How to Build a TARDIS Out of Cardboard

Written by joan reinbold
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How to Build a TARDIS Out of Cardboard
Art using recycled material is fun art. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

The TARDIS is the time and space travel machine that looks like a blue police box from Britain, and is the way that the character "the doctor" travels in the TV show "Doctor Who." Through the years its appearance has undergone certain revisions, but the exterior design overall remains the same.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pictures of the TARDIS
  • Half gallon cardboard juice or milk container
  • Medium blue acrylic paint
  • Dark blue acrylic paint
  • Black acrylic paint
  • White acrylic paint
  • Internet access
  • Newspaper
  • 2 Paintbrushes, 1 wide and 1 thin
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Wire cork cage
  • 4 twist ties
  • Large needle

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  1. 1

    Spread out some newspaper on a table or the floor, and place the cardboard milk or juice container on it. Cut the top off of the container and flip it over so that its bottom is its top.

    Look at the TARDIS pictures, and from these pictures determine where to draw the outlines of the windows, the door, door handle and the door panels. Also determine the placement of the "Police Telephone" notice. Draw the outlines with the pencil.

  2. 2

    Cut out two of the three lines that make up the door, leaving the right hand long line intact for the hinge.

  3. 3

    Open the white paint and paint all the windows of the TARDIS.

    Open either the medium blue, black or dark blue paint, or continue to use the white paint, and paint the background of the "Police Telephone" notice. The colour you use depends on the design you have chosen. Let the paint dry. Use one of the three paints to paint lines to represent the text of the notice, the colour of which also varies by design.

  4. 4

    Look at the TARDIS pictures to determine where to place the rectangles that will contain the phrase "Police Box." Draw the outlines lightly with the pencil.

    Paint everything that needs to be medium blue, using either of the two brushes when convenient. Let it dry.

  5. 5

    Paint the door handle, the sign rectangles and the panels' borders with the dark blue paint using the small paintbrush. Let the paint dry.

  6. 6

    Paint the words "Police Public Call Box" in the sign rectangles with the white paint using the small paintbrush.

  7. 7

    The wire cork cage consists of a metal cap stuck to a wire frame made of several vertical wires connected to a horizontal loop of wire that forms the base. This cork cage is used to secure a cork to a bottle. Part of its base sticks out and this part is twisted to tighten the cork cage to fasten the cork. The cork cage will become the exterior of the light on top of the TARDIS.

    Press the part of the cage base that sticks out so that it is right against the base.

    When all the paint dries completely, set the wire cork cage base-side down on top of the model.

    How to Build a TARDIS Out of Cardboard
    The cork cage goes over the cork. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)
  8. 8

    Poke a hole next to the outside of the base of the cork cage. On the inside of the base poke another hole to make a matching pair of holes. Make three more pairs of holes. These holes will be used to secure the cork cage to the top of the model.

    How to Build a TARDIS Out of Cardboard
    (George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)
  9. 9

    Poke one end of the first twist tie down through a hole, and loop the other end over the base wire of the cork cage and down the second hole of the pair. Repeat for the other pairs of holes.

  10. 10

    Holding onto the cage, set the box in its side, and twist the ends of each twist tie together.

  11. 11

    Paint the cork cage and the twist ties medium blue.

Tips and warnings

  • If preferred, remove the covering from the twist ties before using them.
  • Stencils help with forming uniform shapes and letters. If you don't have stencils you can make them using paper, duct tape and scissors.
  • Set some tinsel in the TARDIS light, for when it's about to go somewhere.
  • Be careful of the ends of the twist ties, which are pointy.

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