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Photo: Steph at Mama Jots

Crafty Ways to Reuse Cardboard

4 clever ideas for transforming cardboard boxes into something fun.

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Did the post-holiday season leave you with an overload of cardboard boxes? Upcycle any leftover packaging by creating something magical and fun with your kids. Use your child’s favorite paint colors, fabrics, ribbon, or stickers to craft something that they can use or play with after it’s complete.

To source some inspiration, we asked four craft bloggers to create their own box projects with their kids. Here’s what they came up with.

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A Stackable Snowman

Use multiple boxes of varying sizes to create a snowman that kids can stack and dress up, even during the occasional January warm-up. Steph Jots, founder of the Mama Jots blog and mom of two from Seattle, set up an indoor snow scene (shown above) with just boxes, paint, tape, and some winter accessories from around her house. Source large white pom poms from a craft store (or make your own using a pom pom maker tool or tutorial) and use them for your own indoor snowball fight.

cardboard box crafts
Photo: Steph at Mama Jots

Follow Steph on Instagram at @mama.jots or read her blog at mamajots.com


A Display Tray

Perfect for a decor-obsessed tween (or for yourself), a display tray corrals little knick knacks, books, a candle, or a vase filled with flowers. Tisa Jackson, mom of two and creator of This is Tisa from Austin, Texas, used permanent scrapbook adhesive to attach decorative paper to the base of a two-inch tall gift box. Let your kid choose their favorite paper, fabric, or magazine cutouts to cover the cardboard tray. Place it on a coffee table, nightstand, or desk—or give it to someone as a gift.

Cardboard box crafts
Photo: Tisa Jackson at This is Tisa

Follow Tisa on Instagram at @this.is.tisa or read her blog at justmylittlemess.com


A Puppet Theater

Amanda Johnston, the blogger behind Project Whim and mom of three from Castle Rock, made this kid-sized puppet theater by using three medium-sized boxes, fabric, ribbon, and paint. To add extra detail, she cut a sponge into a circle and used it to paint white polka dots on the box. “I also stapled fabric to the top of the window before pulling it back with ribbon to create a curtain,” she says.

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Johnston designed her own printable puppets that can be downloaded for free at projectwhim.com. After printing them, glue the puppets to a piece of cardboard and hot glue the cutouts to a dowel handle or craft stick. Then, host your very own puppet show.

Cardboard box crafts
Photo: Amanda at Project Whim

Follow Amanda on Instagram at @projectwhim or read her blog at projectwhim.com


A Dainty Castle

Have a smaller box? Make something mini. Bree Arnold, a mom of two from Memphis, Tennessee, made a whimsical castle with her kids in just under an hour. Arnold used a medium-sized box and an oatmeal canister, and taped four toilet paper rolls to the top of the tallest portion of the castle. Then, she covered the castle with pink acrylic paint, although she suggests using spray paint to make this project even faster.

Follow her lead and surround the castle with some of your child’s favorite toys, like princess figurines or railroad tracks. Add the finishing touch by stringing small twinkle lights throughout.

Cardboard box crafts
Photo: Bree Arnold

Follow Bree on Instagram at @bree_arnold10

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Books to Inspire

These three reads prove that there are endless opportunities to get creative.

Ideal for older kids, Cardboard Box Engineering offers a step-by-step guide to making next-level cardboard creations. Learn how to craft a working kaleidoscope, a marble roller coaster, or a robotic hand that will wow kids.

cardboard box crafts
$14, amazon.com

Don’t limit yourself to cardboard! Recycled Crafts Box shares inspiration for making other reclaimed crafts. See innovative and fun uses for items like old sneakers, worn out clothes, and plastic bottles.

Cardboard box crafts
$11, amazon.com

The Cardboard Box Book is filled with templates and how-tos for projects ranging in size and interests. Make a robot, an airplane, or a giant grocery stand. The book includes several sheets of stickers that can be used to make your crafts.

Cardboard box crafts
$33, amazon.com

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