Introduction: Giant Cardboard Blocks

Picture of Giant Cardboard Blocks

Giant LEGO-like blocks made from cardboard material.

You will need

  • The files provided.
  • Thin cardboard. I used thin cardboard similar that used for cereal boxes. If you don’t have any, thick cardstock paper might work.
  • A machine that can cut the cardboard using the files provided. Or a printer and craft knife/scissors.

Step 1: Files

Picture of Files

I have provided .svg and .dxf files for two types of blocks; 1 x 1 and the 1 x 2.

The 1 x 1 block is the small square one. It consists of two pieces: The square body (Cardboard Block 1), and the cube that connects to the top of the body (Cardboard Block Top).

The 1 x 2 block is the larger rectangular one. It consists of four pieces: The rectangular body, the small piece that divides the bottom hole into two sections (Cardboard Block 2), and the two cubes that connect to the top (Cardboard Block Top).

With the .svg and .dxf files, you can resize the blocks and make them as large or as small as you like. If you decide to do that, make sure to resize all of that parts and keep the same proportions.

If you cut them as they are, the cardboard should be at least 7.75” x 14” for the small blocks, 7.75” x 20” for the large blocks, and 7" x 7" for the top cubes. I had to make my blocks on the smaller side because the Silhouette Portrait will only cut up to 8” wide.

Step 2: Cut

Picture of Cut

If you look at the files, you’ll see that the blocks are made up of different colored lines.

  • Red lines: Cut
  • Green lines: Cut
  • Blue lines: Score

There are several ways to cut out the blocks. Here are some suggestions:

  • You can print the template directly on your material. Then use scissors or a craft knife to cut along any red and green lines, and score any blue lines.
  • Let a machine do it for you. If you have access to a cutting machine like a Silhouette or even a laser cutter, tell it to cut the red and green lines and lightly cut (or score) the blue lines.

Choose the method that works best for you.

Step 3: Fold

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Fold the cardboard along the blue lines.

Step 4: ​Top Cube

Picture of ​Top Cube
  1. Add a top cube to the block by inserting the four arrows into the four slits.
  2. Bend the arrows in toward each other.

Step 5: ​Side

Picture of ​Side

If you look at the body of the block, you’ll see an arrow on one end and a tab with a slit in it on the other end. Fold the tab over (so that it will end up inside the block) and insert the arrow into the slit.

Step 6: Top

Picture of Top
  1. Look at the block from the top.
  2. Fold the two side tabs down.
  3. Fold down the top piece and tuck the tab in.

Step 7: Bottom

Picture of Bottom

Look at the block from the bottom.

For the 1 x 1: Fold one tab down, then fold one next to it down, fold the one next to that one down, and the one next to that one down. Tuck the corner of the fourth tab under the corner of the first tab.

For the 1 x 2: Fold the short tabs down. Fold the long tabs down. take the divider and insert the arrows into the slits.

Step 8: Build Something

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Make something awesome! I haven’t made enough blocks to actually build anything.

Step 9: Make Your Own

Picture of Make Your Own

How to make your own blocks.

  1. Draw a column of 4 squares. Add a square to the first row, second column.
  2. Decide how big you want your block. For this example, I’m going to say 3”.
  3. Decide how big you want your top cubes. For this example, 1.75”.
  4. Draw a small 1.75” square inside of the square that is in the second column.
  5. Figure out the distance between the side of the smaller square and the side of the bigger square: .625”.
  6. The hole at the bottom of the block needs to be slightly larger than the size of the top cube. So, we need to figure out how wide the tabs at the bottom should be. Each tab needs to be slightly smaller than 0.625”- the distance separating the small square and the big square. 0.05” smaller should be good enough (0.625 - 0.05 = .575). If each of the four bottom tabs will be 0.575”, the hole at the bottom will be 1.85”.
  7. In column 1, add a tab to the top of the first square, to the right of the second square, and to the right of the fourth square. They don’t have to be an exact length, they just have to be long enough to fold over and tuck in. Around .5” should be good.
  8. Add an arrow to the bottom of the square in the fourth row. Add a slit for the arrow on the line that is right under the top tab.
  9. Mark where the slits should be to attach the cube to the top of the block (one slit centered on each line of the smaller square).
  10. I almost forgot! Add a tab on the right side of the cube in the second column.

The top cube is super easy to make:

  1. Draw a cross using (5) 1.75” cubes.
  2. Add arrows facing out from the sides.

The process for making the larger block is similar. You’ll just have to make the squares in the first and third rows double the length, add slits for two cubes on top, and create a divider. The divider is just 3” by twice the width of one of the bottom tabs (2*0.575). So, a 3” x 1.15” rectangle with an arrow at each end. Remember to add slits for the divider in the appropriate locations (see Cardboard Block 2).

After you've made it, if you can’t figure out which lines to cut and which to fold, take a look at one of the files.

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