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DIY collapsible cardboard playhouse

Jenn Kirk is a graphic designer by trade, but enjoys escaping the computer by developing hands-on DIY projects, especially the messy kind that involves her four and six-year-old boys. Recent transplants from coastal California, the Kirks...

Easy to make cardboard playhouse

Turn a cardboard box into hours of entertainment for your little ones with this DIY collapsible playhouse. This cardboard playhouse was created, especially with small spaces in mind, because when the kids tire of it, the house collapses down flat for easy storage.

cardboard 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

1. Start with an empty cardboard box

empty cardboard box

2. Position cardboard box

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

box on side

3. 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

4. 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

5. 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

6. Tape the roof together

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

tape roof together

7. Build the house

Tape the roof and the cardboard playhouse together.

Tape the roof and cardboard playhouse together

8. 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

9. 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

10. 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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