Things to make out of cardboard

Updated July 20, 2017

With a little creativity, ordinary cardboard can be transformed into useful or decorative items. Rather than throwing cardboard away, consider recycling it into one of the following craft projects. Create a toy vehicle for your favourite child, a festive Christmas ornament, a special photo frame, or a unique gift box. Making things out of cardboard is earth-friendly, entertaining and economical.

Fun Toy Vehicles

With scissors, glue, paint, and a few extra supplies, kids can turn cardboard tubes from paper towel rolls or toilet paper rolls into toys. Add a cone shaped piece of cardstock to one end of a cardboard tube and stabiliser fins on the bottom, and you've got a rocket ready for a budding astronaut to decorate. Other kids may choose to turn their cardboard tubes into aeroplanes or race cars. Their creations are limited only by their imagination.

Festive Christmas Ornaments

The stiffness of cardboard makes a sturdy base for a handmade Christmas ornament. Cut a piece of cardboard into a desired shape. Basic shapes include circles, squares or diamonds, while fancier shapes may feature Christmas trees, stars and snowmen. Pierce a hole at the top of the ornament and string it with a length of ribbon, yarn or twine. Using paint, glitter, scrapbooking paper, markers or other art supplies, embellish the ornament. Allow drying time if necessary.

Embellished Photo Frames

Create a cardboard photo frame. Measure the photo, then cut the outline for the frame from the cardboard, making sure that the frame is slightly larger than the photo. Using a utility knife, cut out the inside window of the frame. Decorate the photo frame as you desire. Ideas include gluing on a variety of pretty buttons or silk flowers, adding designs using rubber stamps, or painting with acrylic paints.

Unique Gift Boxes

Cardboard tubes can also be transformed into gift boxes. Place the gift into the tube, and cover with gift wrapping paper or tissue paper, sealing the ends with tape. You can also twist the paper at the ends and secure it with ribbon to give the appearance of a large candy wrapper. It's a festive way to reuse something that would normally be thrown away.

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About the Author

Linda Michi is a freelance writer and educator. She began writing in 2000, and has been published in "Creating Keepsakes," "Memory Makers," "Better Homes and Gardens Scrapbooks Etc." and "An Encouraging Word." She has a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Hawaii. Her experience also includes life as a stockbroker, investment adviser, small-business owner and church ministry leader.