Cardboard Hearse Car With Motor & Led's, Pulley Driven.




About: I'm a big fan of video games & have a huge collection. I enjoy watching anime & love science, technology, & astronomy. Check my youtube channel out under Nesmaniac.

I've been wanting to make one of these for a while & finally got around to doing so during a couple of rainy days. The great thing about cardboard is it's so easy to work with that basically the imagination is the limit. Very few tools & materials needed. Fun project for anyone. Here's a list of what's needed.

Cardboard (cardstock style and corrugated) for the car body, interior, & wheels.

Wood dowels for axles & little plastic beads that will slide over the dowels, ink pen housing for dowel to travel through.

Craft sticks of various sizes for the frame & battery box.

2 water bottles (cut the cap end off to make the vintage style headlights) clear plastic for windshield etc.

2 brass paper holder tabs & spring from ink pen cut in half to make battery terminal connector.

9 Volt battery, 2 green led's, 1 red led, small electric motor, 370-390 ohms resistor (or resistors) to solder in between the positive wire running to led's which require 2.2-2.5 volts to prevent from burning out led's.

Safety Glasses (AS ALWAYS) Solder can & does fly off in all directions at times.

Soldering iron & fine solder, wire

Hot Glue gun & 12 glue sticks

Knife, exacto knife, scissors, ruler, mechanical pencil, compass, needle nose pliers, Tree limb cutters.

Spray paint, gel ink pens for detailing, acrylic brush on craft paint, elmer's dry clear glue.

2 rubber bands (one for pulley & one to go around pulley driven wheels to provide traction)

Electrical tape (to go around pulley to provide grip for rubber band)


Step 1: Making the Wheels, Pulley, & Axles.

Take the compass & mark out your wheel & cut it out with scissors. Use this wheel as a template to cut out 7 more just like it. Also use it as a template to find the center of each other wheel by using compass point to stick througheach. Hot glue 2 pieces together to create a wheel & make 3 total like this.

Use the compass to make a smaller pulley circle which will go between the driven wheel. Cut those out & hot glue together. Now use electrical tape to go around the edge & hot glue it between the remaining to wheel pieces so as the actual driven wheel will also be the pulley.

For the axle take a couple of old ink pens apart and use the housing to pass the wood axles through. I used a knife to cut them down to proper size & have 4 separate independent axles. I used plastic beads as retainers to slide over dowels (after a bit of trimming, tight fit) to keep axles in place. Leave about 1/8" space for axles to move left and right inside pen housing so it will no bind up and turn freely. Now press the cardboard wheel on the wood sticking out past the axle housing bead & spin it as you eye it out to make sure it's spinning straight. Now use cutters to cut excess dowel sticking through wheel & hot glue it into place.

Step 2: Make Frame, Mount Axles & Motor, & Cut Out Body Panels.

Use the craft sticks to make the frame of the car. Figure out where you want to mount your axles & hot glue those onto the frame by hot gluing the pen housing to frame rail craft stick. Now take you motor & rubber band & place band over pulley & motor shaft getting a decent amount of tension on the band as pulling the motor toward front of car (not too tight though or motor won't turn) & place a mark on frame of where you need to hot glue motor. Make sure motor shaft is right distance out so it lines up with pulley & slightly angle the motor so the shaft will not allow the rubber band to slip off. Hot glue motor in place being careful not to cover any motor cooling holes & hold firmly til hot glue sets.

Now cut out your body panels & hot glue them together & to the frame. Cut out your interior seats or whatever else you want inside your car while everything is easily accessible.

Step 3: Making Headlights, Running Wires, Making Battery Box.

Take 2 water bottles and cut the plastic up to about 1/8" of cap off. Make a small hole in center of cap & pass - and + wires through. Solder - wire to shorter led leg & + to longer leg (if your led legs are same you can also tell the + by looking inside at the diodes, the smaller diode is the +) & route your wires toward the battery box location. Hot glue the led's into the headlamp housings. I also added a red led inside the motor area compartment & cut slits in radiator so it would glow red. I cut a hole in firewall to allow the red to light up the front compartment of the car.

To make the 9V battery box take the springs that came out of the ink pens & cut 1 in half. Use brass paper holder tabs as terminal connectors for - & + connections. Press the 9V battery terminals onto the cardstock to make a print of them & mark center & use exacto knife to cut small slit in center. Slide springs over brass tabs & then tabs through slit until they are under tension from springs & fold tabs over. Solder some solder on the bent tabs & remember to keep tabs free of anything over them because they along with the wire will be moved up about 1/8" when battery is installed. I used craft sticks to brace it up between the tabs and built a battery box out of craft sticks. I fixed it to where no on/off switch is necessary because it's easy to just pop battery in & out with this design.

Next I soldered the - and + motor wires to the brass tabs & installed battery making sure motor was turning the right direction to drive car forward before marking the battery compartment - & +. Now I solder 370-390 ohms worth of resistors on the positive battery tab terminal & soldered the +'s of each led to the other end to get my led voltage down from 9 Volts to around 2.5. Just be sure not to install the battery backwards or else you will burn out your led's always mark it clearly & make sure the polarity is correct when installing the battery to power on car. (if kids are to play with it I recommend installing a on/off switch because burning out the led's at this point would require a lot of work to fix). Test out your led's & motor to make sure all is working correctly.

Step 4: Ready for Paint.

Now it's ready for a few quick coats of paint. Be sure to mask off the led's, motor, & axle shafts. Give it plenty of time to dry. I think my cat Colee approves of the color choice.

Step 5: Place Driven Wheel Traction Band on & Glue. Glue in Glass.

After paint has dried place a rubber band over the driven wheel & use elmer's dry clear glue to be sure it remains in place. This will make the car's driven wheel far less apt to slip on slick floors. Also it's a great time to glue in plastic windshield & side glass plastic using elmer's dry clear glue & tiny clamps to keep them in place until dry.

Step 6: Acrylic Paint Touch Ups & Gel Pen Any Details.

Now I use brush on acrylic paint to get any spots missed by the spray paint. I then use gold gel ink pen to do detailing. Give it plenty of time to dry (especially the gel ink it takes forever & actually I recommend just not tipping gel ink ever since it smudges easily) & take her for a spin. I can now call this project dead and buried Muwhaaawhaaa....

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    8 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Looking from the unpainted to the painted model really changes everything when i saw the painted i was thinking WOW I'd never be able to make that! but then seeing it unpainted i saw its simplicity and suddenly thought i might be able to make this. This car is great and i love it! the lights are great and I think its really smart the way you connected the motor one thing that would improve this is steering but that'd need a redesign!

    2 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks. I actually made a convertible with working top & steering if you want to check it out. Electric with cardboard gears & pulley too. I doubt I'll add steering to anymore because it was a lot of time & really serves no purpose on a non RC controlled vehicle but I did want to make 1 just for the sake of doing so. Glad you like this & paint & colors definitely makes all the difference. Right now I'm working on a 351 old style peterbilt semi truck that's RC with steering that's going to look a lot like the truck from the 1971 movie Duel.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Cool cant wait to see the truck! and yeah i guess there is no point if its not got a remote i will check out that convertible then!