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How to make a cardboard castle

Get ready for the most fun you can possibly have with a cardboard box! Learn how to turn your everyday recycling into an easy DIY castle

How to make a castle out of cardboard

Welcome to your new favourite way of getting creative with kids this summer holiday. You don’t need any expensive craft supplies to give it a go and children love it.

How to make a castle out of cardboard is easy and only takes about an hour. Rummage in your cupboards and you’re likely to have most of the supplies you need to try this at home – scissors, string and some tape. Add a couple of holes to your castle door and you can even add a moving drawbridge.

You can make a castle out of  cardboard boxes of all sizes. My daughter is overjoyed if we ever get a giant box delivered as it means we can go to town with dens and life-sized junk modelling that she can play in. We’ve tried this castle DIY with a huge box before too – to do this you can easily adapt the steps below to suit the size of the box.

A top tip for bigger-box crafting is to give children a black marker pen and let them go to town decorating the inside and outside of your cardboard creations. I’ve always find this entertains my children as much as the actual building or playing with the finished project does.

You can make a castle using scissors but I recommend investing in a craft knife or stanley knife as these are the easiest tools for cutting cardboard. For this project I topped up my stash with a pack of 3 stanley knives (£2.30, Wilko) as I find them useful for all sorts of craft and home projects. If your kids are younger, using a knife may mean they have to let you do the cutting bits to stay safe but they can still join in and do the sticking and rope threading.

For this castle DIY, I wanted to make a slightly smaller castle that my children could play with Lego mini figures in, so I took a larger box and cut 5 smaller pieces to make the castle floor and walls. But you can also make this with a plain cardboard box if you’d rather keep things simple.

I’ve included instructions for both methods below.

If you’re looking for more easy summer holiday craft ideas, you might also like our round-up of the best craft ideas for kids. You might also like our easy play dough recipe or how to make a kaleidoscope projects.

How to make a cardboard castle video

Check out our video guide to this project, or see below for our step-by-step with photos if you prefer written instructions.

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You Will Need

  • Cardboard box (or 5 thick pieces of cardboard)
  • Cardboard tubes (2 tubes)
  • Craft knife
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • PVA glue
  • Paper straws (2 straws)
  • Scrap card (Small piece)

How to make the main castle – sheets of cardboard method

Step 1

To make the four walls of your castle, cut five pieces from your sheets of cardboard:

  • Two x side wall pieces (25cm high x 28cm wide)
  • Two x main wall pieces (25cm high x 32cm wide)
  • One x base piece (32 x 28cm)

Step 2

Take the four wall pieces, and cut away a series of small squares from along the top edge of each piece – to make battlements.

Hands cutting squares from the top of a sheet of cardboard to make castle battlements

Step 3

Take the front piece of your castle and cut out a door shape from the front. Keep the door piece to one side – you’ll need it in the next step. 

Cut a door shape from the bottom edge of the castle wall

Step 4

Cut two windows, either side of the door. It’s easiest to do this with a craft knife but you can do it with a sharp pair of scissors too – it’s just a bit more fiddly if you want to cut small windows.

Cut two windows from the front of the castle front wall

Step 5

Lying them flat, next to each other, use masking tape to stick the bottom edges of the four walls to the four edges of your base piece of cardboard. 

Place each wall along a side of the castle base and attach with masking tape

Now raise the walls upwards so they are at a 90 degree angle from the base piece. They should meet in the 4 corners. Stick more lengths of masking tape along the inside of each corner join. You have a castle shape!If you
How to make a castle out of cardboard step 5b attach walls

If you need to reinforce the corners, you can add a small piece of masking tape to the outer side of the corners too. This will be covered up in later steps.

How to make a castle out of cardboard step 6 assemble

 

Step 6

Use a pencil to poke 2 holes either side of the door, near the top of the door. Poke 2 more holes in the front of the door. 

Poke two holes either side of the top of the door, and on the door, using a pencil

Step 7

Take a piece of rope and tie several knots in one end. Thread this through one of the door holes, so the knot is on the front of the door, with the rope poking through to behind the door. Repeat with another piece of string and the other hole in the door.

Step 8

Take the two pieces of rope and thread them into the holes in the front of the castle (from front to back) either side of the door.

Leave enough rope that the door can hang flat in front of the castle, then tie three knots in the loose end of the rope, inside the castle to secure it behind the hole. Trim away any loose ends inside the castle.

Tie knots in the string to attach your drawbridge

 

Step 9

Lie the door so it is front-facing downwards, in front of the castle, with its bottom edge lining up with the bottom of the door aperture you cut in the the front of the castle. Use masking tape to tape along this join and make a hinge.

Lay the door flat, lining the base up with the door aperture, and stick it to the base of the castle with masking tape to make a hinge

How to make the main castle – cardboard box method

Step 1

If you are using a cardboard box, the method is mostly similar but you make the hinge for the drawbridge in a slightly different way.

To start, cut the 4 flaps away from the top of the box. This cut edge will be the top of your castle. 

Step 2

Cut a series of squares away from the top edges of the box  to make the battlements. You can  use scissors or a craft knife for this.

Step 3

Cut around the outer sides of a door shape from the front of the box using a craft knife or scissors. Leave the bottom edge of the door uncut – this will form the bottom hinge of the drawbridge.

Step 4

Cut two window shapes, either side of the door. 

Step 5

Use a pencil to poke 2 holes either side of the door, near the top of the door. Poke 2 more holes in the front of the door. 

Step 6

Take a piece of rope and tie several knots in one end. Thread this through one of the door holes, so the knot is on the front of the door with the rope poking through to behind the door. Repeat with another piece of string and the other hole in the door. 

Step 7

Take the two pieces of rope and thread them into the holes in the front of the castle, either side of the door. Leaving enough rope that the door can lie flat in front of the castle.

Tie three knots in the other end of the rope, inside the castle. Trim away any loose ends inside the castle and you have a drawbridge.

How to make the turrets

Step 1

To make the turrets you’ll need some tubes of cardboard. I have used two 1m-long wrapping paper tubes. Cut the tubes in half so you have four tubes.

Cut the cardboard into 4 tubes

Place each tube standing upwards next to the castle edge, and make a small mark where the top of the castle wall falls. Ideally you want the tube to be about 5cm higher than the top of the castle wall.

You can also do this step with kitchen roll tubes, or smaller toilet roll tubes - they just won’t be the full height of the castle and can just pop on each top corner.

Step 2

Take your 4 tubes and cut a long thin slit all down the front of the tube. This should start from the bottom edge upwards, and end at the mark you made in step 1. It should be about 2 mm wide.

Cut two slits in each of the cardboard tubes

Step 3

Rotate the tube by 90 degrees and cut a second slit, again on the front of the tube (your first slit should now be on the side of the tube). This slit must be the same size and shape as the first.

Repeat for the other three tubes.

 

Step 4

Cut a series of small square shaped notches away from the top of each tube – this will give the effect of battlements.

Step 5

Slot the tubes on to each corner of the castle. The slits you cut should slip over the castle walls and the turret will stay in place. If you need to, add a little masking tape on the inside to secure the turrets in place.

Slip the turrets on to each corner of the castle

Step 6

Cut a simple flag shape from a brightly-coloured scrap of card or paper. Stick a straw to the back of the flag with PVA glue. Now repeat to make a second flag.

Stick a straw to a scrap of card to make a flag

Step 7

Stick the flags to the inside of the front two turrets using masking tape.

Stick the flags inside the turrets with masking tape

Your castle is finished! You can raise and lower the drawbridge and have fun bringing your favourite toys to play in it.

How to make a castle out of a cardboard box

 

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Here at Gathered we’re big fans of junk modelling. It’s surprising how many things you can make out of a cardboard box. When we were stuck at home during Covid lockdowns, me and my children made all sorts out of scrap cardboard – from cinema booths to boats, rockets and even whole Super Mario levels.

If you’d like to try more of the kids crafts projects that I’ve personally tested at home with my children, you might like How to make a kite out of paper, How to make salt dough and How to French Knit.