Cardboard Wall-E




About: Software developer in Texas.

My friends were talking about building Wall-E (TM) robots for their kids to paint. There are some good instructables for complex builds, but this is a simple one evening project and all you need is some cardboard, cutter, glue, paint. Lets build him!

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Step 1: Get Cardboard, Scale, Draw, Cut

The template I provide is not exact, its just a rough sketch. It seemed to more or less work though. You can always cut more pieces of cardboard to patch up any mistakes. Print out some pictures via so you can get an idea of the proportions and look.
Next figure out the size you want for the box. The paper I used for the template makes a 2 inch cube but for convenience I label it as unit 1, everything else is labeled as a fraction of that.
For the build I decided on a 4 inch cube so 1" -> 4" and 1/4 -> 1" and 1/3 -> 1+5/16 and 1/6 -> 11/16 etc.

If the biggest piece doesn't fit onto your cardboard thats OK, you can glue on pieces instead of folding.

For the smaller pieces I use cereal box instead of corrugated cardboard.

Some pieces like tracks and neck are curved, just eye it and draw on paper, cut out for a template. Trace and flip the template so the other side is a mirrored image.

Note::: the original head was too small, DOUBLE THE SIZE of what is specified in the quick sketch.

Carefully cut with exacto, serrated knife or scissors.

Step 2: Glue the Pieces Together

Now fold up the box, and make sure it folds well. I cut halfway through the outside of folds so the cardboard bends well.
The short flap is the upper front and the larger flap meets it as the lower front. The lower flap will be the door, don't glue this but glue the flaps and walls.
If the door meets up correctly, good, if not trim it or add to it. The small screen square goes onto the top front centered and can be used to friction fit the door so it stays closed but can still be popped open. Use extra cardboard if needed on the sides to block the door from caving in.
I use hot melt glue for quick no clamp results.

Build the tracks by folding the track sides in and curving the track piece around the rounded triangular shapes and hot glue it. When satisfied glue the other side. Yes you can find a way to put recessed wheels in the tracks but since the tracks aren't real anyway I just scoot him around.

Curve the arms up and fold them in, and glue. bend back the fingers and flaps. With a pointed hobby knife, drill a hole near the back of the inside arm and push a 1/4 inch x 1" long dowel or stick into them. This will hinge the arms.

Construct the head from the eye pieces and the back piece. Some careful trimming of the bottom of the eye piece helps them fit together nicely.

Curve the walls of the neck around the neck side pieces and glue the S-curve leaving some flaps at each end. On the top tap of the neck, hot glue a 1/4 inch by 1/2" long dowel or stick. See how this meets up with the hole in the head piece to make a turnable head.

Step 3: Attach the Pieces, Paint As Desired

When attaching, keep in mind the orientation of the box. The small glued flap is the front towards the top and the larger flap is the door that opens down.

Insert the neck dowel into the head so that it turns. If too loose, add more cardboard and cut a smaller hole.

Position the neck and glue its flaps to the top near the back of the body.

Raise the body up on a block or something to about a third of the track height and glue the tracks on with their smallest "hub wheel" is in the front and they are somewhat centered about the side of the body.

Figure out where you want the arms to be. In the movie, the arms are on tracks and can move around and also extend but just find a place that looks right for you. Drill a hole where the dowel will poke in. You may want to glue a square of cardboard inside over the hole and drill again so its thicker support. Poke the arms in.

You could also make a new hand on a wooden dowel and fold the old thumb in, glue and make a hole for the dowel. Then the dowel hand would be extendable like in the movie.

That should about do it. Paint however you like.
Yeah, we could have added wheels, some continuous rotation servos, a RC radio, batteries, LED's, etc, but I am keeping this a simple one evening project for me. And if you have kids maybe they won't get bored before its done.

Hope you liked my first Instructable.

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    16 Discussions

    Maaann looks a bit more complicated than what I'm actually capable of. :P Looks really good though.


    10 years ago on Step 3

    cool! How does it move?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Hi! Very nice wall-e ) We with my 3-old son use yours as template to build some own. One improvment - our wall-e hands can move - it`s афеутув ин rubber thread. Thank you so much for idea!


    Awesome! Thanks so much for posting this. Here's the one I made from your template, although I made the box about 6inches for a much bigger Wall-E. I added a few things, including a cord running from the back of his neck to just above his head. :)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for your input, I have now updated with a bigger head for better proportion.

    Thanks for the link, this is a great 2-3 inch size wall-e, and will also serve as a good painting template for bigger ones.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Great Instructable! I love the idea, there's just one thing: the head needs to be bigger. :P +5/5 stars.

    1 reply

    11 years ago on Step 3

    Nice! very well done.