Introduction: Making a Cardboard Skirt

About: I'm a 14 year old girl that loves doing crafts mostly sketching, sewing, and crocheting.

Lately, I've been wanting to step outside of my comfort zone and try different medias. So when I saw the cardboard challenge, I was all in. In this instructable, I will be turning cardboard into a skirt!


You are going to need:

Cardboard boxes



Acrylic Paint

Paint Brushes




Step 1: Measuring and Cutting

Measure your waist, your waist to just past your knee, and how wide you want the skirt. Then decide how many pleats you want. For my waist measurement, I got 24 inches. I want 8 pleats, so I will divide 24 ( waist measurement) by 8 (amount of pleats). So, the top of my panels will each be 3 inches long. The measurement between my waist and me knee is 22 inches, so each panel will be 22 inches long. I want my skirt to be 67 inches wide, so 67 divided by 8 (amount of pleats) is 8.375, so each panel will be 8.375 inches wide along the bottom. Then, find (or cut) a piece of cardboard as long as your panels will be (mine is 22 inches long.) Next, mark the top width measurement (mine is 3 inches long), and mark the bottom width measurement (mine is 8.375). Now, draw a diagonal line from the top line to the bottom line on both sides. Then, cut out your panel. Do this with the rest of your pleats (I cut 7 more to get a total of 8). Finally, wrap around a roll of tape, on the weak parts that are starting to bend.

Step 2: Taping the Pieces Together

Gather your pieces and spread them out in a circle, the tops of each panel should be touching in the center, except for two, we need to create an opening for fitting. Tape the panels together two by two, so that the bond will be stronger. Make sure to reach the tape into the front crevice and the back crevice (where the panels meet, shown in 5th photo). Once you have taped them all two by two, tape the pairs together, leaving a space open for fitting.

Step 3: Making the Newspaper Filling

Lay out a piece of newspaper underneath two panels. Then, draw close to the panels making a triangle shape. Next, cut out roughly around the drawn triangle, the bigger the triangle is, the more volume the skirt will have. Then, fold the triangle in half, folding the tops down too (as shown in the pictures above) sort of like how you would fold a basic paper airplane. Finally, flip the triangle over so that the folded tops are pressed on the cardboard. Then, tape down the folded tops as well as the top of the triangle. Repeat this with the other panels.

Step 4: Glueing the Zipper

I am using a 12-14 inch invisible zipper in the color 'natural', but you can use any zipper you have. I started off by lining the zipper up with the cardboard, making sure that only a thin strip of the zipper is actually on the cardboard, we don't want to glue the teeth down, or else it won't be functional. Next, I used tacky glue to glue down the zipper, we don't need a lot because a bit of this stuff goes a long way. After it dries, glue down the zipper on the other side. Make sure that when you do this, you put the skirt in a pyramid position (photo 6 and 7) and glue it down by reaching through the top (if you put the skirt in pyramid positions wrong side out, the skirt will be stuck that way, it can't go back to being right side out). We want the zipper to be level, so in the pyramid position, you can slide the zipper up or down and adjust it until the tops are level. Let dry.

Step 5: Painting the Skirt

I started off with a base. I missed together a lot of white, and very little green acrylic paint to get a sort of pale minty green. Then, I mixed green and yellow acrylic paint and made a spring green color. (You can see this in photo 5). I painted this over the base coat and let dry. If you don't have enough paint to make a nice clean finish (photo 6), you can just add more flowers to your skirt.

Step 6: Making Newspaper Flowers

The newspaper flowers are meant to cover up any imperfections in the paint, cover up the tape poking through, and they also just look nice. First gather a stack of newspaper, if you need to stock up for a few days, that is fine too. First, I cut my newspaper. I made a giant flower by cutting 6 "10.5 in. by 12 in." pieces of newspaper, then folding it like an accordion or a paper fan. I then taped all the stems of the fans together (at the base) as well as the sides so it turned into a bigger fan. Once I had added all of my fans, I wound the two ends and taped the sides together (photo 5, 10, 11). If your fan is tight when you wound it around and is in danger of tearing, add an extra fan in place, and it will bend more easily. I made another one of the giant flowers (photos 1, 2, 3, 4, 5), a medium flower (8 by 8 in.), and two small flowers (4 by 4 in. photos 7, 8, 9, 10, 11). Then, I placed them around my skirt and took photos so I knew where to place them after painting. Because the back of my skirt had such a patchy paint job, I used the bigger one of my big flowers, and the two small flowers.

Step 7: Painting the Flowers

I mixed together a light magenta color and painted it on the flowers, making sure I got into every crease, although I left some spots blank for a homemade effect. Then, I mixed together lots of purple, and a good quantity of red to make a deeper magenta. I then painted this onto the middle of the flowers as shown in photo 5. Let dry.

Step 8: Assembly + Final Paint

I laid the flowers down in the position that I had before (I looked off of my pictures for reference) and then I taped them down. Make sure that before you tape it down, you look in the mirror and see where the flowers will line up. If you also put a big flower in the back or flowers that extend over the zipper in the back, don't tape it down over the zipper, tape it on one side. Finally, take your skirt outside to paint again. This time, we will be painting the waistband an even darker shade of magenta (photos 5, 6, 7.) Then, the dress is done!

Step 9: Yay!

This project was a lot of fun for me, and it helped me experience new medias that I didn't know could be used to craft. I think this is a great way to try out new things and find what you like. I hope you enjoyed this project too and try it out as well. Thank you!

Cardboard Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Cardboard Speed Challenge