3 Easy Holiday Cardboard Crafts

Eleanor King

This time of year, the arrival of gifts can leave a pile of cardboard in its wake. Upcycle those boxes with three easy holiday crafts that add homemade touches to your holiday decor. 

3D Cardboard Dreidel


Materials

  • Medium cardboard box
  • Scissors 
  • Hot glue (for parent use only)
  • Small dowel rod or skewer 
  • Non-toxic paint in white and blue
  • Paintbrush 
  • String for ornament (optional)

Instructions

1. Breakdown and cut the cardboard box into large pieces. 

2. Using a pencil or marker, trace the shape above onto your cardboard. To get even squares, trace a square item in your house that matches the size you want to make or cut out a square template. Draw long triangles below the four boxes next to each other.

3. Cut out the shape, making sure not to bend the cardboard too much. Once fully cut out, bend along the joints of the shape, where the lines in between each box and triangle meet. Poke a small hole in the middle of the top box that is above the other four. 

4. Fold the dreidel into the shape by folding down the top and folding in the sides. Then fold in the bottom triangles so that all of the open edges meet. If the bottom triangles are too long, trim them to make them more even. 

5. Glue along the edges and let dry completely before painting the dreidel white. Let the paint dry. 

6. Using the blue paint, add the Hebrew letters Nun, Gimel, Hey, and Shin, pictured on the left. Let dry.

7. Optional: Tie a piece of string around the wooden stick or dowel to hang or simply play dreidel!

3D Cardboard Christmas Tree


Materials

  • Medium cardboard box
  • Scissors 
  • Hot glue (for parent use only)
  • Non-toxic paint in green, red, and white
  • Paintbrush 
  • String for ornament (optional)

Instructions

1. Breakdown and cut the cardboard box into large pieces. Cut two rectangular pieces of cardboard the same height and width. The height should be at least twice the width.

2. Using a pencil or marker, trace the shape of a Chrimas tree on the first piece of cardboard. An easy way to make a Christmas tree shape is to use a cut-out triangle piece of cardboard and layer the triangles on top of each other. Make sure the bottom of the tree is flat, no stump. Cut out the first tree. Using the cut out tree shape, trace the tree onto the other piece of cardboard and cut out.

3. Cut one of the two trees down the middle. Glue the two side pieces to the center of the whole tree, facing outward. Make sure to line up the bottom of the tree pieces so that it can stand on its own. 

4. Once glue is completely dry, paint the tree green and let dry. Paint on red and white ornaments and let try. 

5. Optional: If making into an ornament to hang, punch a small whole on both sides of the center of the glued on pieces. Run a string through these and tie. 

Large Cardboard Star (5- and 6-pointed)


Materials: 

  • Large cardboard box
  • Scissors 
  • Hot glue (for parent use only)
  • White string or yarn (approximately 8–10 feet)
  • Ornaments (medium and/or small) 
  • Stiff fabric or ribbons 

Directions: 

  1. Breakdown and cut the cardboard box into large pieces. Depending on the number of points your star will have, cut either five or six 24 inch by 2 inch strips of cardboard.
  2. Glue the pieces of cardboard into a star shape. 
    1. For five-pointed stars, inter-weave the pieces so that only two are on the same plane. This will make the star more sturdy and the pieces lie flat. (See image below.) The corners should overlap.
    2. For six-pointed stars, glue three pieces of cardboard together in a triangle shape. Repeat with the other three pieces. The corners should overlap. Place one triangle upside down on top of the other triangle and glue together. 
  3. Let the glue dry completely. Cut the corners of the star into points. Wrap the star with string or yarn, making sure to cover any cardboard. Start at one point and wrap around the star, avoiding too many long crossed pieces of string or yarn. Wrap the corners well and go over places that might need it. Depending on the type of string or yarn you use, you might need upwards of 10 feet to cover the entire star. Make sure to glue the starting point of the string and the end piece of the string to the cardboard.
  4. Decorate the inner corners of the star with ornaments and bows made with ribbon by either tying or glueing them on. This can be done in whichever way you find suits you best, based on the supplies you have and the type of decoration you want.