Train Whistle From Corrugated Card




This working Train Whistle is made from corrugated card with a set of thin card bellows.

I'm sure you will find it fun to make!

Check out my Instagram feed for some interesting development photos

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Step 1:

There is only one part to download, the template for the bellows is in the pdf file. The rest of the project is presented as a step by step how-to.

Follow the instructions and make your own corrugated card train whistle.

Step 2:

Print out the single part onto card and cut it it to use as a template.

You will also need a large sheet of thin card. I use a sheet 640mm x 450mm 230gsm white card. You will also need various sheets of corrugated card. We keep our Amazon delivery packages for just such an eventuality.

In the pictures the large rectangle represents the large sheet of card.

Starting 10mm from the top use the template to mark out small lines down both sides.

Step 3:

Using a long ruler and scoring tool, score between the lines as shown.

Step 4:

Start 7mm from one side use the template to mark on the score lines.

Step 5:

Work your way down to mark out all the score lines.

Step 6:

Use the marks to score the first set of diagonals.

Step 7:

Then the second set of diagonals.

Step 8:

Count out six parallelograms then draw a line down and cut off the excess card.

Step 9:

Pre-crease along all the score lines. The final sheet should look something like this .

Step 10:

Roll round and line up the edge of the card sheet so that parallelograms are aligned and glue them together.

Step 11:

Cut a v shape into each of the tab as shown.

Step 12:

Working one layer at a time, fold in the bellows into shape.

Work all the way down the tube to complete the bellows.

Step 13:

Select a piece of corrugated card that completely covers the open end of the bellows. Glue the tabs and glue the bellows to the card.

Once the glue is dry cut round leaving a gap of a few millimetres.

Step 14:

Repeat the process at the other end.

Cut a 15mm square hole in one end of the bellows.

Step 15: Making the Pipes

Make the parts for two the pipes using corrugated card using the dimensions shown below. The corrugations should be running horizontally.

Step 16:

Using the handle from your scissors and working from the inside of each pipe, flatten down the corrugations of the upper side of the slot to make a thin sharp edge.

Step 17:

Fold round and glue the tube. Apply a strip of glue to the end of the pipe and stand it one a suitable off-cut of card making sure it is square. I stood a book on the end of the pipe to make sure it held into place as the glue dried. Repeat the process with the second pipe. Once the glue is completely dry cut of the excess card.

Step 18:

Glue the two pipes back to back.

Construct two side covers like the one shown.

Glue them so that they are lined up with the bottom edge of the pipe slot.

Step 19:

Cut the two covers and glue them into place. The top edge of the cover and the bottom edge of the holes should be lined up.

Using brown paper tape or glued paper strips, connect the pipes to the bellows over the hole.

Step 20:

Fashion a handle from some card offcuts and glue it into place to complete the model.

Step 21:

Once all the parts are dried, operate the train whistle by pushing and pushing on the bellows. Hoot toot!

Step 22:

Cardboard Contest 2017

Grand Prize in the
Cardboard Contest 2017



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    33 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Genius! I'm adapting a camera bellows for the horn. I'm designing a riding train for little ones, and this would be a great addition!


    2 years ago

    hi there

    I thought that this was a great project so I decided to make it today, however, while I was constructing the tubes, I was having a bit of a problem (or so I think).

    The part of the whistle tubes where I have to flatten them is the problem. I have flattened them as much as possible however when I blow through them no sound seems to come from the tubes. I tried blowing at different angles however nothing seemed to even coax a single tiny little toot out of it. I even tried to put a piece of tape on the flattened part (as you can see in the picture) to make it thinner and more streamlined, but even this seems to fail. I'm not sure whether or not it is worth investing the time and energy required to take this project to completion so I just need your help in identifying the problem.

    I am not sure what is wrong though these may be some of the factors:

    1. I have used regular single ply cardboard (rather than thin ply cardboard as you have used) since I couldn't find any thin ply, but I now realise it may play a role.

    2. I have shortened the length of the pipes to 25 and 23 centimetres though I don't think this should matter as it would probably only change the pitch of the whistle and nothing else.

    I cannot think of anything else at the moment. I just need your help in identifying the problem so that I can take the decision of whether or not it is worth investing the time and energy required to take this project to completion. I hope you can help me.

    Pls respond if possible. Thanks for reading.

    1 reply
    Ace Gambit

    2 years ago

    Congratulations on winning the grand prize! Very creative project. How did you come up with the idea?


    2 years ago

    Congratulations! For your grand prize win


    2 years ago

    WOW! The paper folding is a little complicated, but if you like origami, it's perfect. Kids would love this! I think maybe doing the folding out of tissue paper would be good for a party.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Have fun! I think you might have difficulty using tissue paper - I used thin card as the bellows do need a certain amount of strength.


    2 years ago

    Hi Robives, you're the best, what creative are your models

    1 reply

    One other thing, could you make another one on using normal printer paper? I dont have anyother paper biger then that.

    3 replies

    Did it with ordinary printer paper (A4) with a template: Print as Poster and glue together. Worked for me with 80g/m²..

    There are various bits and pieces on my website, try searching for bellows -


    2 years ago

    Should you make a note of which of the folds are hills, and which are valleys ?

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    It is not really necessary, Once you start folding it is pretty obvious which is which