Ah, the joys of childhood — it’s the simple time in life where all it takes is a cardboard box to make you incredibly excited and entertained for hours on end. And if you throw in a couple of sheets and pillows, well, that’s just perfection.
This DIY cardboard box playhouse will help ignite your kids’ imaginations — and it’s totally easy to make. The best part? The playhouse collapses down flat when the kids are done playing with it, so it’s super easy to store and won’t clutter up the house.
Cardboard boxes are a hot commodity in our home — even my 8-month-old appreciates a good drum fest with empty cereal boxes. They’re pretty much the perfect toy, because boxes are free, plentiful (if you eat the way my boys do, that is) and provide endless creative possibilities.
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.
1. Start with an empty cardboard box
2. Position cardboard box
Turn box on side so the opening is perpedicular to the floor.
3. Cut the top of cardboard box
Cut off the top entirely and save the piece. This will later form half of the roof.
4. Add tape
Add a pop of color and some extra support to the bottom flaps, or the floor of the playhouse.
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.
6. Tape the roof together
Tape the two pieces you just cut together to form the roof.
7. Build the house
Tape the roof and the 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.
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.
10. Fold the cardboard playhouse
You should now be able to collapse your playhouse for storage.
Try making your own playhouse and let us know how it goes in the comments below!
Originally published August 2012. Updated April 2017.