The cardboard is one of my all-time favorite materials. It is cheap, omnipresent, abundant, and sensory friendly. I've made a bunch of cardboard projects over the years, and I always find it hard to just toss away pieces of nice cardboard.

This year, with adopting the Sort-My-Trash resolution, I feel even more obliged to re-use every piece of cardboard by putting it to good use. After all, if cats like cardboard boxes, there is probably something magical about them, right? What I love about cardboard is that it’s so easy to handle for the parents and children alike. And cheap! You will never stress out if your baby wastes the material. Just go and grab another box.

Here are some of my favorite projects.

1. ART

Collages. Collages and cardboard is a match made in heaven. Cardboard makes a perfect base for any mixed media that you would like to assemble. Get a big piece of cardboard and some other junk – oh, I mean recyclables – from around the house. Now fantasize about what you can make out of it.


Check this Tibetan Mountain Flags art for inspiration. I made it out of next to nothing. Some cardboard, an A4 sheet, twine leftovers, colored paper, glue, crayons… that’s it! Turned out lovely and adorns our nursery just perfect.

Think of all the landscapes that can look good in cardboard. A desert would definitely look natural, as well as the Mars or Moon surface. Go for a deserted island, a stormy sea, or a dinosaur cave.

Cut out your elements from the color paper of from magazines, put them on your cardboard, throw in some ropes, buttons, napkins for the texture. You can use any leftovers and scraps you have lying around. Check out this Winter Wonderland we made last weekend out of the wrapping paper leftovers. Ta-daaaa!

Abstract art Constructor

The abstract sculptures constructor. I saw this one on Pinterest, and it’s crazy cool. Note how this project is also made from the leftovers only. It teaches the assemblage, modern art, and the volumes. Awesome. I will cut out the details and then involve my boy to make fun designs on each of it. We will learn parallels and perpendiculars with this one. Or, just make a huge abstract sculpture.



Collage Faces


These cardboard faces are awesome. The project is easy to adjust to any age. Smaller kids will have fun placing ears, eyes, noses, and mouths in the right places. Let them get creative with the hair. 
Older kids can be introduced to Picasso art with this project. Get some of his staple face features pre-made: eyes, half-face noses, unibrows. Ask kids to recreate some masterpieces. Maybe, you can even get yourself portrayed in Picasso-ish manner. 


Knights Castle


This castle was my response to a hundred-bucks fortress that we spotted in the toy store. (Since then, I sure changed my mind about Playmobil – their kits are worth every cent – but the good part was that it pushed me to go home and create this one.)


I grabbed a bunch of boxes from the nearby supermarket, combined them in a castle-like shape, and secured with scotch tape and glue. Then I added ladders and balconies, cut out the door, secured it all together once again and painted grey. 


Only took me about an hour of assembling. It was not as cool as store-bought – it was much cooler! Our Playmobil toy soldiers sieged the castle, and it was a true challenge for them. The high towers were unreachable for the attackers to get their hooks on, and the monster jumped out from the castle as they tried to ram the gates! 
We had a ton of fun with this one. It is very light and easy to get around, too, unlike the store-bought ones with millions of small parts. The cardboard one can be picked up with one hand and moved to wherever you need it. The best part? After Emir lost his interest in this one, we tossed it to the trash bin. No regrets, no re-selling, no money wasted. Profit! 


Viking Ships


These cardboard Viking ships by ikatbag are one-of-a-kind and make an awesome toy as well as a nice school project. Imagine making a fleet and telling the story of how Vikings explored America for the very first time. Amazing. 

The weapons

Here is a picture from the same lovely ikatbag with the adorable swords she made for her girls.


Emir came up with something else. He would collect all the cardboard tube sticks, then get his painters tape (we’re using a ton of this, all the time) and make a club. Boys. They’re still cavemen. 
Then he took a toy knife and attached it to another stick. I’m so proud of my boy. 
Then he made nunchakus. Also, numerous rifles, and more than one spying glass and binoculars. What’s good is he can smash it however hard he likes. The supply is always flowing, so we can replace weapons as they wear out.

Toy Garage


The Pinterest is full to bursting with the ideas and tutorials on making toy garages for the Hot Wheels cars. To my pity, I still haven’t tried out this project, yet I’m definitely going to. As the proud owner of 200+ cars, I just have no choice. Moreover, I really really hate the tracks from the brand – so DIYing them is definitely a better option. 


Cardboard car is the best thing you can make for your kid and for yourself. Attach a smaller one to the back of it to perform as a trunk, cut out several wheels and attach on the outside to make it all more realistic. If you have two boxes, you can make a Cabrio with a convertible roof.



What is the difference between a car and an airplane? Apparently, the propeller. 
Wings can be added, too. Or you can just keep the flaps on the board. 

Emir can play for hours with these, while I relax with a cup some of my well-deserved cocoa.

You can go an extra mile personalizing and adding details to your car, like Sarah from FrugalFunForBoysAndGirls did, for instance. We tried this several times, too. Yet, I didn’t notice much difference in result – the little ones have such a wild imagination, they would enjoy their car anyway!


Kids are a bit like kittens, don’t you think? After all, you can just give them a box and feel like the best parent in the world.


Our stack of cardboard is growing, slowly but surely. It is begging me to be recycled into something – collages, armor, doll houses, airplanes, shields… And what are your favorite cardboard projects? Please share, cause I need to tame this beast – the sooner the better!

Comments (2)

  1. Thanks a lot, Brooklyn! Yes, it was a lot of fun, and the best part is that it only took about half an hour to make the whole thing. And, your little ones can take part in coloring and adorning it – I'm sure they will love to come up with the coat-of-arms ideas.

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