Free Childrens Cardboard Box Playhouse (Flat-packable)




About: Professionally I have been a summer camp counselor, a Draftsman/designer, salesperson, bicycle mechanic, laminate flooring machine mechanic, teacher, and designer of the OP Loftbed. Personally I am a human...

Children love a cardboard box playhouse.  Usually they are built, played with for an afternoon and then thrown away, or hopefully recycled.  This Instructable will show you how to make a playhouse that can be built using only two bicycle boxes, in about five minutes, that can be flat-packed for storage, so you can reuse it again and again.

Step 1: Materials

All you need is two bicycle boxes.  That is it! 

Step 2: Tools

You only need three tools.

  1.  A tape measure
  2.  A knife
  3.  A marking device

Step 3: What Kind of Box?

I used two bicycle boxes.  You can get these for free at most bicycle shops (remember to say thanks).  Try and get the double walled cardboard, it is much stronger than single wall cardboard.  The boxes I got were 30 inches tall x 7 inches thick x 53 inches long.

Step 4: Flatten

Some bike boxes are glued, some are glued and stapled.  Remove all the staples on the top and bottom and open the flaps.  Try and not damage the flaps.  Then lay the box flat.

Step 5: Measure and Mark the Center

Measure the flat box.  Remember my boxes' dimensions?"  30 x 53 x 7  These dimensions worked out perfect for the roof and floor.  (you'll see why later)  Now that the box is flat, it is 60 inches wide.  Make a mark in the center.  My center is 30 inches, yours might be different.  Mark both boxes.

Step 6: Fold Your Box

Now fold on the center mark.  Fold both boxes.

Step 7: Open the Box and Stand It Up

Open you box and stand It up.  Tuck the bottom flaps into the inside.  Leave the top flaps sticking up.  Your walls should make a square, when viewed from the top.  You will use the other box to make the roof and floor.

Step 8: Cut the Roof and Floor.

After marking and folding the box, cut it in half down the seams.  One half will be your roof and part of the other half will be the floor.

The roof is the tricky bit because it will need four slots cut at the right spots to slide onto the top flaps on the walls.  This way you do not need tape to hold the roof on.  The slots need to be the same distance apart, width wise, as your walls.  Mine were 30 inches which was luckily the same as the height of the box, so I could use the folds of the flaps as a guide.  I cut my slots short and then put the roof on top of the walls and cut the slots longer, until the roof sat the way I wanted it.  I also rounded the corners of the roof to be nice to the heads of the children that would undoubtedly run into it.

The floor was simple.  I measured inside the walls and cut the floor 29 3/4 inches square to fit tight inside the walls.

Step 9: Cut Out a Door and Some Windows

Children will have loads of fun if you let them mark out the doors and windows.  Use holes or slots for a spot to pull the door and windows closed, without pinching fingers  Make sure they are a safe distance when you are cutting out the door and windows.  It would be a good time to teach them about knife safety.

Step 10: Enjoy Playing With Your Children

Now you have a play house that can be easily stored under a bed.  You could leave it natural or decorate it with paint or stickers.

Thanks for reading and enjoy,




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    13 Discussions

    I made a geodesic one big enough for adults, but I didn't take pics. If I make another, I will definitely make an Instructable.

    Thanks for the comment,



    6 years ago on Introduction

    Perfect Playhouse! Heres another one but smaller...
    summer-crafts-for-kids-small copy.png

    I am glad you like it. You and your daughter will have loads of fun making and playing with your play house. Please post a photo of your finished house.

    Thank you for the comment,



    7 years ago on Introduction

    i will create one during my day off! my 2 toddlers will go crazy for sure! its cheap and its safe! thanks :)

    1 reply

    Even better than cheap....FREE! Remember to thank the guy at the bicycle shop that gives you the boxes. Have fun with your toddlers.

    Thanks for the comment,



    7 years ago on Introduction

    Free FUN, no frills= HAPPY Child! (Your little girl is simply adorable, too.;-)

    Five Stars!!!

    1 reply

    She is adorable. She has a big wooden play house, but sometimes she asks for the little house and she just loves the door and windows.

    Thanks for the comment,