Introduction: Claw Machine From Cardboard

Who doesn't love playing with a claw machine? Every kid dreams of having one in their house, and now it is possible with just a few supplies.



  • Cardboard
  • String
  • Straws (about 5)
  • Hot glue sticks
  • Colored pencils (about 5)
  • Lights (optional)
  • Garland (optional)
  • Paint (optional)


  • Hot glue gun
  • Box cutter
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Scissors
  • Paint brushes (optional)

Step 1: Cutting Out the Frame

First you will need to cut out two 38 inch by 24 inch panels. In one of these panels you will need to cut out a window and a square towards the bottom for the prizes to come out of. These can be any size you prefer. Then, you will need to cut out two 38 by 18 panels. You will have to cut a window out of each of these panels. Next is the floor. Cut out a 24 by 18 panel and then cut a 7 by 7 square out of this panel. Cut another 7 by 7 panel out of a different piece of cardboard and attach both 7 by 7 squares onto the larger panel. Lastly you will need to cut another 24 by 18 panel for the ceiling. You will need to cut two strips out of each side to be tracks for the claw.

Step 2: Constructing the Body

After you have cut out all of the pieces for the body you will simply attach them together using super glue or any other way you would prefer.

Step 3: Cutting Out the Tracks

Next you will need to cut out two 2 by 18 pieces of cardboard. Glue them on top on each other, cut out tracks and drill a hole in each side. You will need to insert an inch piece of colored pencil in the holes that you drill and glue the pencils in place. After that cut out a square piece of cardboard and drill three holes in it. Insert two colored pencil pieces in the two outside holes. Place in the 2 by 18 strip of cardboard.

Step 4: Creating the Claw

Next you will need to cut out two pieces of cardboard that look like a J. Then you will need to cut out two rectangles. Drill holes in the rectangles and claw pieces and insert a tiny straw or toothpicks in the holes. After the straws are inserted, glue them in place. To help the claw open you can glue quarters on the claw. Next you will need to draw two holes on the claw and run a string through them and pull the string in between the two rectangles.

Step 5: Adding the Controls

Create a box and attach it to the front of the claw machine. Drill 5 holes in the top of the box for the spools to go in. Cut out three circles for each knob. Drill a hole in the bottom circle and insert a piece of colored pencil. Glue the pencil in and attach the top circles. Repeat for each knob.

Step 6: Making the Claw Work

On each side of the claw machine glue three pieces of a straw onto the outer wall. Run two string through the bottom straw and make them split into separate straws. Pull string under the ceiling and attach to the 2 by 18 slider. These two will pull the claw left and right. Next, drill a hole in the front and back of the claw machine and run a string through. Pull the string up the back of the claw machine and attach it to the square slider. This will allow the claw to move backwards. To move the claw forwards, pull either string that is directly attached to the claw. Next, drill a hole in the rectangle of the claw mechanism. Run a string through the hole. This will move the claw up and down. Grab the string that you ran through the claw earlier and run it over the top of the claw machine. This will allow the claw to open and close. Take each piece of string and attach the end to the spool. Turn the spools to tighten the string.

Step 7: Have Fun!

Enjoy the claw machine and add any details you want!

Cardboard Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Cardboard Speed Challenge