Cardboard Costume Racer.

Introduction: Cardboard Costume Racer.

About: Im a freelance consultant ( then again who isnt ? ) and I help companies manage their content and their personas online. My background is in System Administration and Application Development and I ended up in…

Creating a cardboard costume that looks like a character from a favourite TV show does not mean your limited to recreating people.

In this instructable I examine the steps previously provided from an activity magazine and filled in some of the blanks and assumptions that went into its creation, hence the documentation here.

This project was part of an activity for a 4 year old with a adult helper so expect paint to be in more places than just on the boxes.

Step 1: The Body of the Box.

We went to our local HobbyCraft store to buy some extra supplies and asked them if they had any suitable boxes for the body of the car.

We made sure that the box would fit over the head and shoulders of the little helper and that there was more than adequate space for the front where the bonnet would be folded back.

We chose a corrugated cardboard box since it is going to have stronger sides and survive the first few hours of painting and construction.

Step 2: The Things You Need

Other than the Carboard body you will need

4 Plastic Flower Pots. Which will form the wheels.
4 Cardboard Toilet Roll tubes. Which will form the Spoilers and the Exhausts.
4 Paper Plates. Which will form the Eyes, the Mouth and the Roll bar.
1 2mtr Black Ribbon for the purpose of hanging the box over the shoulders.

Grey Primer - We bought a large can of Plasti-Kote Super Primer
This was to prime the cardboard box ( helpful since it might have been covered in plastic packing tape ) and the plastic flower pots ( making it easier to paint them )

Blue Wall Paint Acrylic . Yes we used up some old paint from the house decorating its used for the Body of the car, the spoilers ( two of the tube rolls ) and the edges of the dinner plates to make eyes.

Black Acrylic poster paint . For the exhausts ( the other two tube rolls ) , the wheels ( the flower pots once primer'd ) for his Eyes, the Roll bar and his mouth ( more paper dinner plate usage )

Silver Acrylic poster paint. For the spoliers and for mouth.

Paint Brushes.
Since we were doing this project as parent and child we doubled up on the paint brushes further we used large paint brushes rather than childs paint brush sets. Which made the job of painting tbox and wheels far easier.

Two brushes for the Blue for Body, Spoilers and Eyes.
Two brushes for the Black for the Roll Bar, Mouth, Eyes and Exhausts
Two brushes for the Silver for the Spoilers and the Wheel hubs on the flowerpots.
Two brushes for the PVA Glue for sticking labels and trim on the boxes.

PVA Craft glue to stick the labels and logos and extra decorations
Hot Glue gun to stick the various flaps and edges and plates and flowerpots on the box.

1 Black sharpie for the benefit of making life easier in drawing and cutting straight lines.

Cutting Stuff
Childrens Scissors
Craft knife ( the really sharp type thats definetly unsafe for kids )

Step 3: Cut to Shape

open the box top and bottom so that the flaps for the box are open.

Decide which way will be up and which way will be down.

You will be folding the flaps inside the box to add structure and to provide a backing for the spoilers and exhausts. it will also improve the box resilience.

However. You want to make sure the flaps dont overlap when folded inside.

For the bottom of the box.

Cut the Flaps back to half their length and then fold them inside the box and glue them down with the hot glue gun.

For the top of the box.
Choose which will be the front and which will be the rear of the box.

For the top , front . leave that flap alone.
For the top, back cut the flap down to about half its height and again fold it in and glue it.

For the left and right flaps.
Cut then down to about half the height and from the front to back remove the flap completely. Again fold these inside the box then glue them.

Now to create the bonnet of the car.
use a ruler and measure appx 6" of the way down the box front and mark it. ( a )
use the same ruller and measure appx 5" of the way from front to back and mark it (b)
now draw that diagonal line from a to b
Your cutting along the from b to a and leaving the triangle flap.

Draw a line across the front of the box, from b to b and score it ( lightly ) since it will make it easier to fold the bonnet back along your scoring.

Use the triangle flaps to glue back the bonnet inside the car. Take the opportunity to glue the bonnet along its edges.

Thats about it for the glue and cutting frenzy for a while,

Step 4: Paint It Grey

Using the primer and ensuring you have lots of space and ventilation set up the box and the flower pots and start spraying. Needless to say this is a job for the adult and you can be sure that the little helper will be wanting to peek in and watch.

Its going to take a couple of hours to make sure that the primer is dried so it might be a good idea to crack on with the other parts.

Step 5: Time for Painting.

If your little helper is on hand then help them to see where you want to have things painted. Use the sharpie to draw on the plates where you want them to paint. Encourage them to paint up to the edges. Its not going to matter if they go over the edge since your cutting to fit anyway.

Black Paint time.

Take a paper plate and cut in Half. Before you cut the inside of the plate away paint the crinkled border black and you can use the inside of the plate to hold onto, meaning less paint on fingers. When its dry you can cut the inside away and now you have the Roll bar for the back of the car.

Take two of the carboard toilet rolls and paint them black these will be the exhausts.

Take two plates and paint the pupils in.

Take one of the unused paper plates and paint an open mouth grin ( this is the inside of the mouth ) . Dont use the whole plate just paint a large mouth across the base of the plate.

When the Flower pots are dry paint them Black around the sides but leave the bottoms unpainted.

Blue Paint time.

Take two of the of the cardboard toilet rolls and paint about 3/4 of them blue to match the main body colour.

On the two paper plates used for the Eyes paint a thick blue line around the inside of the plate ( not the crinkled border because your going to cut that away ) Also paint the back of those plates.

Silver Paint time

Paint the bases of the flower pots Silver, to make the hubs
Paint the remaining unpainted ends of the toilet rolls silver for the spoilers
Paint the Lips of the mouth to make the smile

Yet more time for drying.

Step 6: Cut to Fit.

Take the various painted plates and cut them to fit.

Again if your little helper is on hand with the child safety scissors then take one eye each and show them how to cut around the edges. As for the mouth just draw the shape you want them to cut to.

Eyes: Cut away the crinkled edges leaving the thick blue line to make the edge of the eyes
Mouth : Cut the plate back to the silver to make a large happy smiling mouth
Rollbar : Cut away the remaining inside of the plate leaving the crinkled edge as the roll bar.

You should now have a collection of Parts to be stuck to the box once its painted and finished.

Step 7: Body Painting Time.

If your building this with your little helper then this is going to be the most fun part of the build for them since there is less "attention" to details required.

My advice if your painting with the assistance of a little helper is let them start one side and when they tire or feel its complete you turn the box round to let them continue. You can now , go over, touch up and finish anything they missed.

Once painted let it dry.

Yes there is more hanging around and doing something else activity required.

Step 8: Make a Hole.

In the original instructions the step just said.. "Make a Hole for the exhausts and spoilers"

Heres what you need to do.

The two exhausts go on the rear of the box. So use a sharpie to draw around the end of the toilet roll exhausts where they will go.

The two spoilers go on the sides at the front and again draw the shape.

Using a really sharp craft knife score into the cardboard to remove the first layer of carboard down to the flaps ( now you see why you left them ) . Needless to say this is the job for the Adult.

Remember to cut INSIDE the sharpie marking in order to ensure a tight fit to push the tubes into.

Once you fit the tubes go around the join with the Glue gun to ensure they stay put.

Step 9: Spoilers and Wheels.

Glue the Flower pots to the sides. Place the glue on the rim of the pots then apply the pots to the sides. Once they are in place follow the rims edge again with the glue to make a really sure join.

Fit the spoilers and and roll bar and glue these in place

Again if your using the Hot Glue gun then this is the Adults task to ensure that hot glue is put where it needs to go.

Step 10: Making Faces

Now glue on the Eyes at the top edges of the bonnet and add the mouth.

For the nose you can use a large number one printed on paper and cut to fit.

You can add further decoration, stars , flags etc just cut out and stuck on with PVA craft glue.

Finally to make the car wearable glue ( hot glue time again ) the ribbon to the back and the front of the car ( on the inside ). Measure the ribbons length in terms of braces. measuring from the shoulder to just past the waist.

With this done your all set for the races.


Be the First to Share


    • Backyard Contest

      Backyard Contest
    • Eggs Challenge

      Eggs Challenge
    • Remote Control Contest

      Remote Control Contest



    14 years ago on Introduction

    This is a very cool idea. My kids would love these. ha ha ha fav'd