Kids Play House from a Cardboard Box

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner


Photo of a paper covered cardboard cat carrier with a stuffed animal inside

In this day of our kids' attention being so easily drawn to electronic toys, video games, 100 different TV channels, and computers, we sometimes feel disheartened as parents as we are trying to win the battle of teaching them balance over excess.

It can be one of our biggest challenges! Fortunately, there are some really great craft and art ideas out there that might help you draw your kids away, and I think this one has a pretty good chance of succeeding!

A house like this can be made using any large cardboard box, a pair of scissors, and a little extra time. If you don't have a vision for how to cut the box down to transform it into a roofed house, there are plenty of tutorials on the internet.


cardboard cat carrier


I chose to just start with a cardboard pet carrier. These can be purchased online and at some pet stores for a few dollars, and because they are made for transporting precious cargo, these are really sturdy boxes. That translates to a really sturdy toy!


cardboard cat carrier with roof


Simply unfold the top of the box and lean the tops of the flaps toward one another to form a roof peak. Use a heavy duty tape to hold them together.


cardboard cat carrier and a Fiskars Fingertip Knife


Using a Fiskars Fingertip Detail Knife, cut a large opening on one end of the house to be used as a door. An opening could instead be cut out of one long side of the box to allow easy access to the inside of the box for staging purposes during play.


cardboard cat carrier being covered with paper rectangles


The box can be painted or it can be covered with "siding." I used a stash of old patterned paper, but any type of paper could be used. Giftwrap or construction paper are good options. Using the Fiskars ProCision rotary bypass trimmer, cut the paper into 3 inch x 4 inch rectangles. Using glue, begin placing the shingles on the house, taking care to overlap the bottom of a new row over the top of the row below. Add doors and windows to the house as desired.


stack of circles cut from patterned paper using the Fiskars Fuse


To create the roof shingles, use the circle die and the Fuse, to cut a lot of circles from your choice paper. Cut these circles in half.


1/2 circles being used to shingle the roof of the cardboard cat carrier


Starting along the bottom edge of the roof, begin gluing the 1/2 circles to the roof. When moving to the next row, take care to overlap the shingles as shown in the photo.


cardboard cat carrier covered in decorative papers that were cut with the Fuse


After all the paper shapes have been adhered, decorative trims made using Fiskars Border Punches can be added to hide any gaps or uneven lines.


small storage area in top of carrier


The flaps on the ends of the box that once interlocked with the other flaps to create the carrier closure can now be folded over toward the inside of the box. A piece of fabric covered cardboard can then be slipped inside that opening to create an attic floor. This area can be used for attic storage.


paper covered cardboard cat carrier with a stuffed animal inside


The finished pet house is now ready for a resident, a favorite stuffed animal.


paper covered cardboard cat carrier with a real cat inside


If you're lucky enough to own a playful real cat, your child may experience the joy of watching it take up residence in the new house!                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Supply List

Cardboard pet carrier or other cardboard box

papers for covering box


letter stickers

decorative elements as desired