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How to Make Greek Columns From Cardboard

Updated April 17, 2017

Whether you're planning a school play or want a cheap way to spruce up a room for an event, Greek columns made from cardboard may be a good choice. There are three main types of Greek columns---Doric, Ionic and Corinthian---but the main difference is in the column's top (or "capital"). If you want to mix and match, chances are that your audience or guests won't put up a fuss---they'll be too impressed at how good the scenery looks.

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  1. Decide how tall you want the columns to be. Flatten and cut the boxes with the scissors or the Exacto knife into the longest lengths possible.

  2. Lay out the cardboard pieces end-to-end until you've reached the desired length.

  3. Choose whether your want Doric, Ionic or Corinthian columns and skip to the appropriate section. Doric columns are plain and powerful, Ionic columns are slender and elegant and Corinthian columns are tall and decorative.

  4. Start your cut at the lower end of your column. Doric columns are wide at the base and become narrower at the top. They have no base. At the top, cut outward on both sides in an upward curve until the capital is about as wide as the bottom of the column, then cut straight upward for a short distance. Cut across the top of the capital in a horizontal line.

  5. Paint the cardboard white and let it dry. Mix a little of the dark paint with some white paint to create a light grey colour. Dip the sponge in the grey paint and dab it on the column until it looks similar to marble. Allow the grey paint to dry.

  6. Paint a horizontal black line at the bottom of the capital and at the point where the vertical line starts on the capital.

  7. Paint six black lines from the bottom of the column to the bottom of the capital. Keep the lines parallel to the side of the column they are on. Space them symmetrically, with three on each side. Put the outside line close to the edge and space them wider as you move toward the middle. Leave a gap in the middle of the column between the groups of three lines.

  8. Put the column together by turning it over and taping or stapling scraps of cardboard to the back of the column behind any breaks in the cardboard pieces. Staple or tape the column to a sturdy backing, such as a wall or a stage backdrop.

  9. Tip

    These instructions are for Doric columns. To make Ionic or Corinthian columns, simply make the following changes. Ionic: Don't taper the column edges, keep them vertical (in buildings, these columns are tapered, but this is only to make the edges appear straight). Add more vertical lines on the column. Create a base that looks like a square with five stacked rings on top. Add "scrolls" on the capital. Corinthian: Keep the column edges straight. Add a base that tapers outward. Add more lines on the column (like the Ionic) and taper the capital outward. Add leaves and other decorative elements to the capital.


    Make sure you've attached the columns securely to a solid backing; they will be structurally unsound otherwise.

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Things You'll Need

  • Several large cardboard boxes (appliance boxes are a good choice)
  • Sturdy scissors or Exacto knife
  • White paint
  • Dark brown or black paint
  • Packing tape or sturdy stapler
  • Sponge

About the Author

Andrew Cockerham is a world traveler and perpetual student with He has been writing since 1999. His work has appeared in "The Gadfly," an annual literary journal, and "Spectrum." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in writing from Walla Walla University.

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