06 May 2013

How To: Make a Cardboard Box Car

I'm fairly sure that every mama has at some point in her life made (or is destined to at some point in the future make) a cardboard box car.

how to make a cardboard box car

cardboard box car using tinfoil

To be honest, there's really no excuse not to. Not when the only thing holding you back is having a box to do it! We bought a new dehumidifier yesterday after our trusty 13-year old model had finally given up the ghost over the summer, so now we had everything we needed - the box and some very handy extra packaging to boot.

So here's how to make a cardboard box car:

cardboard box car using cellophane


- Cut a hole in the side of a box big enough for the kids to fit in. Although you might be hard pushed fitting an older kiddy in - Mr 6 and a half was pretty marginal!

If your box just happened to come with some polystrene packaging like ours that you can re-use, you might find yourself with the perfect front radiator and lights for your car and maybe even a steering wheel if you're lucky.


cardboard box car using household items


- Fish around for something you can decorate your car with. We retrieved some crumpled tin foil that we'd originally used for the mother of all Star Wars parties a couple of years ago. Recycling see - very environmentally-friendly!

- Add a few accessories like an exhaust pipe (my kids call them boosters), wheels, lights and a personalised number plate.



- If you want to make a real darn good mess while you're at it, you could always let the kids loose with some packing chips to pack into the car to make it more comfy. Their idea and it seemed like a good one - that is until we spent quite some time picking up all the chips they decided to break up into ever-decreasingly smaller pieces afterwards.


Oh and if you want your car to look really fast, a bit of red cellophane will give it an authentic look.


Oh and do try NOT to slice yourself with the craft knife when cutting out the box and polystrene packaging otherwise owwweee!

My desire to make a cardboard car was inspired by an amazing post this week by the ever-talented Angela-Noelle over at Striking Keys who made a cardboard box car and held a movie drive-in with a whole bunch of cool kiddies. If you want to pop on over and check out Angela's post for some more fun design ideas, here are the materials she used to create her masterpiece too.


Making a Box Car:
  • 1 large box, reinforced with tape to strengthen the walls against a little leaning back 
  • Four plastic plates for wheels -- colouring over the grooved edges with black vivid, and drawing screws onto the middle
  • 1 plastic bowl for a steering wheel -- ideally fixed with a split tack for turning
  • 2 small plastic lids covered in tin foil for headlights (some of ours came off of stock powder plastic containers, for example)
  • Fluro orange circle stickers for rear lights
  • Coloured tape for stripes (we got ours a long time ago in a stack of colours from K-Mart for really cheap, $4 or something for 6 rolls of packing tape-type tape, but in colours)
  • An empty toilet paper roll covered in tin foil for an exhaust pipe
  • A cushion / small chair to put inside the box (depending on the height of your box)
  • Old wrapping paper / construction paper / drawings to cover the box (if it has writing on it)...or you could paint it!
  • White paper for licence plates

So if you are new to this cardboard box car making lark, can I suggest taking the plunge and giving it go!

Off you go, go hunt out that box!

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