cardboard playhouse

Easy to make cardboard playhouse

Turn a cardboard box into hours of entertainment for your little ones with this DIY collapsible playhouse.

Cardboard boxes are a hot commodity in our home -- even my 8-month-old appreciates a good drum fest with empty cereal boxes. Pretty much the perfect toy, boxes are free, plentiful (if you eat the way my boys do, that is) and provide the creative possibilities that can be a great exercise for a child's imagination.

My kids especially love making forts out of boxes, and it seems that for them, the smaller and cozier the better. While intended for my youngest, this easy-to-construct cardboard playhouse continues to entertain my older boys. And I made this house especially with small spaces in mind, because when the kids tire of it, the playhouse collapses down flat for easy storage.

cardboard playhouse set up


Start with an empty cardboard box

empty cardboard box


Position cardboard box

Turn box on side so the opening is perpedicular to the on side


Cut the top of cardboard box

Cut off the top entirely and save the piece. This will later form half of the roof.cut off top of cardboard box


Add tape

Add a pop of color and some extra support to the bottom flaps, or the floor of the playhouse.tape flaps of the cardboard boxtape the flaps


Cut the pieces for the roof

Retrieve the piece you saved for the roof of the cardboard playhouse. Cut off 1/4 or so to create the steepness of the roof. If you would like a steeper roof, you can cut off more.

From another cardboard box, cut out another roof piece that is the same size as the first. create the roof of the cardboard playhouse


Tape the roof together

Tape the two pieces you just cut together to form the roof.tape roof together


Build the house

Tape the roof and the cardboard playhouse together.Tape the roof and cardboard playhouse together


Make it collapsible

Place the playhouse facedown. Cut down the center of the back and bottom. Make sure it's the exact center so the cardboard box will fold down properly. Next, cut along the fold where the back and bottom meet.cutting the playhouse down to make it collapsible

cut cardboard box


Add tape to the new cuts

With the cuts, the box will easily collapse flat. Make sure the back and bottom flaps fold outward. With the cardboard box flat, tape the edges of the cut flaps together. Then, open the playhouse back up and reinforce with tape along the side seams.

adding tape to the new cuts

taping the cut lines


Fold the cardboard playhouse

You should now be able to collapse your playhouse for storage.start collapsing the playhouse

finish collapsing playhouse

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Comments on "DIY collapsible cardboard playhouse"

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Allie August 15, 2013 | 7:39 PM

Love this idea and so did my 18 mo old boy. Unfortunately the cute blue chevron duct tape didn't last 24 hours. I'd say do packing tape then cute tape for durability and aesthetic pleasure :)

Sara June 28, 2013 | 4:44 PM

this is such an awesome idea. we have some camo-patterned duct tape that would work great for my little boy! what size is the second box you used in your directions? thanks!

Emily June 28, 2013 | 2:56 PM

I love it! What size box did you use?

XLaurieClarkex June 14, 2013 | 1:10 PM

So glad this was Pinned!! i did this yesterday with my 11-yr-old girl (yeah she still likes to pretend she's little :-) I made the roof a separate piece with some slots at the edges to fit onto the walls so I could collapse it even further. She turned it into a lemonade stand by turning it around :-)

grootoPayog June 07, 2013 | 7:51 PM

I used to read a great deal of books but now I surf the internet looking for really good blogs like this one to read. this was a good read thanks!

vanna May 14, 2013 | 3:24 AM

How big is the box at the starting?

Linda April 30, 2013 | 3:34 PM

Thanks for sharing, I have a day care and need to make a quiet area, this is perfect .

Veronica March 13, 2013 | 6:00 AM

Is the cute cloud pillow homemade or bought? I really want to make it for my daughter!

aoife January 20, 2013 | 2:46 AM

Thanks Jennifer, what a fab little project and so quick. Unfortunately I didn't have the funky pink tape so I focused on the interior instead and wallpapered it with magazine pictures. I can't wait for my little one to discover it in the morning.

Gem Goulbourne January 18, 2013 | 3:09 AM

I love this idea! It is so practical and each child can design his own play house, garage, den, Wendy house. The project would be a winner with most children. Fun to make and hours of play. Thanks for posting it Laura! I will post a link for my ezine subscribers.

Maxine January 11, 2013 | 4:44 AM

Space saving, free, fun activity and useful for play when finished. My daughter is going to love making this! Thanks

Jamie November 28, 2012 | 9:17 PM

This is so cool! I found a picture of this on pinterest but it didn't link to your site. I'm glad you put the name of your site in the text on the photo so people could find it! I've since changed the link to where the pin goes that I pinned, hopefully others will fix theirs, too!

marcela October 28, 2012 | 9:31 PM

thanks so much am, making cardboard house deluxe and this will make some super extensions ;)) thanks!!!!

Martha September 19, 2012 | 8:36 AM

This is awesome!

Amanda September 16, 2012 | 12:33 PM

This is an amazing idea!! thanks so much for sharing!!!

Rachael August 19, 2012 | 3:43 PM

Great idea. I have just made this for my little ones. Thank you for sharing.

mary mckinney August 11, 2012 | 9:50 PM

What a cute idea. I can't wait to try this. I'll be using the "Diego" or "spongebob" tape that I've been seeing at Walmart during my last few visits for my grandson!!

Jami August 09, 2012 | 7:54 PM

How big was your box to begin with?

Jenn August 09, 2012 | 5:30 PM

Melinda, it's Duck brand duct tape I picked up from Target. I've also seen it at the craft store, Lowe's, and Walmart. Hope that helps!

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