Introduction: How to Make a TARDIS Model

Picture of How to Make a TARDIS Model

Here is a ~20cm model of the TARDIS (or a police call box) made of the cardboard from cereal (and other food) boxes and plastic packaging*. It also has LED lights and sound effects.

Sorry this won't allow you to travel through space and time, yet.....

*Rather then going out and buying material to build this model, I realized I have a great source of cardboard sitting in my kitchen cupboards. Plus I could also use that annoying PVC packaging that almost any thing you buy these days is sealed in.

Step 1: Materials:

Picture of Materials:
  • cardboard -I used cereal/granola bar box cardboard -bonus if it's made from recycled material.
  • templates -you can find this in the pdf file in step 2.
  • clear plastic (for the widows) -I used the clear plastic (?PVC) that is used as packaging material
  • blue paint, pen and tape.
  • silver paint and paint brushes.
  • glue and masking tape.
  • ruler and X-acto knife or scissors.
  • sandpaper
  • small plastic tube or a drinking straw - I used a plastic tube that held erasers for mechanical pencils.
  • 2-3 white LEDs, button battery, on/off switch, wire and soldering iron.
  • Digital sound recorder.

Step 2: Cutting Pieces

Picture of Cutting Pieces
Using the templates from the templates.pdf file as a guide, cut the following pieces out of cardboard:

  • 4 side panel frames.
  • 4 side panels.
  • 8 window frames (these are actually the inside pieces of the side panel frames).
  • 8 sign boards.
  • 4 roof panels.
  • the roof base and the bottom base.
  • cut out the door sign and the 4 "police public call box" signs.

Don't forget to recycle those left over scraps of cardboard!

Step 3: Paint Pieces

Picture of Paint Pieces

Find a nice TARDIS blue colour and paint all of the pieces that you just cut out.  Paint on the blank side of the cardboard.

Step 4: Assemble Side Panels

Picture of Assemble Side Panels

Start gluing!

1. Glue the side panel to the side panel frame, repeat with the other 3.

2. Glue the window frames onto that, repeat with the other 3.

3. Glue two of the sign boards together, one on top of the other, ( I only needed to paint 4 of the 8 sign boards -the bottom ones don't really need painting, I guess I got carried away), repeat so that you have a total of 4.

Step 5: Signage

Picture of Signage
  •   Cut out the four "police public call box" signs and glue to each of the four sign boards.
  •   Glue the sign boards onto the panel from step 4.
The Door:

  • Cut out the sign (Police telephone...Pull to open etc. ) and glue it on the left side under the window.
  • With silver paint add the two door handles and the lock (see image below).

Step 6: Windows

Picture of Windows
  • Sand 4 rectangular (7cmx5cm) pieces of clear plastic.
  • When each piece is no longer transparent and has a nice frosted look, glue to the inside of the window panel (glue the frosted side inward).
  • Draw lines across the windows dividing each window into 6 panes (see picture below). If you draw on the frosted side the ink is less likely to smudge).

Step 7: Assemble Roof and Lamp

Picture of Assemble Roof and Lamp
The roof:

  • Fold over the tabs on each of the four roof panels.
  • Add glue to the tabs and start gluing the panels together.
  • Reinforce the joints by adding tape on the inside.
  • Cut a hole in the roof base so that the light and wires can pass through.
  • Glue the roof panels to the roof base and reinforce with tape.

Step 8: Lamp

Picture of Lamp
The Lamp
  • Cut about 3cm of the plastic tube or straw.
  • Using blue tape and/or a blue pen to decorate the tube to make it look like the lamp (see images below).
  • Make a hole in the centre of the top of the roof to fit the lamp .

The LEDs

I hooked up two LEDs in parallel with a 3 volt battery and an on/off switch. One of the LEDs goes into the lamp and the second one hangs down to shine light out of the window (the window light is a bit dim, a third LED here might be better). The on/off switch is placed at the base of the TARDIS, so make sure that the wires are long enough.

Step 9: Putting It All Together

Picture of Putting It All Together
The side panels

  • Fold over the side tabs of the side panels.
  • Put glue on those tabs.
  • Connect the four panels together. (Don't connect the ends together, we still need to get inside.)
  • Reinforce the joints between the panels with tape.

Adding the roof

  • Fold over tabs on the top of the side panels.
  • Put glue on tabs and glue the roof on to the side panels. Reinforce with tape.

For now, just attach two sides to the roof. We still need to reach the inside of the TARDIS.

Step 10: Adding Sound and Finishing Up

Picture of Adding Sound and Finishing Up
Sound effects

I bought a $10 digital sound recorder from a local department store for playing the TARDIS sound effects. (Actually, I was quite disappointed with the sound quality coming from this thing, it had a lot of static.)

  • Record the sound effects onto your device, you can find it here, at the BBC.
  • I had to take apart the sound recorder so that it can be activated from the outside of the TARDIS.
  • Add the light and sound switches/button to the outside of the panel.
  • Place the batteries near the flap on the bottom so you can easily reach them, when they need changing.
  • Use tape to hold everything in place. We don't want things rattling around in there.

Closing it up

  • Fold over the tabs on the bottom of the side panels and glue to the bottom base still leaving one side open so you can get your hand inside to reinforce the joints with tape.
  • Glue the remaining side to the roof base, bottom base and close it up.
  • Touch up with paint, especially around the edges.


LetíciaL2 (author)2016-01-18

what's the sizes of the templates? I cannot see it in the instructions

meghan7474 (author)2015-12-15

Where did you get your LED light?

ChrysN (author)meghan74742015-12-28

You could try Ebay here.

casanova_zeus made it! (author)2014-12-30

Thanks for the plans. I made it real quick overnight for the Elf on the Shelf to meet himself from the future. The TARDIS looks a little beat up. I plan to build again more slowly.

KentoTempura (author)2014-11-17

Amazing work! It will be great for my project. Also can the front doors be made to open? For what I am doing, the doors should be able to open.

ChrysN (author)KentoTempura2014-11-17

Interesting question, I never thought about having the doors open. On the pictures below cut on the red solid lines and fold on the dotted line for the side panel and side panel frame. This is just a suggestion I haven't actually tried it out myself. I'd love to hear how it turns out.

ashleyrebbecca (author)2014-09-10

What blue did you use?

maddie.hepburn.3 (author)2014-08-21

I can't wait to try this! I will start ASAP on this :) :D

Thanks for posting this for us :)

mpongitori (author)2014-01-05

can you please upload the templates again? i wnat to do a mini wood tardis, and your templates would be very helpfull!

ChrysN (author)mpongitori2014-01-05

The template is available in step 2, is in not working?

Shadow375 (author)2013-10-25

Thank you so much for putting this up! I made this last year around Christmas and never got around to thanking you. I used it as a tree topper, putting one of the Christmas lights to be the Tardis light. It worked pretty good :)

ChrysN (author)Shadow3752013-10-25

That looks awesome as a tree topper! Thanks for posting.

dragnmastralex (author)2013-10-04

can you upload this somewhere else please?
this site makes you pay to even look at stuff.

ChrysN (author)dragnmastralex2013-10-04

No it doesn't just click next to go to the next page or view all steps.

janderson39 (author)2013-08-09

Thanks for this template, it was exactly what I was looking for. Here's my TARDIS

ChrysN (author)janderson392013-08-09

That looks great! Thanks for posting.

pottsjes (author)2013-02-09

this is an amazing project but i don't know where i can get the sound recorder... can you help? is it online?

eburg917 (author)2012-11-04

Thank you SO much for putting this step by step tutorial up! Cut out the pieces and painted them last night and assembled them this morning! Found the roof a little bit tricky but i made it work. Thanks again! I had loads of fun. :)

Heres my finished TARDIS:

ChrysN (author)eburg9172012-11-04

That looks great!

unlucky13465 (author)2012-10-04

3 words, mine totally SUX!!!!
the graphics are to grainy, mine when it turned out looked like a little kid named amelia pond made it! Cardboard sticking out and uneven painting. How'd you get yours to look so NICE?

Catherine Moody (author)2012-09-10

Thanks Chrys I have made a Tardis using your instructions. If you give me your e-mail then I could send you picturesw of it. My e-mail is

ChrysN (author)Catherine Moody2012-09-10

Cool. You can post them right here with your comment. Just click on the add images button under the comment editor.

Catherine Moody (author)ChrysN2012-09-11

Hopefully I have put the photo images of the tardis I made with this comment,
Catherine Moody
Thanks again. I am building another one now using wood veneer! And I am making another using card! I have a tardis production line going!

ChrysN (author)Catherine Moody2012-09-11

Your Tardis looks great! The wood veneer one sounds really cool.

njc1230 (author)2012-06-14

Would balsa wood work with this as well?

ChrysN (author)njc12302012-06-14

Sure that would look great, though you may need to adjust the measurements on the template to accommodate the thicker material.

Osquar (author)2012-05-23

Is it ok if I use this as a base for a USB hub that I'm planning to make during the summer?
It's perfect!!!

ChrysN (author)Osquar2012-05-23

Sure, that would look really cool as a USB hub.

CoolCarKnee (author)2012-05-05

I am a REALLY big Dr. Who Fan. This really helped.thnx a lot

Dusk Shadows (author)2012-04-11

amazing how did you become so talented

Atraxi (author)2012-04-08

What brand/color of paint did you use? Your color choice is really spot on!

ChrysN (author)Atraxi2012-04-08

It's DecoArt Truly Blue.

Atraxi (author)ChrysN2012-04-08


tutdude98 (author)2012-04-08

nice :D but its better with plastic

blasdetejas (author)2012-02-14

Awesome! I'll be starting on this tomorrow!!! Thanks for the instructions!

blackrider23 (author)2011-12-20

I plan on building this for a tree topper this year :)
Wish me luck! :D

ChrysN (author)blackrider232011-12-20

Cool idea to use it for a tree topper!

action pig (author)2011-08-14

Love this! Much cooler than the paper cut out I was thinking of making. Nice build!

ChrysN (author)action pig2011-08-14


jperkes (author)2011-08-12

would u sell it

ChrysN (author)jperkes2011-08-12

Sorry, I am quite attached to it and not looking to sell.

jperkes (author)2011-08-12

very complicated but very rewarding

peepee4 (author)2011-01-15

we have every season of doctor who!
and i made a lego tardis

sueman2 (author)peepee42011-06-11

can you tell me where i can find an intractable. if you did not use one, can you give me pointers?

peepee4 (author)peepee42011-01-16

now i have a card board tardis!

ChrysN (author)peepee42011-01-16


lockpick (author)2011-01-03

This is amazing! Seeing as to me being American and a Dr. Who fan I will say that to a lot of Dr. Who memorabilia but this is amazing!

ChrysN (author)lockpick2011-01-04

Thanks, have you seen caitlinsdad's TARDIS bookcase.

Grey_valentine (author)2010-11-25

I had a total geeked out moment when I saw this. Great job. I love it.

ChrysN (author)Grey_valentine2010-11-25


About This Instructable




Bio: I like sewing and crafts,and trying new things. I'm vegetarian and always looking for new recipes. My cat's name is Mirko and ... More »
More by ChrysN:Crochet Pokeball Keychain FlashlightYarn BrainAnalog Word Clock
Add instructable to: