How to make a robot out of a shoe box

Updated February 21, 2017

Many children enjoy playing with robots, or using robots during pretend play. One way to encourage this creative play is to show your child how to create a robot using common household materials, like shoe boxes. This enables children to be creative while using materials you would otherwise throw away. Make the shoebox robot more decorative using craft materials you purchased from an art supply store.

Plug a hot glue gun into an outlet to heat up for 10 minutes so the glue will melt inside the gun.

Squeeze hot glue over one side of the box, then press another box on top of the glue-covered box. Hold the two boxes in place for 1 minute so the glue can cool. Repeat to create a stack of three to four connected shoe boxes.

Squeeze a quarter-sized dollop of hot glue onto a plastic bottle cap, and press the bottle cap onto one of the boxes. Hold the bottle cap in place for 1 minute to cool. Repeat to add as many bottle caps as you want. The bottle caps replicate the buttons on a robot.

Squeeze a line of hot glue down the length of a paper towel tube, and press the tube vertically along the box structure. Hold the tube in place for 1 minute. Repeat to add as many tubes as you want. The paper towel tubes replicate the arms of a robot.

Squeeze lines of hot glue around the outside of the boxes to replicate wires and circuitry. Allow the glue to cool for 2 minutes.

Paint the entire robot using metallic acrylic paint to make the robot look as if it is constructed of metal. Allow the paint to dry fro 20 minutes. Once dry, paint a layer of clear acrylic glaze over the paint. This will protect the paint and will make the robot look shiny. Let the glaze dry for 20 minutes before playing with the robot.


Use hot glue under adult supervision. Hot glue is extremely hot and can cause serious burns.

Things You'll Need

  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue stick
  • 4 Shoe boxes
  • Plastic bottle tops
  • Paper towel tubes
  • Acrylic paint, metallic
  • Paintbrush
  • Acrylic glaze, clear
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