DIY Ghibli's Castle in the Sky From Cardboard

Introduction: DIY Ghibli's Castle in the Sky From Cardboard

As a fan of Ghibli studio, I always wanna try to make something inspired by their movies. In this instructable, I'll show you how I made Ghibli Studio's Castle in The Sky from cardboard. Let's have some fun!

The process consisted of:

1. The castle

2. The root

3. The moss/grass

4. The big tree

5. Finishing



  • Hot glue
  • PVAc glue
  • Tweezers
  • Cutter
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • Cardboard / duplex board / plywood (as the base)

The castle:

  • Cardboard (corrugated and single-ply like a cereal box)
  • Color paper (or you can use the skin of the cardboard)

The root:

  • Brown paper (I used a kind of paper called "kertas payung" in Indonesia. But if you can not find this paper you can use burlap rope as well)

The moss/grass

  • Satin ribbon: green (If you have a sponge and green acrylic paint, you can use that)

The tree

  • Scrap paper
  • Kite paper: green

Step 1: The Castle

Supplies used:

  • Cardboard
  • cereal box
  • Green kite paper/color paper/plastic bag
  • color paper strip (optional)
  • cutter
  • scissors
  • hot glue
  • PVAc glue
  • marker

Based on picture number:

1. I made only half part of the castle for my wall decor, so I made a sketch of half circles

2. Cut the cardboard according to picture 1

3. [clockwise] Cut rectangle shape from cardboard fitted to the half-circle shape to make the wall and then stick them together with hot glue.

4. [clockwise] Cut another rectangle shape from cardboard to make the cylindrical part of the wall. Bend it to make an arch, then glue it down on the wall using hot glue.

5. [clockwise] Rip the inner skin of cardboard (the side that has no print on it), then cut it to make 0,5 cm strips of cardboard skin (look like paper quilling strips in size). After that make a tight coil by rolling the strips until it fit the size of the cylindrical part of the wall. Then glue the tip of the strip to secure the coil

6. Push the center of the coil to make a dome, then add glue in the dome to secure the shape. Wait until dry.

7. [clockwise] While waiting for the dome to dry, cut another cardboard skin to cover up the corrugated appearance of the castle wall.

Special for the top wall, add more coverage using green kite paper, or color paper, even a green plastic bag will work well in my opinion.

8. When the domes are dry, glue them on top of the cylindrical part of the wall.

9. [clockwise] Make tubes from a cereal box in various sizes, and their domes were made from color paper strips (same technique as previous domes, thus you can use strips from cardboard skin as well), after that glue them (hot glue). Add some drawing to the castle.

After the main part of the castle is done, you can glue them to the base. I used the duplex board as a base but you can use cardboard or plywood as well.

10. Here is the view from under the wall. I added rectangle-shaped cardboard and stuck them randomly to support the wall, and this section will be the place where the roots hanged (next step).

Step 2: The Root

Supplies used:

  • brown paper or burlap paper
  • a mixture of PVAc glue and water (not too watery) and a brush
  • hot glue
  • cardboard (optional)

1. [clockwise] Cut the brown paper to make paper strips, the size can be various. Then twist them.

2. [clockwise] To make the twisted root stayed in shape and add more stiffness, I tapped a little mixture of PVAc glue and water (not too watery) on the root and waited until dry. After that stick the root to the castle using the hot glue (be careful when using hot glue). The red arrows in the picture show where I stuck the root. In addition, I cut mini-sized rectangles from cardboard to add properties of the root (this is optional).

If you have no brown paper, I think you can use a burlap rope.

Step 3: The Moss/grass

Supplies used:

  • green satin ribbon
  • scissors
  • tweezers
  • a mixture of PVAc glue and water (not too watery nor thick)

Actually I was a bit confused about how to make artificial moss/grass when I have no acrylic paint. Most of the tutorials I found require sponge and green acrylics paint to make artificial moss/grass. During this COVID-19 pandemic, it'd be a little hard to buy the paint, even from an online store. Suddenly the idea of using a satin ribbon to make artificial grass came to my mind.

I only needed to cut the ribbon into small pieces (as small as I can) and then glue them on the wall using PVAc glue (I added a bit of water to make it not too thick).

Step 4: The Big Tree

Supplies used:

  • scrap paper
  • hot glue
  • green kite paper

1. [clockwise] Make crumpled paper balls in various sizes, then glue them on the base above the castle using hot glue. After that cut green kite paper into strips (I made 4 cm paper strip in width) to cover the surface of the crumpled paper ball. Glue the kite paper using PVAc glue and make sure the paper balls are completely covered.

note: I didn't use green color paper because I thought the kite paper is thinner and more flexible than a color paper and I thought it would give a natural look of a tree more than a color paper can. (on top of that, kite paper is cheaper than a color paper :D). But maybe a green plastic bag can substitute the kite paper.

2. Make paper fringe from the kite paper, I made 1.5 cm in width. And then roll the fringe paper and glue the tip to secure the rolled paper fringe. Glue them on top of the paper balls using PVAc glue.

Step 5: Finishing

I needed to add rope to hang this castle on the wall. So I hollowed out the base behind the big tree and used burlap rope. So here it is Ghibli Studio's Castle in The Sky made from cardboard. Thank you for staying until the end :). I hope this instructable is easy to understand but please feel free to ask any questions.

Last, don't forget to wash your hands with soap!.

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    2 years ago

    Cool project! It would be super cool if you used thin cardboard strips for detailing instead of sharpie.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you for your advise :D