Archive for the ‘Cardboard Forts’ Category
06 Sep

Playful Factory: Winners of the Cardboard Forts

Congratulations to the winners!

Weekly Free Toy Giveaway

The randomly ( chosen winner of the Cardboard Castle from Joe's Toy Box is Kylee. We hope you enjoy your free toy. Visit Joe's Toy Box to see if they have anything else you might want to get. (please email us your mailing address so we can send you your free toy.)

Weekly Design Winner

The winning design for this week is Cardboard City by Icy-Blue. We really like the possibilities of this concept... being able to make buildings, streets, trees, cars, people, etc. This design is now entered to be one of the options for our monthly toy design to be made into a real toy at the Playful Factory. Read more about the details of our design process and see how you can get more involved here. Great work everybody and thanks for participating. A big thanks to Joe's Toy Box for the sponsored giveaway. Look out for the new project launch later today!
04 Sep

Playful Factory: Cardboard Fort DIY Toy Tutorial

Ikea Accordion Wall

(kind of feels like I am blogging for Ikea Hacker) This toy wall can be used for many things; forts, art projects, mini room dividers, etc... It can also be made into a kid-sized drafting table. DIFFICULTY: 15% TIME: 01h 17m 37s MONEY: $$$$$ MATERIALS:
  • Triangle shipping tubes. They have these for free at Ikea in front of the store at the loading area. You can make your own from a flat sheet of cardboard. Any shipping supply store would also have triangle shipping tubes.
  • Strong tape. I prefer masking tape, because it takes paint really well.
  • Chalkboard or whiteboard paint. (You will also need brushes if you do not get the spray can paints)
  • INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Prepare triangle tubes. Line them all up to see how many tubes you wanted to use. This will determine the length of your wall. (We used twelve) 2. Take each triangle tube and tape it shut for stability. 3. Attach each of the triangle tubes to each other, ensuring that you are creating one side with peaks and valleys and other with a flat surface. It may help to tape both sides of each connection point to secure the connection. 4. Paint the flat side using whiteboard or chalkboard paint. We also used "magnet" primer under the chalkboard paint so that we will be able to hang stuff up with magnets) 5. Get creative on the peaks and valleys side and paint it how ever you would like. We decided to just do a quick whitewash to cover up the Ikea print... This way we can color and that side and repaint over it for very cheap. 6. Enjoy your new cardboard toy!


    This is a little bonus instruction on making your wall into a table. 1. Take a serrated knife or small saw and cut a straight line in each peak. (Might help to mark each peak first and then cut) 2. Cut two strips of cardboard the height that you would like your table to be (we cut ours to be 12" high) 3. Run the strips through the cuts and secure in place. Now you have a kid-sized drawing table. Try it, send pictures and let us know how it goes! (Thanks Eewee and Icy-Blue for making this fort with me and thanks to their parents for letting me post this. We had fun!)
    03 Sep

    Playful Factory: Win a Free Cardboard Castle from Joes Toy Box

    King's Castle Playhouse

    This week we are excited to announce that you could win your very own free cardboard fort! Joes Toy Box is offering a King's Castle Playhouse as this weeks free toy giveaway. This jumbo castle is perfect for fun imaginative play. Made of white corrugated cardboard it is easy to assemble, lightweight and large enough for 2 or more children. Grab your crayons, markers or paints and design what your cardboard kingdom looks like. Dimensions: 50"x50"x40"

    Giveaway Details

    To enter this giveaway, you must participate in this weeks design process. It's easy, just add research images, safety tips, sketches, or prototypes as a comment to one of the posts this week and you will be entered to win this free toy giveaway. To increase you odds of winning; participate more in the design process, subscribe to get email updates, or like us on our new facebook page. Read more details about our giveaways here. Playful Factory will draw a winner randomly Monday, September 6th. This giveaway includes free shipping to addresses in the US. Good luck!
    02 Sep

    Playful Factory: Cardboard Fort Design Concepts

    We have been having fun making cardboard fort designs. Here are few of our favorites as inspiration for you...

    Triangle Trouble

    Details: Multiple triangle FedEx shipping boxes taped together to make a shape changing wall. Put in a semi-circle against the wall and you have got a pretty secure fort.

    Light Box

    Details: This one is simple... Artistically poke holes in different shapes and sizes. Put a light inside and turn off the lights outside. Fun rays of light will shoot out of the box. You can even tell scary stories inside.


    Details: Cut holes in the sides of boxes and connect the boxes together using cardboard tubes (from wrapping paper, etc...). This could make many different types of forts.

    Your Turn

    We know that you have some ideas. Let's see your designs. Feel free to draw a sketch, make a model, or simply describe your idea. To attach an image it must be .jpg and smaller than 1000pixels x 1000pixels. If you need help, just send us the picture and we can put it up. info [@] playfulfactory [dot] com
    01 Sep

    Playful Factory: Are Cardboard Toys Safe???

    Cardboard would seem to be a rather low-risk material for making toys. The truth is, it is a relatively safe material for making toys. Even though it is a lower risk material there are still some pretty serious precautions that need to be taken. Many of these tips come from

    Age Range

    We suggest 3-7 years old. This could probably be lower because there is not much of a choking hazard, but it seems the younger kids struggle to grasp that the cardboard is unstable. Frequently they trust the cardboard to support them like a solid wall would. This can cause minor to serious injury

    Development Level

    Cardboard is perfect for kids starting to explore with imaginative play. With a marker you can quickly and inexpensively help them turn a box into just about anything. As a reference lists under the imagination milestones for a 3 year old, that they start to:
  • Use one object to represent another
  • Use symbolic toys (barn) in pretend play
  • Use a doll/puppet to participate in play
  • Sounds like the perfect stage of development for some cardboard boxes!

    Product Weight

    Cardboard is very lightweight and so there should not be to large of an issue if your fort happens to tip over. However, if multiple people are playing with the fort it likely that it could tip over onto one child with the other child's weight on top of it. Just be aware that tipping over does happen.


    There are a lot of companies that make and sell cardboard toys. There are even more folks out there making their own cardboard toys. Use good materials. We recommend double walled corrugated cardboard, because it is durable yet flexible. We would also recommend reinforcing all joints with tape.


    Falling - Kids like to climb and may try to get on top of cardboard. The good thing is that most cardboard will simply collapse, but it can hurt trying. Just be aware of this and do not make it easy for your kid to climb, like placing cardboard stairs in your fort. Paper cuts - The nature of working with anything paper is that you might rub the paper the wrong way and get sliced. With cardboard you can help prevent this by always folding over the exposed edges. Hazards - when using recycled cardboard we recommend you clean the cardboard by removing all existing staples, tape, etc. A lot of cardboard has some hidden extras that could really hurt if not removed. Also beware... cardboard is very flammable.
    Most importantly, as the parent you get to make a judgment call of, is my child ready for this toy. Get some cardboard out and experiment with it before you make hand it over to your kid to play with. Try scoring, cutting, folding, gluing, just to see how the material reacts. This way you can also be the pro that teaches you kid(s) best practices. And please please have fun!

    Design Tips

    Cutting - An exacto knife and cutting board is probably the easiest way to cut cardboard. There are professional services that will do the cutting for you if you have a CAD file. Ponoko does this and has some design you can purchase or use as inspiration on their site. Here is some cool stuff people have made using Ponoko's services. Joints - For the joints, we recommend notching and reinforcing with tape. If you must glue, remember to use a non-toxic glue. Folding - Folding cardboard is much easier to do along the "grain" of the corrugation. It is also helpful to depress cardboard along the line you want to fold with a solid object (sharpie cap works great). We hope these tips are helpful. What tips do you have? What are some of your experiences working with cardboard?
    31 Aug

    Playful Factory: 15 Crazy Cool Cardboard Products

    Cardboard is a fun material for building pretty much anything. Because it is so versatile, toys are not the only thing made using cardboard. Below I have shared 15 of my favorite crazy cool things made with cardboard. If you find any cool products made form cardboard please post them as a comment. We can use our collection of products as inspiration for the cardboard forts we are going to be designing later this week. ^ Rock-n-Roll Bookshelves by Sergej Gerasimenko on ($195) ^ Room Dividers by Enzo Mari found on ^ Modular Room Divider by MIO found on ^ Shark Car and a Cardboard TV (cool for puppet shows!) by Ben Blanc's Studio found on ^ Astro Rocket by Cardboard Safari's found on ^ Office by Paul Coudamy found on ^ Wallpockets by Ampersand found on ^ Baby Feeding Chair by Belkiz Freedwayfound on ^ CardBike by Phil Bridge ^ Innovative Packaging by Patrick Sung found on ^ Cat Scratching Tower by Moderncat Studios found on ^ Play Washer and Dryer by Forty Two Road found on ^ Cardboard Shelves by RecycleBox found on ^ Not a Box by Antionette Portis found on A great book to find more ideas for what a box can become.
    30 Aug

    Playful Factory Project Launch: Cardboard Forts

    Cardboard forts are one of the most innate toys ever... Have you ever seen a kid open a gift with a nice toy inside only later find the kid playing with the box the gift came in instead of the toy. It is because they love to use their imagination and mentally turn the box into whatever toy they want it to be. Many toy designers have taken the basics of a cardboard box and added their little twist to make a wonderful cardboard fort. Some are folded, decorated, cut, glued, etc... The options are limitless. This week you can design your very own cardboard fort. Use the follow cardboard forts as inspiration and start think of what kind of fort you want. Add any research images you might have as a comment or simply let us know which one is your favorite. ^ Rocket and Pod by PaperPod found on ($60) ^ Castle and Teepee by Calafant found on ($30) ^ Polyhedral House by Nume found on ^ YooDo by Offi found on Polyhedral House by Nume found on ^ Villa Julia by Javier Mariscal found on ($350) ^ Whimsical Cottage and Country Barn by Joes Toy Box on ($60)