DIY Cardboard Car

It is Summertime! The kids are off on holiday, playgroups have died down for the break and your children have itchy feet. Stressful right?

Well, we are here to help! Here is an easy distraction for them – Carl’s Carwash Cardboard Car! If you, the adult are willing to put in a little bit of time then this is for you and your tribe. If you have an afternoon where you are thinking of ways to entertain the kids, then create this the night before and squirrel it away until you are ready for the big reveal.

What is great about this craft is that one; you the adult gets a chance to get some creative juices flowing. Two; it is inexpensive – if you don’t have a large cardboard box, most shops will give you one for free if they have them. Three; it can be done rain or shine! Whether it is raining outside and you need something to entertain your children indoors, or whether the sun is shining and you need something new to reinvigorate the garden with, Carl’s Carwash Cardboard Car is here whatever the weather! And once their play is subsiding and in need of a boost, simply move the car toward the TV, tablet or laptop and put on a Carl’s Carwash episode to re-ignite their play afterward.


What you will need:

  • A big cardboard box (big enough for your child to sit in) and extra cardboard.
  • A craft knife or sharp scissors
  • An empty kitchen roll
  • Sellotape
  • Black pen
  • Paint, self- adhesive craft foam sheets (optional)


  1. Get your cardboard box and pen and draw a smaller rectangle on one of the shorter end flaps.
  2. With your craft knife or scissors cut along your pen marks and remove the middle. This hole will be the windscreen.
  3. Place this windscreen window at a 45-degree angle along the longer flap on either side of your box. Draw along this line.
  4. Now cut this section off. These bits will create the side windows in the next step. Lay the windscreen piece along the newly cut side. Matching the slant of the windscreen, draw a diagonal line down to the bend in the cardboard (to the bottom of the side flap).
  5. Inside the triangle you just created, draw another smaller triangle inside to create the side window. Cut this out. Cut the rest of that flap off, along the fold in the cardboard. Do this all again to the other side of the car.
  6. Lay your windscreen gently down on each of the side windows and sellotape them together so that they hold. Turn your box around so that you have the opposite side and last remaining flap in front of you. At the fold in the flap, cut it all off.
  7. Using the flap you just cut off, cut a large round circle. This will be your steering wheel. Collecting your empty kitchen roll, on one end, cut vertical cuts all the way around the top and gently bend them backward. Place it on one side of your steering wheel and sellotape down.
  8. Our box had handle holes, so we just slotted our wheel and roll into one of the hand holes that are below the windscreen. If you don’t have a self-made hole, then cut one out and slot the wheel and roll through.
  9. Move the box so that it is horizontal to you. We will now be working on some doors. These aren’t 100% necessary however, I suspected it would allow the box to live a little longer if children were able to get in easily and not fall over the side.
  10. Working on the opposite end from the windscreen draw a curved arrowhead and cut this out. We left room for a wheel, so we cut around a wheel too. When you reach the bottom of the box, then cut along the bottom edge of the box until you are directly above the end of the side window. Bend the door open.
  11. Using any remainder cardboard or other cardboard, cut four circular wheel shapes and then stick each on a side corner of the car. Feel free to add detailing to these wheels.
  12. The rest is the decoration, which you can do as little or as much as you would like. We added a front grill grate, a number plate, side decoration, backlights and headlights. We also painted it black as the outside of our box had a lot of advertising on it.   

Do you think a cardboard car will last in Carl’s Car Wash?
Check out this episode to find out:

Are you ready for Carl to go on a Big Adventure?

Follow Carl as he goes on a brand new big adventure to find the parts he needs to expand his car wash!
Available now on YouTube!

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Grace Selous BullContributor

Grace Selous Bull is an arts education author and freelance blogger. Her book, ‘Potty About Pots: arts and crafts for home and school’ is aimed at children from 5-12 years old and takes them through a journey of ceramics through time. Her blog, The Rainbow Tree, explores all aspects of arts and crafts, and is aimed at children of all ages.  She is a full time Mummy of two girls, both of whom love being creative, and is married to her husband, Andrew, who does not. Follow her on twitter.

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