How to Make Cardboard Vehicles

Written by carol holaday
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How to Make Cardboard Vehicles
Turn an empty shipping box into a childhood dream car. (Karton mit Luftposter image by Marem from

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.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you 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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  1. 1

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

    How to Make Cardboard Vehicles
    Cut cardboard with a craft knife or box cutter. (stock pictures of a box cutter with a very sharp blade image by Albert Lozano from
  2. 2

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

  3. 3

    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.

    How to Make Cardboard Vehicles
    Attach wheels with brads. (versand image by Ewe Degiampietro from
  4. 4

    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.

  5. 5

    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.

    How to Make Cardboard Vehicles
    Tape over brad tines for safety. (scotch tape image by Adkok from
  6. 6

    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.

    How to Make Cardboard Vehicles
    Use glue to attach cardboard bumpers. (bottle of glue on black marble image by phizics from
  7. 7

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

    How to Make Cardboard Vehicles
    Make construction paper headlights and taillights. (paper samples for business cards image by Adam Radosavljevic from
  8. 8

    Decorate the car and add personalised embellishments with markers.

    How to Make Cardboard Vehicles
    Add decoration with markers. (markers of various colours image by Tom Oliveira from

Tips and warnings

  • 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.

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