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How to Make a Model Car From Junk

Updated April 17, 2017

Model cars don't always have to be flashy, shiny and made of moulded plastic or metal. You can create model cars from junk or recycled materials. This can give your model car some unique properties and give the car an endearing handcrafted charm. This technique is done in third world countries where metal, cardboard and wood are not as widely available. Because of this, toys and models are created from scrap so that nothing is wasted in the process.

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  1. Turn a case (18 pack) of soda pop on it's side so that it is wider than it is tall. Trace a square on the back half of the top of the case. Cut this out using a box cutter. Trace a line across the top of the box about 1/4 of the way down from the tip of the box. Cut the left and right sides of this shape away from the box and fold it up along the trace lines. This will help you to create the front window of the junk car.

  2. Cut two holes 1/2 inch wide at the bottom right and left side of the soda pop case. Use a compass to measure the holes and cut it open with the tip of the box cutter. Slip two wooden dowel rods that are 18 inches long and 1/2 inches in diameter through he holes to create the axles.

  3. Place a wheel that is 3 inches in diameter on the end of the dowel rods that are poking out from the car. Glue this in place with a hot glue gun. Fold the top of the front window down so that it gives the window an upside down "L" shape.

  4. Reinforce the corners of the box with a bead of hot glue at each corner. This will ensure that the box holds together during play. You can paint the car with acrylic craft paint or leave the design of the box in place to give the junk car some added character.

  5. Tip

    You can put one box inside the other to add extra reinforcement.


    Be careful not to burn the cardboard by pressing the metal tip against the cardboard.

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Things You'll Need

  • Soda Pop Box
  • Compass
  • 2 wooden dowel rods 18 inches long 1/2 inches in diameter
  • 4 wooden wheels 3 inches in diameter (available at craft stores)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Box cutter


About the Author

Andrew DeWitt is a freelance writer/illustrator and stand-up comic with more than eight years of professional experience. He has written for Chicago Public Radio, Vocalo Radio, Second City Chicago, and The Lemming. DeWitt has a liberal arts degree with a double major in theater and creative writing.

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