Make Your Own Cardboard Box Playhouse

With the winter weather and upcoming rainy spring, I thought I’d share a fun indoor activity for cold and rainy days that you can do with your bored kids. This project is my favorite repurposing idea for the cardboard boxes that are also possibly stacking up in your home. If you’re like our family and shop online quite a bit, I know you’ve got lots of brown cardboard boxes!

Over the years, I’ve created playhouses, toy horse stables, costumes and even a racetrack for reusing shipping boxes from our online orders (and even used diaper boxes). So, if you’re looking for a great indoor activity, check out what you can create with your kids!

Repurpose those shipping boxes!


• variety of used cardboard boxes

• good box knife OR sharp scissors (this is for the parent only!)

• box packing tape (preferably strong and on a dispenser)

• imagination

I usually let the boxes dictate what the design will be, but I’ve got some general steps/guidelines that you can follow. Tape boxes together as best you can on edges and overlaps.

Three large boxes can make complete house.

STEP 1. Start with the two largest boxes. Put them together side by side. Cut the side on each (where they meet) down the edges only so that the cut sides can lay flat and overlap each other (creating the floor of your playhouse) Pictures show our house had a large white box in back and large brown box in front that fit together for the main part of the house.

Small box can be used for front porch.

STEP 2. Door options: You can use a smaller box for the front porch. The ‘flaps’ of the front porch box can be laid flat for taping to the front box. Option 2, you can just cut an opening in the front box to make the door. To make doors, cut door opening just on three sides (top/left/bottom) so the uncut right side can act as the hinge of door to swing open.

Cut door openings on top, bottom and one side.

STEP 3. Make a roof. Cut box(es) down one edge so they open flat and can form an angled roof. Depending on how large the box is will dictate the height of the roof. Large boxes make taller roofs which helps bigger kids to sit inside the playhouse more easily. Having roof open on ends allows for more light inside playhouse. For the angle to stay in place better, you can fold the front box at slit (see pic 3).

Zoomed view of top left corner of front large box.
Tall roof gives more room for big kids to sit inside.

STEP 4. Add extra rooms or features. Using smaller and/or odd shaped boxes add a chimney or window box for holding artificial flowers. You can even enlarge playhouse and make a little side room by adding another box on the side.

Window box with artificial flowers.

STEP 5. Cut windows. Simple rectangles are fine. Depending on your cutting skills, you can even make circles, windows with arches, or windows with ‘panes’ if you cut four rectangles together leaving space in between each rectangle.

Cut four rectangles leaving space to create ‘panes.’

STEP 6. PLAY! Even hang a flashlight from roof for a light. (notice that after lots of play, I had to add stronger black tape to reinforce box attachments)

Flashlights can be hung from roof.
What a cozy place to play!

STEP 7. Go all out—paint it and add lights! This painted playhouse below is one that Rinne (the future designer) and I made a long time ago and was our first cardboard box playhouse. She decided to paint it, add lights and put flowers in the window boxes.

Future designer at work.

Did you know you can shop for your kids at the store’s Kids Corner? We even have matching shirts for moms and kids in our Mama & Me collection. Check it out!

Be blessed,

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