How to Make Cardboard Vehicles

Updated July 20, 2017

Get your child's creative wheels turning by helping him or her take a simple cardboard box and transform it into a cardboard vehicle. Just about any size cardboard box will do, as long as your child can sit in it, and most of the supplies may be found around the house. Perfect for a rainy day, this activity can provide hours of creative fun and active play.

Use the craft knife/box cutter to cut the side flaps and one end-flap off of the top of the cardboard box.

Cut the centre out of the remaining flap, leaving a 2-inch margin all the way around the edge to form a windshield.

Use markers to draw wheels on the insides of four of the paper plates. Attach the paper plates to the cardboard box by punching a brad through the centre of each paper plate and through the cardboard box. Attach a "wheel" to the front and rear of each side of the box so that the bottom of each paper plate just touches the floor. Open the tines of each brad flat against the inside of the cardboard box.

Draw a steering wheel on the inside of the remaining paper plate and use a brad to attach the "steering wheel" to the inside of the box so that it sticks up a several inches past the bottom of the windshield area. This will help stabilise the flap and keep it standing straight up.

Use tape to cover and secure the opened tines of the brads, on the wheels and the steering wheel, to protect children from accidental cuts or punctures.

Cut bumpers out of the cardboard flaps that you cut off of the box earlier, and glue them on to the front and back of the car.

Make headlights and taillights out of construction paper and glue them to the front and back of the vehicle.

Decorate the car and add personalised embellishments with markers.


Add extra boxes to turn your car into a truck, a boat or even a train! For a box that is too small for a child to sit in, cut a hole in the bottom and make two small hand-slots in the sides, so your child can stand up with the box around his or her tummy and use the hand-slots to carry the car around. Use extra pieces from the cutaway cardboard flaps to stabilise the windshield if the paper plate isn't enough to keep it in place.


Always supervise children when using scissors, glue and markers. Craft knives and box cutters should only be used by adults.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard box
  • Craft knife/box cutter
  • 5 heavy-duty paper plates
  • 5 scrapbooking brads
  • Construction paper
  • Washable markers
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Glue
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About the Author

Carol Holaday's writing preferences are metaphysics, self-help, alternative health products, and general arts and crafts. She has written monthly columns for; direct marketing letters, brochures and leaflets for Sedgbeer Creative Media; ongoing special assignment writing for PP E-Commerce; and her own book, "Crafting a Magical Life," Findhorn Press, 2009.