How to make a cardboard bus

School buses fascinate young children. From the song "Wheels on the Bus" to watching older siblings ride to school, the big yellow bus represents maturity to preschool children. Making a bus at home gives little ones the chance to have their own big yellow bus. Creating a homemade toy with your child teaches him to reuse household objects and gives him practice in basic motor skills. It also creates parent-child memories that last a lifetime.

Wash both cartons out with soap and water. If the carton has a plastic spout, rotate one carton so that the spout faces down. This is the body of the bus.

Cut the bottom of the second carton at the seam that splits the bottom in half. Follow the cutting line up both sides of the carton. Halfway between the top and bottom of the carton, turn your scissors and cut the carton from one line to the other. You will now have a piece that is ¼ of the total carton.

Tape the cut bottom section of the ¼ section to the peak of the body of the bus, covering the spout. This is now the front of your bus, where the engine would be in a real bus. Secure the rest of the section to the carton with tape.

Cut a flap from the roof of the bus. Leave one side of the flap connected so that the flap folds open or closed. Dry out the carton if needed.

Cut the egg carton to fit inside the bus. Put glue on the bottom of each eggcup and glue the entire strip to the bottom of the bus. Each cup is a seat for a toy rider.

Paint the entire bus yellow and allow the paint to dry.

Cut 4 circles, 50mm (2 inches) in diameter out of the black craft foam. Glue the tires in place on the bus. Use the front set of tires to cover the seam where you taped the cut section to the carton.

Cut 2 rectangles the entire width of the bus and 30mm (1 ½ inch) tall out of the light blue craft foam. Glue one in place as the windshield and the other as the back window of the bus. Cut 16 30mm (1 ½ inch0 square windows and glue them along the sides of the bus.

Cut a dozen small circles out of orange foam. Use a hole punch or a circle die cut punch for perfect circles. Glue the circles on the front and back of the bus for safety lights.

Cut a hexagon with a 12mm (½ inch) wide by 25mm (1 inch) tab on one side out of the red craft foam. Score the tab next to the hexagon. Write the word STOP on the hexagon and glue the tab to the bus.

Write the name of the child's school along the side and decorate with black lines.


Help your child place the pieces on the bus.


Cutting craft foam and milk cartons requires sharp scissors. Do not allow the child to use the scissors.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 x 2 Litre (Half gallon) milk or juice carton
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Egg carton
  • Glue
  • Yellow tempera paint
  • Black craft foam sheet
  • Light blue craft foam
  • Orange craft foam sheet
  • Hole punch or circle die cut punch (optional)
  • Red craft foam sheet
  • Black permanent marker
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About the Author

Based in Nashville, Shellie Braeuner has been writing articles since 1986 on topics including child rearing, entertainment, politics and home improvement. Her work has appeared in "The Tennessean" and "Borderlines" as well as a book from Simon & Schuster. Braeuner holds a Master of Education in developmental counseling from Vanderbilt University.