Cold, windy, rainy weather.
Two bored children.
A whole heap of cardboard tubes.
What do you do with these three items???
Make a cool DIY cardboard tube construction toy!
This simple DIY construction set slots together to make all kinds of funky cardboard shapes and sculptures. You can build a one off piece of art to display on the shelf, or take it apart and build something new.
To make your cardboard tube construction set you’ll need:
- Cardboard tubes
- A ruler
- Paint and brushes (optional)
We’d been collecting cardboard tubes for quite a while and had a whole heap. The more you can collect the more you can build, but it’s easy to add extra pieces to the set as you collect more cardboard tubes.
Start by cutting the tubes into smaller pieces. We cut some of the tubes into pieces 5 cms long, and some into pieces 10 cms long. Try to be as accurate as you can when cutting the pieces, but don’t worry too much. My nine year old cut our pieces and some of them are a bit wonky, but they still work fine.
Next you need to cut small slots into the top and bottom of each tube.
Use a ruler to make approximate marks on all four side of the tube and cut a narrow slot at each mark. Then turn it over and do the same on the bottom. The slots don’t need to be very wide, just the width of the cardboard, and again, it doesn’t matter too much if you are not perfect.
Now you can see how the pieces will slot together.
You can leave the tubes plain and just build with them as they are, or you can add some colour!
We used our favourite fluro water colour paints to add some colour to our construction set, because it’s easy to use and dries really fast, and then we had a pile of brightly coloured pieces to build with!
Slot the tubes together to make towers, or scultptures, or whatever you can imagine!
The kids have had loads of fun building and rebuilding their cardboard tube constructions.
We’ve decided we need more pieces so we can build a really big sculpture, so we have started collecting tubes again!
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
Kate L says
These are so awesome!! Love it!
These upcycled blocks are so awesome! I added them to my “Best Blocks for Kids”
I just wanted to say a big big thank you for all the resources on this blog! My parents have just become foster carers for a little girl who’s been in hospital with an eating disorder. She’s also just broken up for the summer holidays and we had no idea how to plan a summer of fun activities that weren’t too strenuous or active as she is very weak still. Anyway, point is, your posts are full of amazing ideas that have just saved us from a stressful/boring summer. Thank you again!
You are very welcome! I hope you have a lovely relaxing summer with lots of love and healing for all.
Woman of the House says
My husband had a plastic set when he was a child and our kids used to play with them when we visited Grandma and Grandpa. I was sorry to learn they got rid of them a few years ago when they downsized, but now my grandkids and I can make our own! I never thought to use cardboard tubes. Great idea!
Quirky Homemaker says
I think these are cute and colorful and will keep kids busy in so many ways! I’ve featured it in a roundup post of cardboard tube crafts for kids here: http://www.heartfeltbalancehandmadelife.com/2017/05/18-colorful-fun-cardboard-tube-crafts.html
Hope you have a great weekend! Thanks for the inspiration!