how to make a child size cardboard castle
An easy step by step tutorial to do this the cheapest and easiest way possible!
I am writing this how-to because all I could find online was how to make a tiny cardboard castle out of cereal boxes or one guy's site that tries to sell you expensive kits.
This is the everyday easy way that i figured out by trial and error.
You can add to the basic project VERY easily. I will show you how.
You need these items. Minimum.
Call an "Appliance Warehouse" (not an appliance store; a warehouse) and ask them nicely for free large boxes. Tell them you will pick them up that day.
Take a truck (or SUV) and a buddy to pick them up.
Another good resource for boxes is the local recycling center. Call first so you don't waste a trip.
You will also need to save a few cereal boxes if you want any 3-D stones for the battlements (square decorations on top border of castle).
Get duct tape (silver) and/or clear packing tape (does not work as well because the spraypaint makes it not as sticky) , and 3 grey/silver spray paint cans (You could also get spraypaint that looks like stone. I ran out so only 1 tower is stoney and the rest are blingy. or you could use craft paint but, I imagine that would take a lot longer!).
Get a box cutter to cut the cardboard easily (Home Depot or maybe Hobby Lobby). You can use scissors for this or an "x-acto" knife, but that would be much harder. A box cutter will slice the cardboard like butter!
You also need crayons or chalk to mark on the box with: I tried a marker but it doesn't work well on cardboard boxes.
Supplies - Here is a reference list in case you have never seen or heard of any of the supply items.
Project Time Estimate:
I would say about 4 hours each day to finish the basic structure.
You could always work faster (I had to do it around the schedule of my preschooler and 1 year old baby).
Step One: Lots of Tape
Tape all of the boxes in the open position, on vertical seams so that they stay open and are taller for the kids.
This will make it so that most of the taller boxes will not have a floor. It is better for the tall ones not to have a floor, in case they tip over with kids in them!
Do not worry about too much tape. I just adds to the texture and structure of the castle. Just make sure it is sturdy.
Step Two: Mark your Plan
Take your white or black crayon and something about 6x6 inches square as a stencil (could be the cardboard from the first battlement you cut):
Mark your battlements (square parts at top that are cut out) by placing the square stencil at each corner and tracing the sides and bottom. Work your way in to the middle of the top of each box: If it's not an even measurement, it will look neater if the middle one is the different one.
You always want to leave the first square in tact. So, take your crayon and move one square in from the corner: now shade in that 2nd square so that you know it is the one you will be cutting.
Do this all the way around any boxes that are open on top (set up vertically).
Also, plan and mark your windows, interior doors, and castle entrance. The castle entrance should be rounded on top. Do NOT cut the bottom. You want the door to remain attached at the bottom so that you can have a bridge.
These marks and cuts do not have to be perfect.
Castles were made of stone and stone is not perfect or straight.
Go for speed not perfection.
Step Three: Make All of Your Cuts
Now take you box cutter and slice on your crayon lines.
Cut out the squares that are colored in.
Do not cut the bottom of the entrance.
If you want a door or window to open and close, begin cutting by slicing a line down the middle. On either side (top or bottom) of the line, cut out toward your planned border, but leave the side border lines uncut. This will make windows and doors that can be folded in for extra support or closed an opened by little hands.
Step Four: Support Your Structure
Now that you have all of these little cardboard cutout squares, you can fold them in half and glue or tape them in the corners of your structure so that it is sturdier.
Do this to the top and bottom of any taped open boxes for extra peace of mind.
If you have a huge box and it came with a lid (or have a large piece of extra cardboard), you can cut a tunnel/circle in the lid and insert it like a door somewhere in the middle of the structure for support of the large box.
If you want to get very fancy and are good with the wood glue and clamps, you can build a square frame to insert in the box, which would have the same effect.
Step Five: Lots of Paint
I estimate that you will need a little less than one can of spray paint per large box.
You do not have to paint the back, as this will not show in the pictures.
The kids will not notice or care: Trust me.
Wear a mask or scarf around your nose/mouth and goggles if you have them.
Shake your paint.
Spray in 1 foot-ish columns back and forth all the way down, then back up, so that it lends itself to looking like towers of stone.
Spray the complete outside of the box - excluding the back - with gray paint.
I did this on the grass on the side of my house, so I could spray all the way to the bottom of the towers without messing up the floor.
If you have enough paint, also spray the inside tops of the battlements that will be visible from the front.
Pat yourself on the back because you are technically done! If you still feel the need to make it fancier, read on.
It's all in the deets.
Blinging up your castle.
Cut cereal boxes in half to tape on the edges of any sideways boxes. Paint gray.
Use big yarn to put in punched holes on the gate and side of the gate, if you want the drawbridge to be functional.
Use a brown crayon (with peel off) turned sideway to color boards of wood on the drawbridge.
Use white chalk or crayon over the spraypaint to make the lines of stone (grout).
Paint squares of black or paste black constuction paper behind any windows you cut out so pics are better.
Print out fun stuff like chandeliers, cartoons, or castle art by inserting them into Word.
Buy $1 knight/princes foam accessories at Target or Michaels or maybe even Hobby Lobby for a lil more!
If you own any fake plants (we do, as much as I dislike them), place them around or on the castle.