Making And Crafts : Cardboard Box Castle

July 22, 2011 08:17 by ehouston

Our new dishwasher arrived last week and we are so thrilled….not about the nice new kitchen tool, no!  It’s all about the box around here!  For a couple of days I kept mentioning to the Little Guy that we might make something out of the big box sitting in the living room.  He would eye it suspiciously and then walk on as if I had not said anything at all.  For his upcoming birthday I was considering a pop-up tent for his playroom, so when we ended up with this box I figured it was a budget-friendly bonus to try out instead.  Honestly, I wasn’t even sure he would be willing to step inside of something like a tent and I did not want to waste the money if he wasn’t in to it.  His initial reaction to the box gave me the feeling he could really care less and maybe it wasn’t worth all the effort. 

Then I cut a doorway and everything changed.

Within moments of creating an opening he and his bear disappeared inside.


A little while after that I walked into our dining room to this scene…


Yes, I actually have two children.

When I saw their reaction I knew it was time to bust out some paint and craft supplies to spiff this ol’ box up a bit.  I started with my hoard of containers.  Oh, didn’t I tell you?  I have a thing for packaging.  It can be cute packaging, but it can also be something ugly, but possibly useful.  I mail my Etsy shop sales in empty cereal boxes, create cute storage from old diaper boxes (remember this hamper for my son’s room?), and use all kinds of containers for interesting present wrap.  I admit, it’s odd, but I have a hard time throwing out perfectly good packaging.  Hence, my excitement when the delivery man started to take our new BIG box away!  He looked at me like I was crazy when I said we would keep that too.  What eves… 

So, back to my stash.  I found four old oatmeal boxes and knew they would be perfect for little turrets on the corners of our make-shift castle.

All of the cutwork performed here was done by eyeball.  Heck, it’s just an old dishwasher box for my Little Guy’s playroom, not an architectural wonder.  (If you decide to follow along, don’t make yourself too crazy with these steps.)  I sketched out the door by hand before running a utility knife through the line and did the same with the oatmeal box turrets.  I just held one up to the corner with a portion hanging over the edge of the box and used a Sharpie marker to trace around the box corner onto the bottom of the oatmeal cylinder. 


You may wonder why I started with the bottom of the oatmeal box instead of the open end?  Well, I figured having the rest of the bottom closed would add stability and look neater when all put together.  Plus, cutting the turret tops from the curled edge of the oatmeal container top added stability and interest to that end.  I didn’t take a picture of cutting the top portion because it was pretty straight forward- you just cut out small squares along the top edge.  Hint- once you make one use your cut out pieces to trace around on the other oatmeal containers for a much more efficient process.

I was going to attach the turrets with hot glue along all the edges where they meet the main box, but I figured masking tape would work just fine.  Note to self: use hot glue next time around.  It’s not that the tape didn’t work, but it is wrinkly and once I painted everything it started to come up in some spots.  Wah-wuh…  Again, I had to remind myself this is no Taj Mahal, just a plaything.  I also used masking, and when I ran out of that, painter’s tape to cover the edges of the doorway, box bottom and the windows.  Cut cardboard tends to be sharp and also sticks into the carpet and leaves bits of torn paper everywhere.  I figured a nice edge would keep things tidy and be less dangerous to the Little Guy’s extra soft skin.


Speaking of the devil, here’s Mr. Bossy Pants showing me the way he thinks it should go.




Here we are with cut-out doorway, windows and attached turrets.  Ready for paint!  I was convinced that I needed to prime first because of the dark lettering, but I really just wasted an entire can of paint and added an odor that has taken days to wear off.  I also realized I could have used some of the leftover paint from another project we have going on here, but I had already picked up some Oops paint from Walmart for $6.98 a quart and just did not want to have to take it back.  (You know the trauma I always suffer going to that place.  hee!)  So much for nearly free!  Anyway, I had intended to paint one coat with the Oops paint, which is a light green-grey, tape off brick and stone marks and then use the darker grey paint from our project over the tape marks.  My thought was that I could remove the tape and have nice, lighter “mortar” lines.  After some thought about how involved this “quick” project was becoming I nixed that plan and decided a black Sharpie would work just fine.  I was also convinced after finding this tutorial online.   Plus, I’m not really counting on this thing lasting too long with the Duke of Destruction on the throne.





Since I had some dowels laying around from another project I thought it might be nice to add a little flag as well.  Flags are something the Little Guy loves to point out everywhere we go and in every book he reads, so it made sense to give him one for his very own castle.  For more info on how we created the flag, click over here



All in all, I would say this project has been a huge hit!

What have you guys created out of old containers, or large cardboard boxes?  I would love to see some pics for future ideas!  Bring ‘em on!

Kitsch Krafts

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