Published on August 6th, 2012 | by Julie Finn


Reader Question Answered: Reusing Cardboard for Kid-Friendly Crafts

Reader Question

recycled cardboard image via Shutterstock

Here’s a question from our mailbox:

” I was wondering if you could put a page up on how to reuse cardboard? I have a ton of it and am short on ideas. We have neighbor kids who love arts and craft projects. Please, help us out!”

Cardboard is a terrific material to reuse for kids’ crafts because it’s so sturdy, and it’s amenable to a wide variety of media, from duct tape to spray paint. Read on for some inspiring ideas to get you started making kids’ crafts with recycled cardboard:

cardboard purse

This upcycled cardboard granny purse image is the property of ikatbag.

Cardboard Granny Purse: Kids always need more bags to hold their junk treasures. For a kid’s birthday party, ikatbag created a DIY cardboard granny purse craft, let the little party guests personalize their bags with all kinds of glorious little doo-dads and scrapbooking bits, and then used those bags as the goodie bags for all the party’s take-home treats. For bonus points, check out the party’s beanbag toss game, also made from cardboard!

altered cardboard image from A Girl and Her Brush

This altered cardboard image is the property of A Girl and Her Brush

Altered Art: Cardboard, it turns out, makes a fantastic canvas for an art project. Check out the altered cardboard art from A Girl and Her Brush, where recycled cardboard is painted on, sewn on, sprayed on, glued on, and written on to create a mixed-media journaling project.

DIY Dollhouse: With this cardboard dollhouse tutorial from El hada de papel, a kid-friendly, no-fuss dollhouse is as easy as cutting two pieces of cardboard to shape and connecting them with a cut-out slot in the middle. Since the house is simple to make and costs nothing, kids can go crazy with paint and scrapbook paper wallpaper, and the pattern is so versatile that you can easily create a special, perfectly-sized home for everyone from Polly Pocket to your Waldorf dolls. Or, if you’d prefer something much more elaborate, try this cardboard castle.

Kid Construction Toy: You can use the same kind of cut-out slot method that you integrate into the DIY dollhouse to build an even simpler, even more creative construction toy. This recycled cardboard sculpture toy utilizes simple, kid-painted shapes with slots cut into them, so that even toddlers can create.

Cardboard Jewelry: In a project well suited to the older kid, Living Locurto uses recycled cardboard and pretty duct tape to create upcycled cardboard rings, complete with a wide variety of embellishments. And don’t worry–you can also make upcycled cardboard bracelets!

[Recycled cardboard image via Shutterstock]

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About the Author

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now. Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

2 Responses to Reader Question Answered: Reusing Cardboard for Kid-Friendly Crafts

  1. Claire says:

    WOW these bags look so pretty. Must say very creative 🙂

  2. This is my first time visiting Crafting for a Greener World! What a great blog with so many new ideas! If you are looking for more ideas about crafting with cardboard please stop by and check out some of the projects I’ve posted at

    I build furniture, toys, games, and tools for my daughters all from cardboard and I blog exclusively about our cardboard creations and projects.

    We live in a small apartment in Tokyo, Japan so we like to have only what we need to save space. We make as much as we can out of cardboard so we can easily recycle it when we’re done, but mostly we really just love working with the stuff.

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