Types of Cardboard Models That Are Easy to Make

Updated February 21, 2017

If you are a beginning model maker or want some ideas for models that children can make, consider starting with one of several simple models such as a castle, rocket ship or skyscraper. These easy to construct models will introduce you to the methods of model design and planar construction. Soon you will be on your way to more elaborate and sophisticated creations.

Medieval Castle

A medieval castle is easy because there are lots of broad planes and simple geometric shapes. Construct a castle wall around the edge of a square cardboard base. Build square structures with peaked or flat roofs, and round towers with conical rooftops within the wall. Cardboard tubes, tissue boxes and cereal boxes can all be used. Cut notches along the top of the wall and the top of the square structures to mimic the crenels of a castle. Cut tiny slits in the round towers to evoke arrow-shooting windows. Finish the tower with paper flags, drawn-on drawbridges and pathways and any other details you desire.

Rocket Ship

Even though the construction of a cardboard rocket ship is rudimentary, the final look of a rocket ship is wide open for creative elaboration. A basic paper towel tube serves as the rocket body. For a long rocket, use a gift wrap paper tube. Cover the tube in construction paper or paint it if you want to add colour. Another idea is to make a tube out of cereal box and incorporate the colours and imagery that already exists. Cut out triangles for the fins of the rocket and cut corresponding slits in the triangles and at the bottom of the rocket for attachment. Make a cone for the nose of the rocket by cutting a circle out of thin cardboard or construction paper, cutting a slit half way through, turning it into a cone and gluing it to the top of the rocket. Use paint or markers if you want to add text, symbols or other details.


Skyscrapers are easy to construct because they are tall rectangles. However, there are many modifications you can make to create your own unique, modern architectural feat. Modify a singular cardboard form or stack several smaller cardboard elements to make a skyscraper. Get inspired by looking at images of famous skyscrapers like the Empire State Building in New York, the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Jin Mao Building in Shanghai and the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong. Simple alterations to the basic rectangle, such as tiered sections, bevelled planes and rounded edges can make enormous visual impact. Architectural details, windows and doors can be drawn on or you can glue on craft paper and Mylar paper to create juxtapositions of opaque and mirrored surfaces.

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About the Author

Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.