Winter days can be cold and dreary but this cardboard winter castle will transport you to a colorful winter wonderland! Inspired by so many fun cardboard treehouses I saw on Instagram, I decided to create one of my own with a colorful twist and a winter theme!
This project is great for repurposing not only cardboard shipping boxes but lots of other recycled containers as well. Get ready to make your own cardboard winter castle by gathering your materials and any little folks you want to get creative with.
For the castle:
- Cardboard: flat pieces from shipping boxes, tubes (toilet paper, paper towels, wrapping paper)
- Other recycled containers: egg cartons, cylinders (oats and/or chip containers)
- Empty ribbon spools
- Nut cups (optional)
- String or ribbon
- Wooden bead
- Small sticks/twigs
- Kraft paper tape
Tools (see my list of go-to Tools):
- Glue gun
- X-acto knife or other tool for more precise cardboard cutting
- Paper cutter
- Glue (tacky glue, glue sticks)
- Cotton batting
- Cotton balls
- Pom poms, in a variety of sizes
- Trim (i.e. ball fringe)
- Scrapbook paper
Make your cardboard Treehouse
Build Your Structure
First, make the base. Cut a piece of flat cardboard to your desired size. Mine was about 24″ x 18″ which allowed for the castle and the winter play area.
Next, build the A-frame treehouse.
Treehouse columns: Cut three tubes (wrapping paper or paper towel tubes work well) to equal heights (12″ works well).
A-frame treehouse: Cut three pieces of flat cardboard: a rectangle for the base and two taller rectangles for the sides. Use kraft paper tape and your glue gun to secure the three pieces of cardboard together in a triangle shape.
Use hot glue to glue the columns to the bottom of the A-frame treehouse structure then use more hot glue to glue the bottom of the columns to the large cardboard base.
Now it’s time to build your cardboard winter wonderland! Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Skating pond: Use a pencil to freehand draw a pond shape onto flat cardboard. Cut out and glue to the cardboard base
Igloo: Start with an empty container of oats. Draw an opening on the front and cut out (see photo for reference). Glue the oatmeal container onto the large cardboard base.
Bridge: Cut a length of flat cardboard to your desired length. Glue small sticks lengthwise across the cardboard until the whole piece is covered. Trim the ends of the sticks as needed. Glue a toilet paper roll (or two, depending on the length of your bridge) to the bottom of the stick covered cardboard with hot glue. Finally, hot glue the other end of the toilet paper tube to the cardboard base.
Swing: Punch holes in each of the four corners of your swing (an egg carton cup or a small nut cup works well). Cut 4 equal lengths of string, about 12″ long, and tie one string through each of the holes. Punch a hole in the floor of your treehouse where you want the swing to be. Feed the four strings through the hole in the floor and then through a large wooden bead. Knot all of the strings together on top of the wooden bead.
Let your materials inspire your Winter Wonderland. You can build multi-level platforms using different combinations of flat cardboard, tubes, as well as empty ribbons spools. Cut individual cups from egg cartons to make more swings, chairs, and sleds. Use your imagination and secure everything with plenty of hot glue!
Paint & Embellish
Once your structure is complete, it’s time to bring it to life.
Paint: Cardboard is fairly porous and requires multiple coats of paint if you’re looking for an opaque finish. Craft store acrylic paints work well and offer a great variety of colors. Paint your winter wonderland as desired and allow to dry.
Wallpaper: Covering the walls and floor of the A-frame treehouse with scrapbook paper “wallpaper” is a great way to bring in more color and pattern. Use a liquid glue or Mod Podge to attach the paper to the interior of the treehouse walls and floor.
Add Snow: Glue cotton batting and cotton balls wherever you want snow on your Winter Wonderland. Small pom poms make great snowballs.
Trim: Add textile trim around the A-frame of the treehouse and the door and roof of the igloo.
Glitter: Use a paintbrush to spread wet glue wherever you want to add glitter. On top of the skating pond, the igloo, and the roof of the treehouse are all great spots. Adding different sizes and textures of glitter is a great way to add sparkle and interest.
Time To Play
Add a few play figures and enjoy your Winter Wonderland!