How to make a car track using recycled cardboard

We sometimes underestimate what we can do with materials tossed in our recycling bin
Learn more below See suggested materials

We sometimes underestimate what we can do with materials tossed in our recycling bin. With some imagination and (crucially) some cardboard, I'll show you how to earn the title of "World’s Greatest Parents" with this DIY family project.

Project by: Chloé Comte

MATERIALS:

  • Used thick cardboard
  • Lead pencil
  • Utility knife
  • Ruler
  • Posca pencils (black): 0.7 mm, 1 mm, 3 mm and 15 mm
  • Cutting mat
  • Washi tape (matte black)
  • Decorative Washi tape (black lines)

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Step 1

Using the lead pencil, draw roads measuring 3 inches wide and 5 inches long on the cardboard.

Step 2

Cut out your roads. You can either cut them into puzzle piece shapes or make simple straight lines.

Step 3

To decorate your roads, you can either use Washi tape or Posca markers, depending on the look you want.

 

Step 4

To make tunnels, draw your track on a pre-folded part of your cardboard. Otherwise, draw your road and fold your cardboard using a metal ruler after slightly carving the cardboard with a retractable blade.

Step 5

Close the tunnels with Washi tape and decorate them using the paint markers.

Step 6

To create rows of houses, draw small house shapes in pencil on your cardboard. Make sets of 3 or 5 houses. Trace over your houses with paint marker and decorate them.

Step 7

Cut out your houses along their outlines and accordian-fold the cardboard between each house. Your track is finished! All you have left to do is assemble it and add road signs to enhance the play area!

Tricks and tips

  • To save time, I make the longest possible 3-inch-wide roads on my cardboard. I decorate them first and cut them out afterwards.
  • Puzzle-shaped roads are a bit more complicated to make, but they will hold together better during play.
  • To easily fold thick cardboard, just make a thin, straight line with your X-Acto (cut just on the surface) and fold the cardboard with a ruler.