Unless you've been living under a rock or off the grid, you're probably aware of the popularity of Fortnite. So when it came time for a quick cardboard build, my son suggested a Loot Llama. 'What is that?', I asked. 'Dad!' was the response. Well the Loot Llama is iconic...and now with this Instructable, it can also be made of cardboard, and used for many things, like a Valentine's Day box at school, a pinata, or just storage for your kids 'loot', whatever that may be.
Get your kid involved. It will at least be an opportunity for them to set down the game controller for a while and build something.
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Step 1: Supplies/Tools Needed for the Cardboard Loot Llama
There really isn't a lot to this build other than time to mark and cut it all out. You just need cardboard and construction and/or tissue paper and some glue. But here's a breakdown of what I used.
- Several pieces of cardboard (I used a box that had two unbent sides that measured a minimum of 20"x30", for the sides of the llama). Size will vary depending on how large you make yours.
- Lots of construction paper or tissue paper in the colors that you need. (I actually used a mixture of both based on the colors I needed. I used tissue paper for the lavender and dark blue on the head and legs and construction paper everywhere else.
- Black permanent marker to draw in some details
- Craft glue and glue sticks
- Masking tape
- Small piece of Velcro (or whatever the non-branded name is...hook and loop?)
- Notebook paper (better if its graph paper) and pencil
- Box knife or utility knife (these cut cardboard the best and you don't have to worry about dulling a good pocket knife or pair of scissors).
- Cutting pad or scrap board to cut your cardboard on (your carpet or hardwood floor are not a good backing for cutting)
- Heavy duty scissors, like kitchen shears (also an alternative way to cut your cardboard)
- Straight edge/ruler
That's it. You're ready.
Step 2: Sketch Out Your Llama on Graph Paper
Since I am not much of an artist, I searched online for the best images of the loot llama. There are gillions. It also helped to search 'loot llama coloring page' because that gave me more two-dimensional(ish) options that made my sketch easier.
- Make a side profile sketch on a standard piece of grid paper (8-1/2 x 11) of your llama based on your own talent or something you find online.
- Draw a grid on top of the llama sketch using some of the lines on the graph paper. I drew a grid that represented 10x10 squares on the graph paper. Basically every 10 graph paper squares, I drew a line across the page. I did this both horizontally and vertically. So I ended up with a grid on top of the sketch that was 3 squares wide by 4 squares tall. More on why you do this in the next step.
Note: I didn't capture all the detail of the llama in the sketch, just the basic shape. For example, I made the tail one solid piece. The actual loot llama has something more similar to streamers as a tail. So you could remove the tail in your sketch and just round off its rump, then add crepe paper, ribbon, or similar as a tail later.
Step 3: Transfer Sketch to Full Size on the Cardboard
Now to use those grid lines you drew on top of the llama sketch. This allows you to scale up the llama sketch to any size you want by drawing a larger grid on your cardboard and drawing the llama into the bigger squares.
- Decide roughly how wide and tall you want your actual llama to be. Find two pieces of cardboard that fit that size.
- Draw a larger 3 square by 4 square grid that fills up the cardboard. You can just see the larger grid on the cardboard in the photo.
- Now draw whats in each square on the sketch into each square on the cardboard.
- Repeat this so you have the two sides for the llama.
Note: After I sketched the llama and drew both sets of grids, small and large, my son drew the large llama onto the cardboard. Since the grid makes it easy, this is a great place to get them involved.
Step 4: Cut Out the Cardboard Sides and Middle
While I prefer to use a utility/box knife, we used some heavy duty scissors (like kitchen shears) so my son could cut everything out. Your choice.
- Cut out each side of the cardboard llama.
- Decide how wide your llama should be. I chose 6 inches.
- Cut out the 'middle' portion of the llama. Basically cut long cardboard strips that are 6" wide (or whatever size you choose). Enough to go around the circumference of the llama.
Step 5: Assemble Your Llama Body
I typically like to use hot glue for all of my cardboard projects, but with my son helping, we decided to just tape everything together with masking tape.
- Start with one of the llama body sides. Take a cardboard strip and start from any location on the llama side and start taping the two together at a 90 degree angle. It's much easier to start at an edge or corner and tape to the next edge or corner. And its a little hard to keep the shape you need (90 degree), until your strip makes a few bends around the corners and gets taped up.
- Repeat as needed with all the cardboard strips until you've made your way around the llama. See note below before you do this.
- Tape both sides of the card board as much as possible. You can reach in (see note below) to the llama to tape the inside.
Note: I left the mouth and the back of the llama (the part under the saddle bag) open, with no cardboard sides. This lets you feed the llama (thinking of Valentine's cards) and open the saddle portion and access the inside. If you want to make a pinata version, then leave the bottom portion open and cover with tissue paper in the next step.
Other Note: I also did not put cardboard strips on the ears. That way it leaves them sticking out separately. It also leaves them very susceptible to bending. So handle with care.
Step 6: Decorate the Llama
- Starting at the bottom (feet) of the llama and working your way up, cut paper pieces to fit the area that needs to be covered and glue on to llama. You can cover the legs, hooves, tail, head, and underside of the llama between the legs. All of this can be covered with solid/flat pieces of construction paper. Be sure you are using the appropriate colors.
- For the fringe (hair, fur, feathers, whatever is on this llama), cut construction paper into about 2-1/2" wide strips. Then cut each of these strips in the short direction about 1/2 to 3/4 of the width of the strip. Don't cut all the way across. Make these cuts about one inch apart along each strip.
- Curl each of these pieces to start giving the fringe some definition.
- Cut several colors of the strips you plan to use and curl those too. It is easier to curl everything before the strips are glued on.
- Starting at the bottom of the llama body, glue the first strip to the cardboard. Work you way all the way around with the same color strip.
- Work your way up the body of the llama by overlapping each new row of strips about halfway over the row below it.
Note: This is a great step to get your kid involved. They can cut the fringe and glue everything on. You really can't do this a wrong way. My nature is to cut everything perfectly and line up the strips. My son is not so neat and his version look for natural and better.
Step 7: Finish the Final Details
From craft projects to Halloween costumes, the details are what makes an average project great. So lets talk about them.
- Cut two oval(ish) shaped eyes out of white construction paper. Cut two pieces just slightly larger out of black construction paper.
- Glue the white to the black and the black to the llama.
- With a black permanent marker, draw in the black part of the eye (pupil?). The small black pupil with the large white eye is what makes the llama look so ridiculous.
- Cover the cardboard teeth portion of the mouth with white construction paper.
- Outline the bottom of the teeth with black marker.
Noseband or bridle (the brown straps around the llama's mouth)
- Cut brown construction paper into 3/4" wide strips.
- Glue onto llama in the appropriate places.
- Glue a random brown button on each side of the llama where the brown strips come together near the neck.
- Cut a piece of cardboard about 4-1/2" x 18".
- Bend this over the llama so you have equal lengths of the cardboard going down both sides of the llama.
- Attach a small piece of self-adhesive velcro to each sides of the llama and underside of the saddle. This makes the saddle removable.
- Cut two squares out of white paper just smaller than each cardboard saddle side.
- Glue to each side of the cardboard saddle. I did not cover the rest of the saddle because the cardboard was already the right color.
- Draw your graphics with a marker on the white paper. My son chose whatever the logo is that you see in the pictures. You can also use the 'up arrow' graphic.
Totally optional, but I also made a sign that I hung around the llama's neck with some twine. "Feed Me".
Good luck on your llama build and other Fortnite endeavors.
Participated in the
Cardboard Speed Challenge