Introduction: Easy Cardboard Motor Driven Car!

The goal of this kid friendly build was to make a toy with only the materials I had around the house like cardboard and scraps of wood... The small car has the possibility to go straight or to turn and they must be operated from the car itself. It doesn't require any coding or programming and minimal dangerous steps like the drilling and soldering that must be done by the adult. So without further ado let´s get started.



  • 3 way switch
  • 2 Motors
  • 360 turning wheel
  • Wires
  • Thin piece of wood
  • Cardboard
  • Paint


  • Soldering iron (Optional)
  • Drill

Step 1: Building the Base

The base will be made out of a thin piece of wood that we had lying
around but any kind of hard material works even a firm type of cardboard. Once we´ve gotten the wooden plank the perfect size the plan the first thing we have to do is mark and perforate all the wholes needed to mount the big central wheel. The wheel should be mounted at the very front or very back of the wood plank to try to overcome the difference in size between the front and the back wheels as much as possible depending on weather you wan two wheels at the front or the turning one as in a tricicle. We did not think of this in the beginning and ended up with a slightly tilted car, but and improvement for next time ;) Next we will mark the placement of the two hobby motors with the marker.

Step 2: Soldering and Wiring

The circuit for this toy car is very simple and only has 3 possible
movements: straight, turning and at rest that are both operated directly from the top the car. Firstly the positive + terminal on the battery is wired to the OFF pin in the switch,and the two motors are grounded together. Next the 1st ON pin is connected to the 2 motors and from the ground terminal in the motors to the negative in the battery clip. Finally the 2nd ON pin is connected to only one of the motors depending weather the turn wanted is to the right or left. The wires can be twisted together at first to test if all the connections work and then soldered for extra strength.

Step 3: Mounting & Car Chasis

The motors can be wired through an extra hole made in the wooden
board so that all the wires are held inside the car chasis. To attach the motors we found that a touch of superglue was enough given that these are very light but it might depend based on the materials you are working with so other possibilities include tape or zip ties to hold them in place. The battery was also held down at the top with a bit of tape and then we moved on to designing and sketching the possible outside look of the car wit the help of a lot of coloured markers. We settled on the classic Volkswagen van look but changed it to be slightly boxier to make it easier to construct. The shape was obtained by making a box with the top cover a bit longer than the rest, this was used to face the front nose of the van and the sides covered with more cardboard. The back of the car is left unglued as a trunk for latter access to the batteries. * A reference of the aproximate look of the fold out is drawn in the last picture.

Step 4: Final Touches

All that´s left before gluing everything together is to paint the
exterior. We first gave the whole thing a few coats of art attack style paper mache which consists of scrap paper cuts covered with a 3/4 glue 1/4 water mixture to strengthen the cardboard and help the paint stick better. After that was done and left to dry the outside was painted with some acrylic paint and everything mounted. You are now done! I hope you like the instructable and will have making these with the little ones (:

Cardboard Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Cardboard Speed Challenge