Introduction: DIY Cardboard Vending Machine Coin Bank

About: I love to make everything! I love doing arts and crafts and working on cosplay in my free time and exploring with new things! I also love to post how-to instructions, so I hope you find my instructions useful!…

This simple vending machine bank is perfect for saving up coins in style! :)

Step 1: What You Will Need:


  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Thin cardboard (like a cereal box)
  • Thicker (more stable) cardboard (like a packaging box)
  • Scissors (and/or knife/razor)- Hot glue
  • Packaging tape (clear, durable)
  • Quarter for sizing (or whatever the largest coin you will use)
  • Paper for decorating
  • Elmer's liquid glue (or equivalent)

Total time: (this will vary)

Constructing: about 1 and a half hours

Decorating: about 2 hours

Total time: about 3 and a half hours

Step 2: Making Your Box

First you'll need a box made of thick cardboard. If you don't have a box that fits the shape/size you want, you can simply make one! As you can see, my box had a few faults, but nothing cutting and tape won't fix!

Step 3: Cut Out Holes

First you'll want to draw out a quick sketch of what you want it to look like.

Then cut it out. BE CAREFUL! I typically (carefully) poke a hole in where I want to cut and slowly cut out piece by piece. Do not rush here!

You'll want a hole for the items to go in, a hole for the coins (make sure it's bigger than your largest coin/Quarter) and an optional hole for the items to come out.

Step 4: Adding Shelves and Extras

The first three pictures are for the hole at the bottom of the vending machine. It is the little flap that you can open to get the item. When cutting this, make it the same size/ a bit bigger than the hole, but with an addition that makes it taller. You will need this to tuck it under the hole and tape it later. This flap was made with the thinner cardboard so it doesn't stick out as much and isn't as bulky.

Then are the shelves for your vending machine, where the items go. Make them deep enough to hold anything you'd like. As you can see from the fourth image, there must be an additional inch or so on each side to allow painting/gluing later. These are made from the thick cardboard for stability.

At this point, do not glue or tape! Just put them on to observe and see if you need to edit the lengths.

The bottom shelf, if it interferes with the coin slot, you can cut it. Mine was level with the viewing hole so I had to cut a small hole in one of them (will be easier to view in a later step) for the coin to go through the hole into the collection box (next step).

Step 5: Money Collection Box

Because the vending machine is so large, you'll need a smaller area for the coins to get collected so they won't just be rolling around everywhere. This smaller box has to be a specific size; large enough to collect the coins easily but small enough to fit under the shelves, under the coin slot and narrow enough not to get in the way of any other holes. It should be hidden from sight. I made this with the thinner box just to make it easier to form.

While making this, you also should be mindful of how you will pull it out. I eventually took off the backside of my box so the box could just slide out easily when it's time to empty.

As you go along, make sure to put your machine together multiple times to make sure it fits together well and you like the design! Do not glue or tape anything yet!

Step 6: Coin Slot Add-on

I wanted to make the coin slot area look more defined so I just put a rectangle piece from the thick cardboard and cut a hole in it (make sure it's big enough for the largest coin to fit through!) to paste on later. Do not paste it on now!

Step 7: Design! Optional Paper

This is the exciting part! Make this vending machine your own. You can make it look realistic or fun, your choice! I used paper to cover mine, but if you can also use paint (if you use paint, make sure there is no tape showing. Take the tape off your boxes before you put them together. If the tape it there when you paint it, it will show up differently and may not stick as well.

I wanted to use just one piece for the front to make it more smooth, so I stuck the paper inside the box and lightly drew over whee the holes were. I used a razor to cut out since that can be more precise than scissors, but scissors are fine too! Instead of cutting the pieces out completely, I cut them so they had excess. This excess can be folded over and taped to the inside to make the sides smooth and look less like cut cardboard.

Step 8: Covering Pieces With Paper (decoration Continued)

Take all your pieces (shelves, extra pieces, flaps) and put paper on them. I just used tape to attach them to the cardboard. I also made the paper larger than the actual piece to fold it over and make them look neater. If you paint, then you don't have to do this unless you want to cover them with paper and then paint to make it more smooth.

For the extra piece where the coin goes, remember to cut away any paper that is in the way of the coin slot.

Step 9: Taping on the Box and Decorating Further

I taped on the sides, bottom and top, but not the back since I cut that away. I taped the corners and then hot glued and regular glued the sides. I added on a separate paper between the corners to make the sides nicer looking and the edges not as visible (since they looked rather messy).

Step 10: Put It All Together!

Hot glue the shelves together, make sure they are lined up how you want and glue only one side at a time.

Tape on the flap at the bottom (I tried to glue it but the glue doesn't stick well to tape, so it just slipped off)

Glue on the extra coin slot section.

Add on details! If you want to draw pictures on it or add pieces of paper/drawings to make it look more like a vending machine.

Optional: if you want a piece of plastic (from toy packaging, food packaging, etc as long as it's clean, sorta clear and flat! Also the thinner the better) over your items and shelves, glue/tape that on from the inside before you put the shelves in. If this is the case, you'd probably want to keep the back off completely so you can reach the items easier.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you make one please send a pic! I would love to see what y'all do! :)