How to Make a Cardboard Dog House or Play House

Written by katie jensen
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How to Make a Cardboard Dog House or Play House
Turn a cardboard box into hours of fun for your kids. (cardboard box image by MAXFX from

Constructing a play house from a cardboard box is a project that shouldn't take much time. Children can participate by painting or drawing on the house features, but an adult should do the cutting. The directions are the same for both the doghouse or play house. The difference is primarily the size of the door. The doghouse is only appropriate for small dogs or stuffed animals.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Cardboard box
  • Spray paint
  • Door and window templates
  • Craft knife
  • Straight edge
  • Packing tape
  • Hot glue gun
  • Fabric
  • Silk flowers
  • Wood picket fence
  • Balsa wood strip
  • Marker
  • String
  • Cup hook
  • White glue

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  1. 1

    Fold the lid sections up inside the box to strengthen the sides. Tape them with packing tape so they stay secure.

  2. 2

    Spray paint the outside of the box to cover any markings. If you use a plain brown box,

    additional painting isn't necessary unless you want to make the house a different colour than the cardboard.

  3. 3

    Trace the door and window templates on the cardboard. Cut an opening for the door. A doghouse door is big enough for the dog, stuffed animal or child pretending to be a dog, to enter comfortably. The door is cut from the bottom of the box up and then across the top of the door.

  4. 4

    Hold a straight edge against the side of the door that has not been cut. Crease the cardboard of the box against the straight edge. Push the door flap against the straight edge toward the inside of the box. Change the straight edge to the inside of the box and push the door flap against it to the outside of the box. Tape the door where the crease is on both the inside of the box and on the outside. For decorative purposes, tape the top and side cut edges as well.

  5. 5

    Cut the windows out. Hot glue the fabric on the inside of the box to resemble a curtain. Leave enough of the window unblocked by the fabric to peek outside.

  6. 6

    Hot glue silk flowers around the bottom of the box. A dab of glue at the bottom of the stem and behind the flower head is sufficient.

  7. 7

    Hot glue the white garden wood fencing around the box over the flowers. Don't glue the fence on the door. This type of fencing is about 18 inches high and comes in 24- to 36-inch sections. The wood is about 1/4 inch thick. Find it in home and garden stores. Besides being decorative, the fencing stabilises the box.

  8. 8

    Paint the dog's or child's name on the balsa wood. Glue the string on either side of the wood strip to form a hanger.

  9. 9

    Screw a cup hook through the cardboard box to one side of the door. Secure it with a dab of hot glue on the other side. Use white glue to glue a cotton ball over the pointed end of the cup hook to blunt the end. Hang the name sign on the hook on the outside of the dog/play house.

Tips and warnings

  • Put a comfy cushion inside the play/doghouse.
  • Wear goggles and a mask when spray painting.

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