What do you do when you’re cooped up during the winter season? Or when you’re stuck inside with the A/C blasting to cool down during the summer?
You make a kid-size convertible car.
Last summer we visited our local bookstore for a Cars movie event. Kids decorated their cardboard box cars, ate popcorn, sipped their CapriSuns, and relaxed in the luxury of their handmade cardboard car. The best part about the movie event? They got to take the cars home.
But like all good cardboard toys, its age shows after wear and tear.
This season, I had plenty of leftover boxes that I planned to write a post entitled, “TUTORIAL 2.0: The Cardboard Kitchen Remake.” But I think the days of kitchen play ended when they fell in love with moving vehicles.
Then one weekend, Piano Man asked to make another cardboard car. Luckily, I kept those large cardboard boxes for such an occasion. I made a few modifications to their first cardboard box car. Follow these instructions to make your own cardboard convertible car for a great time of pretend play!
- large cardboard box
- utility knife
- long ruler (or T-bar)
- tacky glue
- clear moving tape
- additional cardboard box to make the hood and windshield
- blue card stock paper (if making it blue)
- blue duck tape
- silver washi tape
- white or colored paper (to make license plate)
- *Download Cardboard Convertible Car Decal Template Here*
Step 1. Choose a medium-sized cardboard box.
I found a nice long cardboard box that would give our boys room to extend their legs. The ones at the Cars movie event were smaller and tighter, which was difficult for older children to sit through the movie.
Step 2. Push the flaps of the cardboard box in.
Why add the stress of cutting out the flaps when you can add sturdiness to the cardboard box?
Step 3. Find a second piece of cardboard. Make the hood and windshield of the car.
In my case, I found an internal cardboard piece that had pre-set folds. I wrapped the tri-fold cardboard box piece to the front to create a hood and then a windshield (to be cut out later).
Tape it to the body of the convertible car using clear moving tape.
Step 4. Design, measure, and cut windshield with a ruler, pencil, and utility knife.
Step 5. Add blue card stock paper with tacky glue.
Using 12″ x 12″ card stock glitter paper (teal blue and light blue), I glued glitter paper to the cardboard box. You can wrap card stock paper around the front of the hood/grill area as well, which covers up any mishaps when you taped the piece to the cardboard box. (See Step 3)
Note: When I took architecture design classes, Aleene’s Tacky Glue is the glue of choice when designing and building our cardboard architectural projects. It’s much stronger than any Elmer’s or glue stick you’ll find.
Step 6. Add blue duck tape to create a pin stripe along the sides of the car. Add silver wash tape to design the door.
Add clear moving tape to seal the edges of card stock paper (See image in Step 5 for a closer look.)
It’s going to be a convertible, so you don’t need to cut out a door and handle.
Step 7. Add embellishments to your convertible.
*Download Cardboard Convertible Car Decal Template Here*
Using the template I provided, cut and paste a grill, headlights, brake lights, and a license plate to add that personal touch to your convertible.
Don’t forget to let your little ones add their personal touch to the design. Look below, and you’ll see a steering wheel, speedometer, CD player, ignition keyhole. Oh the things kids observe in life; it’s so precious.
Step 8. Voila! Project complete!
Now your kids have a fun, imaginative way to play for hours without the need to buy any bulky plastic toys. The best part is that you can toss them out when they’ve been used well. We had our play kitchen for over three years before we said good-bye. Let’s see how long we hold onto our handmade convertible car.
Share what you’d create with a cardboard box in the comments section below.
Up next: Make a cardboard fire truck!
From my hometown to yours,