How to Build a Cardboard Robot

    by John Gugie

    About the Author

    John Gugie has been a freelance writer for a decade. His work is diverse, from editorials and research papers to entertainment, humor and more. He holds a degree in finance from Moravian College of Pennsylvania. He writes for several sites including Associated Content, Helium and Examiner.


    Building a cardboard robot is a fun craft project for children. It can be easily done with old boxes and a few household items, and it's a perfect way to use all those empty gift boxes lying around after Christmas or birthdays. As much detail as desired can be added once the basic robot is complete. The measurements are given as an example, but other sizes may be used, depending on the supplies on hand.

    Things You'll Need

    • 1 empty cardboard box, approximately 8 square inches.
    • 1 empty wrapping paper tube
    • Cardboard (a few square feet)
    • 1 empty large box of cereal
    • 2 empty mini boxes of cereal
    • Scissors and/or utility knife
    • Drawing compass
    • Ruler
    • Glue
    • Silver duct tape
    • Silver paint
    • Firm cutting surface

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    Make the robot body. Draw 5 3-inch-diameter circles with a drawing compass on the outside of the cardboard box -- 1 on top for the neck, 2 on the bottom for the legs and 1 on either side for the arms. The neck hole should be at the center of the top side of the box. The leg holes need to be equidistant from the outside edges of the bottom of the box to ensure support for the entire robot. The two arms holes should about a third of the way down from the top of the box and directly across from one another. Cut out the circles with scissors and/or a utility knife. Smooth the inside edges of the holes by cutting off any uneven pieces of cardboard.

    Make the robot limbs. Cut the wrapping paper tube into 5 6-inch lengths with scissors and/or a utility knife -- 2 for the legs, 2 for the arms and 1 for the neck. Smooth the edges by cutting off any uneven pieces.

    Make the limb-to-body connector pieces. Cut out 8 6-inch square pieces of cardboard. Glue one square to one end of each of the limbs and allow to dry. Tape around the seam between the tube and connector for extra support. Open the box, apply glue to each connector square on the tube side, and push the tube through the holes in the box from the inside until the square is against the box. Press the square firmly against the box until they adhere to one another. Tape the connector to the inside of the box for extra support. Tape each limb to the outside of the box as well. Close the box and tape it closed; this is the back of the robot

    Complete the limbs. Glue and tape the rest of the connectors to the loose ends of the arms and neck. Cut 2 9-inch wide, 16-inch-long rectangles from another piece of cardboard and glue and tape them to the bottom of the leg tubes to form the robot feet. More substantial feet may be added, but be sure the robot is balanced or it will easily tip over. Wait until the glue is completely dry. Glue and tape the arm connectors to two empty mini boxes of cereal, which are the robot hands. Glue the top of the neck connector to the empty large box of cereal (approximately 12 inches high), which is the robot head.

    Paint the whole robot silver. Decorate it as desired with different-shaped pieces of cardboard, metallic objects or different colored paints. The possibilities are endless.

    • This makes a great project for a group of children to do together.
    • Adult supervision is recommended due to the use of sharp tools and glue required.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images