any irregular shapes.

  3. 3

    Lay the cardboard on a flat, cut-resistant surface like a cutting board or concrete floor. Hold the utility knife at a 45-degree angle from the cardboard and slice firmly around the edges of the shape, cutting the shape out completely.

  4. 4

    Remove excess cardboard from the edges with your utility knife or scissors to create a clean edge all the way around your shape. Use the shape as a stencil for drawing or as a building block in a three-dimensional structure.

Tips and warnings

  • If your cardboard is thick, score the cardboard with your knife on the first try rather than cutting all the way through. Then bend the excess cardboard back, and finish cutting through the line.
  • Trace around the edges of other objects that have the shape you want, rather than drawing your own shapes. This is especially useful when creating shapes like squares, which require perfect angles and lengths.
  • This activity requires the use of a sharp utility knife. Hold the knife firmly and watch for any fingers that could be in the way before you slice.

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