We always hear that a box is not just a box. Or that all your child needs is the box the toys came in, not the toys. It is so true. It is ridiculous the amount of fun you can have with just a box (we go dumpster diving). Chelsey is a reader of Hands On As We Grow and shared with me this incredible cardboard box fort that she made. I think its absolutely amazing and asked her to share with the rest of us how she made it so awesome. Thankfully, she agreed to share, so you can make it too!
Here’s Chelsey, first grab the supplies she used to make it, which includes affiliate links for your convenience that help support Hands On As We Grow.
Supplies needed to make a cardboard box fort:
- At least two large boxes (I used a car seat box and one large Amazon Pantry box)
- Duct Tape (lots of it!)
- Packing Tape
- Hot Glue Gun (with glue of course!) (mini glue sticks also at the dollar store)
- Plywood (for the base, it adds stability)
- Xacto knife
- Box cutter
- Decorating supplies (scrapbook paper, Mod Podge, contact paper, fake flowers, or whatever suits your tastes)
- push button lights
Start by figuring out how you’d like to orient the boxes. I was going for a store front look so I situated the boxes side by side.
After you have the orientation you like start taping the flaps of the boxes together to make the fort big enough for you toddler to stand or sit in (This part takes a lot of tape!) Make sure the seams are taped completely together on the inside and outside of the box to add more stability.
Then collapse the box down and decide the location of the door. Use your ruler or straight edge to make a nice rectangle on the seam of the box. The seam will be your hinge.
Cut out the rectangle with the box cutter and then cut out the door handle.
Next, cut out a window in the smaller of the two boxes with the box cutter.
Put both boxes right side up again and next to one another. Next tape the two boxes together using lots of tape.
Once the boxes are taped securely together crawl inside the house and cut out a hole between the two boxes (so your child can move freely in between the two boxes while inside)
The flower bed is made using scrap cardboard and scored into a long rectangular cube and taped to the window sill of the smaller box (I also suggest using hot glue to really tack the box in place).
Before you begin decorating make sure all seams are taped on both the inside and on the outside of the box.
For added stability you can hot glue the entire base of the fort to your ply wood piece.
Decorating the cardboard box fort:
- I used a mix of scrapbook paper with Mod podge, and adhesive contact paper.
- For the lighting I bought dollar store push button lights and a lantern. Don’t forgot your dollar store batteries!
- I bought my flowers at Michaels, but most dollar stores have fake flowers for much much cheaper ( I learned that the hard way!)
I also initially put contact paper on the inside of the house, but it was off-gassing too much and I decided the fumes were not safe. I took all the paper down and put butterfly stickers on the plain cardboard. If time permitting scrapbook paper with Mod podge would look great!
Most importantly it was fun to make and my daughter loves reading in her new house! Have fun and let your creative juices flow!
If you like this, you’ll love making a toddler busy board!