Low Tech Cardboard TV Toy




Introduction: Low Tech Cardboard TV Toy

About: I'm a mom, wife, programmer, blogger. Check me out at www.thecheesethief.com
Please check me out at www.thecheesethief.com for more DIYS.

This is a toy that I made as a child.  It is a tv that requires assembly and imagination.

I love this toy because the possibilities are endless.  Children can keep adding content to your "film reel" and learn so much.  

The learning objective of this is two parts:
1. Constructing this will help with students with their hand eye coordination and simple construction skills.
2. After this project is created students can add their own film reel explaining a science cycle  (ie, life cycle of a butterfly, water cycle, mitosis, etc) this will help with students conceptualizing the steps within the cycle involved.  By drawing out these things in an interactive way they are able to present this to other students and show what they learned thereby strengthening their presentation skills.

Kids can write their own stories, draw out situations, or even use it to draw out the "water cycle",  life cycle of a butterfly or if they are older maybe a reel on mitosis for a science.  I put pictures in the reel to make it a side show, I also am planning on adding an "alphabet reel" for my daughter (who is only 2).  Maybe when shes older I can have her make her own reels to teach some of her younger cousins something.


1 small cardboard box
2 cardboard toilet paper/paper towel tubes (needs to be longer than the width of small cardboard box
1 plastic cover from a toy box (optional - see red toy box "stainless steel play cookware"  image below for example)
Scissors or utility knife

This is a video of the final product:

Step 1:

Cut 4 circles on the sides of the box the same diameter as the toilet paper roll.  Cut out a rectangle from the center of the box between the 4 circles

Step 2:

This step is optional.  If you want a more realist looking tv you can create one from another piece of cardboard and some plastic film from a toy package.

Step 3:

Tape the "tv" onto the box.  If you did not create this you can skip down to the next step.

Step 4:

Find comic strips and pictures or make have your children draw up a story line.  Cut them out and tape it together into one long strip.  You want to make sure that your comic strips are about the same width as the opening you created.  I used a variety of things, comic strips, pictures printed from my printer, and a few drawings.  Tape each end of the strip to each cardboard tube.

Step 5:

Roll up the tube like shown above.  insert the rubes into the box and seal up the box using tape or glue.

Step 6:

Once box is sealed the tv is ready for use.

Toy Challenge 2

Participated in the
Toy Challenge 2

The Teacher Contest

Participated in the
The Teacher Contest

1 Person Made This Project!


  • Home and Garden Contest

    Home and Garden Contest
  • Origami Speed Challenge

    Origami Speed Challenge
  • Trash to Treasure Contest

    Trash to Treasure Contest



10 years ago on Introduction

I used to make these as a child out of pencils for the spindles and a shoebox with cutout for the screen. Yours is a super deluxe version. What fun!


10 years ago on Introduction

Brillo :) this reminds me of making cool stuff at primary school...........perhaps you could mod this to be a Sky+ version ;)


10 years ago on Introduction

Love it!! I remember making or having things like this as a child too.