Introduction: 3D Cardboard Decor

Picture of 3D Cardboard Decor

A few weeks ago I received a parcel that I ordered from a website and I got 2 huge cardboard cartons with them as they were packed inside the carton and sent!

5 days ago I was about to throw those boxes away and then I had to wait a bit because the garbage collection truck didn't come yet, so I turn the TV on and went to BBC and they were talking about the 3 R's (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) and how to save the planet and how there is a lot of waste being produced etc, so then I thought for a while and decided that I will make something with the cardboard instead of just throwing it away. So then I go online and search for how to reuse cardboard, and after some searching I notice this:,4932.html

After having a look at the elephant I was really amazed on how it was made, and wanted to buy it but then thought that 65$ for an elephant decor was just too much!

And then I suddenly realized that I had the 2 huge cardboard boxes with me, so I thought I could make one for my self, so then I thought about all the materials needed and had all of them at my hand, so I decided to make it!

After making one I thought it looked really cool and then wanted to make a deer one and I thought I would teach you all how to make it because I thought it was just brilliant and everyone should know how to make one for much cheaper(about 3-5$)

The only downside is if you do not have a laser cutter like me, as a laser cutter would give a precise cut and it would look really good, but the homemade ones will have some rough edges etc but its really really cheap, so I thought a little difference here and there would not matter much, and decided to make the deer as well!

After making the deer I wanted to try make some shapes as I had only some cardboard left (Not enough for another animal), so I made a sphere and a cube/cuboid and they came out really nice, so I will tell you how to make those as well!

I later spray painted them silver and figured out that the cardboard looked better in its original color rather than silver so I did not want to spray paint the deer as I didn't spray paint it by that time.

You could hang the shapes with string or attach them to the wall with nails or glue and as for the deer bust you can use nails to attach it to the wall or use glue or tape(Because it is very light), It looks really good on a white wall like the walls in my house.

So lets get started on making these cardboard decor!

Step 1: Gathering the Materials

Picture of Gathering the Materials

Okay now the first step is to gather all the materials required for this project, all you need are :

Cardboard( you will need a lot of cardboard)
Hot glue gun /  strong glue

Tools that would be helpful but not required are

Cardboard cutters
Strong Tape
Spray Paint( After using it once I deiced to never use it again because it makes everything look really bad)

And that's all you need to make these 3D cardboard decor, its cheap and comes out really good with some work!
This project cost me no money because I had all the materials and I decided to reuse the cardboard boxes, but if you need to buy things like scissors and thread then it may cost anywhere between 3-5$ or maybe more depending on where you live etc

Here are some links to where you can get the stuff:

Hot Glue Gun :

Scissors :
(I know its quite expensive but you will probably have scissors at home)

Thread :

Cardboard sheets if you haven't got any cardboard cartons :

Step 2: Base of the Ball

Picture of Base of the Ball

Okay now that we have all the materials, I will start off by telling you how to make the ball with cardboard!

There are several ways on how to make this ball, but I found the way I am about to show you the easiest.

So to make the base of the ball you need to draw 3 circles with using something circular for reference, and then cut them out as show in the pictures. then you need to cut the radius of the circle on 2 of the circles(as shown in the pictures) and then on one of these two circles you need to cut half the radius right opposite the radius we cut before, then cut the radius and a little more on the third circle.

If you don't understand what I am saying just have a look at the pictures and you will understand what to do!

Then take all the three circles and attach them to form a sphere as shown in the pictures.

Step 3: Finishing the Ball

Picture of Finishing the Ball

Okay with this you are almost halfway from finishing the ball!

We will be using hot glue to attach all the bits and pieces together.

So all you need to do now is cut one more of the same sized circle and then cut them into six equal pieces, then you need to attach them around the center of the ball as shown in the pictures, then you need to cut two more circles, but this time they should be a little smaller, and then cut them into six pieces and attach them a little lower and a little higher than the center one attached at the beginning of this step, and keep repeating the process with smaller circles until you are done!

I made only 5 layers because it looked quite good with 5 layers, but you can make how many ever layers you want!

Then to spray paint I tied the ball to a thread and the spray painted it holding it in the air and the force of the air from the spray paint will turn the ball round and round and all the sides will be spray painted!

So with this you are done with the ball!

Have a look at the pictures for a really good understanding of what I said in this step.

Step 4: Making the Cube

Picture of Making the Cube

This is probably the easiest thing to make as all you need to do is take 2 squares of cardboard and halfway along one side you cut halfway to the center and do this on both the squares, and then attach them together with some hot glue and you are done with this step!

Just keep in mind they are perfect squares because if they are not perfect then the result will look more like a cuboid and in some cases really bad!

Then all you need to do is cut many squares of the same size and divide them into 4 equal parts and attach those parts from the center of the cube just like the sphere, have a look at the pictures to see how it looks after it is finished!

Step 5: Making the Base of the Deer

Picture of Making the Base of the Deer

Now that we are done with the sphere and the cube we can now make something a little advance like a deer trophy/bust!

Okay to start off we need to make the base, and to make the base you will need to print out or draw a deer head as shown in the pictures and then just attach the template on top of the cardboard and cut the cardboard, this will make the base of the deer!

You can make any animal by using the same technique!

You basically just need to draw a 2D picture of a deer head and then just cut it out on cardboard, and by doing this you will have the base, you will need to make 2 copies of the same picture on cardboard because they will be needed later to attach everything and to make the 2D image 3D.

Step 6: Finishing the Base of the Deer

Picture of Finishing the Base of the Deer

Now that you have the two pieces you need to decide how many cross pieces you will add to the deer I decided to add about I think 6 or 7. So all you need to do is make slots on the 2D cardboard deer head as shown in the pictures, and how many ever slots you make make sure that they are evenly spaced out.

You will need to make the slots halfway so that you can attach the cross cardboard pieces later.

By doing this you will be done with the base!

Make sure that the slots are on the same places on both the cardboard cutouts! I cut the slots for both of them together by keeping one on top of the other.

Step 7: Making the Cross Pieces

Picture of Making the Cross Pieces

Now you will need to make cardboard pieces that will fit at 90 degree angles to the two base cardboard cutouts.

Have a look at the pictures for a better understanding.

I first cut a small oval for the nose and then a little bigger oval for the next slot and then a bigger oval and so on, just giving some details to each and every piece of cardboard.

So after you have made the cardboard pieces you will just need to attach them inside and use hot glue to make them firm if you want to.

With this step you will be able to see that the deer is starting to take shape! Just have a look at some of my close ups to find out what the details for each and every oval were.

You can see in some of my images that the ovals keep getting bigger and bigger as we go to the last slot!

Step 8: Finishing Up the Head

Picture of Finishing Up the Head

Now all we need to do is add horns and ears to the deer and then you are done.

For the horns all you need to do is take some cardboard and cut out some horns, then cut out more mini horns that will stick out from the main horns( Just like the roots of a plant)

For the main two horns make sure you use thick cardboard or add two layers of the cardboard to make sure that they are sturdy.

For the ears you will just need to cut out two ears from cardboard and then cut out smaller ears which will be attached in the middle to give more detail to the ears.

Have a look at the pictures for all details on how the horns are shaped and how the ears are shaped etc

Step 9: Finishing the Trophy!

Picture of Finishing the Trophy!

Okay this will be the last step and with this you will be done making the deer trophy!

You will need the thickest cardboard available to you for making the frame for the deer, you will first need 2 small pieces and one square piece as shown in the picture and then attach them together as shown in the pictures. Then all you need to do is take the deer and attach it on the frame, for this I took some cardboard rectangles and attached them one on top of another and then used glue and attached it to the frame and the deer's back/neck as shown in the pictures.

This increased the area of contact between the frame and the deer's neck and due to this it was very sturdy!

And by doing this you are done on making the deer!

If you have any questions on any of the steps or if you don't understand something just comment and I will reply in 1-2 days!
I would be glad to see any pictures of what you make if you make any of the three things I showed or anything else using this technique

Step 10: Photo Gallery

Please vote for this in the Green Living and Technology Challenge! --->>>
Thanks in advance!

Here are some photos of my final projects! The Sphere, Cube and Deer!

They are all put in a video because I was not able to add more photos to the instructable as it reached the maximum limit (Sorry for that)
Here's the video:ENJOY!

If you make any of these don't forget to post pictures...
Thanks again!


Flybell (author)2013-03-23

Thank you for the inspiration! I made a horse trophy head today.

vishalapr (author)Flybell2013-05-26

That looks great !

Bb902e (author)2011-12-27

Nice !! I was taking a 3-D class and someone made one ,now I know how . Thanks!

vishalapr (author)Bb902e2011-12-27

Glad you learnt something :)

itsjustdoc (author)2011-10-31

This is awesome. What do you think of filling the deer's head-spaces up with papier-mache so's it'll look more deer-like and then painting it deer-like colors?

vishalapr (author)itsjustdoc2011-10-31

Superb idea....I will try do that soon! But then again this is supposed to be cardboard decor...maybe I will make another dear and add paper mache in the spaces and paint it!
Thanks ^_^

Emerzyme (author)2011-08-08

This is so cool! I decided to try it. I used a Grape Nuts cereal box. :)
I made a smaller pyramid and sphere. They aren't as detailed or neat as yours, though. What a fun idea!

vishalapr (author)Emerzyme2011-08-08

Thos look great! You will be patched!
I like the pyramid even more!!!!!

collince (author)2011-08-06

i finished paper maching the deer head it went ok still trying to upload the pics...

vishalapr (author)collince2011-08-06


collince (author)2011-08-04

I saw this super cool unicorn kit for 34 bucks!! also at urban out fitters...

vishalapr (author)collince2011-08-04

Unocprns Rule!!!

symphonyinmymind (author)2011-08-02

Thank you so much for making this!!! I saw this a few months ago at Urban Outfitters for like you said 60- something dollars, and I refrained from buying. Thank you!:)

Welcome! Glad you liked it!

collince (author)2011-07-31

i'm going to try to paper mache it wish me luck :)

vishalapr (author)collince2011-07-31

Paper macheing it is going to be a hard job! Good Luck! And after you make it please post pictures of it as comment replies thanks!

kylekosan23 (author)2011-07-26

this is sooo cool i luv the deer head

vishalapr (author)kylekosan232011-07-26

! Really glad you liked it! I too like the deer head the most...I started with the cube, then made the ball and then the deer head!

Electronics Man (author)2011-07-18

This is awsome!!!

Thanks! Glad you liked it!

apfeffer (author)2011-07-17

Excellent! Voted! :D

vishalapr (author)apfeffer2011-07-17

Thx Glad you liked it!

splazem (author)2011-07-16

Cool beans!

vishalapr (author)splazem2011-07-16


splazem (author)vishalapr2011-07-17

I'm bringing back the phrase "cool beans." Don't worry, it's a compliment! I loved what you did, especially the dear!

vishalapr (author)splazem2011-07-17

Oh Thanks! Glad you like my deer!

splazem (author)vishalapr2011-07-17


splazem (author)splazem2011-07-17

I meant deer. Sorry!

mikeasaurus (author)2011-07-16

Nice work, and all without a printed template.
I've seen the deer head for sale for about $40USD in a store.

vishalapr (author)mikeasaurus2011-07-16

Yup there is no template for this project!
Glad you liked it!

And yeah 40$ is a lot whereas you can make your own for 2-3$, in my case 0$...
But I bet if I sell this I would get about 2$ maximum...

sunshiine (author)2011-07-16

Wow! This is totally awesome! Definetely voting on this.

vishalapr (author)sunshiine2011-07-16

Thx Glad you liked it!

CatTrampoline (author)2011-07-15

I love it! And you could even sell them without running afoul of the law!

vishalapr (author)CatTrampoline2011-07-15

Please vote for it in the contest if u liked it enough!
And about the selling bit, I have never sold anything so....I really don't know and am not really that keen on selling these!

CatTrampoline (author)vishalapr2011-07-15

I already voted for it! I vote for all the ones I really like. About the selling - most crafts take so much time to make that they aren't practical to do as a business. I was just comparing the cardboard art wildlife to the perils of trading in real wildlife parts. here in Texas it is traditional to decorate your house with deer heads and cow horns.

vishalapr (author)CatTrampoline2011-07-15


MrF_DT_teacher (author)2011-07-15

Nice job. I noticed that you cut the slots for the head from the bottom. Might be a good idea to cut them from the top so your dividing pieces are sitting in the slots as opposed to hanging from them. This will mean they won't drop out if you make them a little loose. Hope you don't mind me saying :)

vishalapr (author)MrF_DT_teacher2011-07-15

Thats a really nice idea will do that when I make any other cardboard projects like this! : D

Thanks for the great tip!
Maybe you could vote for this, if you liked it!

CatTrampoline (author)2011-07-15

I vaguely remember making much cruder animal frameworks using this method as a base for paper mache many years ago. These are done so nicely that they are art in their own right.

vishalapr (author)CatTrampoline2011-07-15

Thanks and if you have any pics of those things you made then please add them as a reply to this comment! I would be glad to see them!

CatTrampoline (author)vishalapr2011-07-15

Sorry, that was in the dim and distant past. I may use that technique again for the 2012 Fire Ant Festival. If I do, I'll document it then.

Verynicemice (author)2011-07-15

Oooh nice stuff. Like especially the reindeer lol.

vishalapr (author)Verynicemice2011-07-15

Thx Glad U like it!

vishalapr (author)2011-07-15

I finally embedded the video without any problem!

MikeTheMaker (author)2011-07-14

Very nice!

What type of laser cutter do you have? (I'm curious as to how useful one is and what materials are cut by real people)

vishalapr (author)MikeTheMaker2011-07-14

I do not have a laser cutter! I wish I did! But its just too expensive! I cut out all these pieces with normal kitchen scissors!

MikeTheMaker (author)vishalapr2011-07-14

Fantastic--that's a lot of hard cutting!

I wish you luck in the next contest for a laser cutter--you'd probably make some really cool stuff if you had one.

vishalapr (author)MikeTheMaker2011-07-14

Ya with a laser cutter I could even cut wood! And wood would be amazing for a lot of projects! Hope you will vote for this ible in the Green contest!

MikeTheMaker (author)vishalapr2011-07-14

I will . . . Good Luck!

vishalapr (author)MikeTheMaker2011-07-14


About This Instructable




Bio: A programming enthusiast. I tinker around with everything I see and love to game.
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