If you’re building a set for a play that takes place on an island paradise, adding a tiki hut as one of the props helps the audience immediately realize the setting and get in a tropical mood. You don’t need a large budget to make a realistic looking tiki hut. Make the basic structure from cardboard, using a few other supplies.
Turn a refrigerator box on its side so the length is longer than the height. Use packing tape to seal any open areas of the box. Your results should make the empty box appear shut on all ends. Remove the panel that's facing towards the ceiling in the room, as the box faces lengthwise, by slicing through it with a utility knife.
Keep the box in the same position after removing the top panel. Attach one empty cardboard carpet tube in each of the four corners. Use tubes of an appropriate length based on how tall you want the tiki hut. Apply a layer of urethane glue on the bottom 6 inches of the tube and stick it inside the interior corners. You can find urethane glue at hardware stores.
Begin the construction of the tiki hut's roof. Measure the distance between the four tubes. Draw the outline of a trapezoid with a base that’s as long as the measurement plus 6 inches. The height should be the distance between the front and back tubes. Cut out the outline with a utility knife. Trace around that outline to create another cardboard piece of the same size.
Lean the two trapezoid shapes so that their top edges touch. Position them at an angle that’s wide enough to fit over the cardboard tubes once it’s in position. Apply a coat of urethane glue to the point where the edges touch. Use “C” clamps to hold it together while the glue dries.
Measure the dimension of the empty shapes on either side of the trapezoids so you can create the side pieces of the roof. Draw the dimensions onto a piece of cardboard. Cut out the two pieces and attach with urethane glue, completing the roof.
Pick up the cardboard roof and place it so the four cardboard tubes rest on the interior, providing support. You can glue the cardboard tubes to the roof or leave it unattached for easy moving during the play.
Decorate the cardboard tiki hut in the way you desire. Paint the basic structure. Attach raffia or palm leaves to the outside until you cover the cardboard.
A cardboard tiki hut is not meant to take the place of a wooden tiki hut. Cardboard is not sturdy so do not lean on the sides or place heavy materials on the roof.
Perform any gluing of the hut in a well-ventilated area to avoid fume inhalation.