How to Make a TARDIS Model

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Introduction: 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:

  • 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

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

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

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

  •   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

  • 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

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

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

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

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.

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82 Comments

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

Where did you get your LED light?

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.

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.

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

Thanks for posting this for us :)

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

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 :)

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