Cardboard Clubhouse

by Ben N on July 17, 2012

The other day, I was working on a rainwater collection project. The 275 gallon container I was using came in a cardboard box, which I had to remove. Right away, the little girl came running over the play with it.

When I was a kid, the best toy ever was a refridgerator box. It was HUGE and could be modified with nothing more than one of the kitchen steak knives to make doors, windows, awnings, and more.

So, instead of just recycling the cardboard, why not build a clubhouse for the little girl?

This project started off as just a “let’s not waste this” and snowballed all the way into a two-story clubhouse with a cardboard ladder and even a cardboard slide!

I stacked one box on top of the other, and zip-tied them together. A cordless drill was a great way to make holes fast for the zip-ties. I roofed the top with a recycled clear plastic as a skylight. Since it was two stories, I needed to make a ladder. Part of the packaging I had removed included heavy cardboard tubes. I quickly got to work cutting the tubes and connecting them together to make the cardboard tube ladder.

What’s the point of two stories and a ladder? It’s fun to go upstairs, but where to go from there?! The little girl loved climbing up the ladder, but didn’t like climbing back down it. Could I make a SLIDE from cardboard too? I was willing to give it a shot.

Rather than making that part COMPLETELY out of cardboard, I first built a simple wood frame from 2×4 lumber. All the rest was cardboard.

So, instead of a stack of cardboard sitting in the recycling bin, the Little Girl has one more fun thing to play with, right in her own backyard.


PS: I designed the playhouse to be able to hold my weight. I went and sat upstairs and went down the slide before the Little Girl got a chance to. If it holds up to my 180 lbs, I think it will hold a toddler just fine!

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Cardboard Cellphone Case
November 12, 2012 at 12:04 pm

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 David December 2, 2012 at 10:47 am

Waterproofing? Anchoring? Just wondering. Of course, this made me wonder about building a cardboard wading pool… ;-)

2 Ben N. December 2, 2012 at 11:38 am

Not water-proofed or anchored. You would be surprised how heavy and solid this thing is. It’s not going to blow away.

We had a major drought this summer. VERY little rain at all total. When we did get any rain the plastic skylight roof keeps a surprising amount of water off.

I took down the clubhouse at the end of summer. There was a bit of peeling of the cardboard from rain and humidity, but it was still very solid (could hold my weight no problem.) I disassembled the clubhouse, and took the cardboard to the recycling center just like I would have before, except that we temporarily diverted it to the back yard for a few months as a club house.

The only “waste” from the whole project was the plastic zip-ties.

If you put construction plastic into a big cardboard box, you would have a wading pool. Use black plastic for a solar-heated pool!

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