DiY Cardboard Castle by a 5 Year Old with a Glue Gun

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Kids Can Build a DiY Cardboard CastleMuch encouraged by Teacher Tom, I decided it was time to turn Maia on to the joys of the hot glue gun.

Here’s the result:

A fantastic, colorful DiY cardboard castle!

Granted she’s been wanting to make a castle for a while now (ever since she saw this one over my shoulder).

Next time, who know’s what she’ll make with the glue gun?


As set up, I pulled our two studio tables together back to back to make a bigger work surface (we didn’t really need the extra space though), covered them with our splat mat, and brought out our supply of cardboard boxes and tubes. Here, Maia is drawing windows on the cardboard box.

Btw, see the curtains? Thanks to your suggestion, I turned them to the back instead of to the front so we can still see the beautiful designs even when they’re not down. I intend to add buttons, but am pinning them for now.


After Maia drew the windows she wanted, I cut them out with an x-acto knife. I’m not really ready to let her wield one herself yet (although she did try a bit, very cautiously).


Maia selected cardboard tubes to use for the corner turrets.


And here, the glue gun! It’s a dual temperature glue gun and I started her out on the lower temperature but then moved it up to the higher temp because it just works easier that way.


Tom is right. Using a glue gun makes it so much more feasible to make cardboard sculptures! The hold and wait time is so short and quick compared to when using white school glue.


Maia decided her castle needed the proper details. Maia drew; I cut. She tried but gave up and asked for help cutting the cardboard.


Gluing the cardboard details on…


The turret toppers (sorry for the inaccurate terms!) are thinner paper towel rolls that were easy to cut and glue onto the thicker wrapping paper cardboard rolls.


Finally, a coat of paint for the castle. I thought she was finished after this, but no.


She decorated her cardboard castle with oil pastels, glitter glue, sequins, and feathers!


The riot of color on the castle reminds me of her “house of color” drawing.


Of course I love it! And Maia is very proud of her work.

Want some more DiY cardboard construction ideas?

Cardboard Construction on The Artful Parent:

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  1. says

    Must get glue gun. I have been meaning to get over to Joanns or Michaels, but haven’t made it. My daughter will love a glue gun. Thank Maia for the inspiration!

  2. Barbara Zaborowski says

    Kudos to you for letting her try the glue gun! And please tell Maia I absolutely love her castle and think maybe I’ll make one for myself.

  3. Rachel says

    oh i love it! how did you manage it w/daphne? during her nap? or when she was out?
    does it matter what kind of glue gun? i’m a glue gun novice but i’d like to get one for justin.

  4. says

    her imagination is flying! i’m impressed with maia’s determination and follow-through. we also love the glue gun, and find that there’s nothing quite like it for building recycled or cardboard structures/sculptures. i have a low-temp gun that i feel really confident about my almost 3-year old using.