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How to Turn a Box Into a Fake Time Machine

Make moving fun by transforming your cardboard boxes into time machines.
David Sacks/Lifesize/Getty Images

First "invented" by the popular cartoon character, Calvin from Calvin and Hobbs, the cardboard box time machine is a wonderful way to get young crafter's imaginations flowing. Create your own cardboard box time machine for hours of creative fun. Use household items to embellish your time machine and let your young crafter suggest color schemes and decorations they want on the time machine. Obtain a really big box so there is lots of space inside for friends and toys.

Things You'll Need:

  • Craft Knife
  • Big Cardboard Box
  • Silver Spray Paint
  • White Glue
  • Old Yogurt, Margarine, Cream Cheese Containers Or Other Plastic Containers
  • Aluminium Foil
  • 2 Coat Hangers
  • 2 Toilet Rolls
  • Pliers
  • Masking Tape

Dab the outside of your box with white glue and cover with aluminium foil. Stick the corners and edges down securely.

Spray plastic containers silver and attach them to the front as headlights. Use a craft knife to cut holes in the front and sides for windows. The front of your spaceship should be one of the narrow sides of the box, so your crafter can see out of the windshield when sitting down.

Use the craft knife to cut off the lid flaps. Cut one of the small flaps to size and glue it to the inside of the box on the front (just under the windscreen), and two sides, so it forms a shelf inside the box. Decorate the top with dials and buttons to act as the console of the flying machine. Cut triangles from the big sides and tape these to the sides of the box as wings.

Make antennae by bending open a coat hanger with pliers. Curl the ends of antennae over so they don't scratch or poke. Bend the coat hanger into any shape antennae you like. Tape the antennae to the side of the space ship.

Spray cardboard toilet roll tubes silver and cut 1/2-inch notches around one side. Bend the notches 90 degrees, then use them to glue the rolls to the back of your time machine. These blasters power the time machine through wormholes.


Use an array of materials to embellish your time machine. Streamers, stickers, tinsel and flags are good decorations. Cut round windows and stick on an old plastic gold fish bowl to make a bubble window. Use old dials, switches, calculators, joy sticks and steering wheels from broken toys for the console. Place old maps and star charts into the time machine to aid with navigation. Tape plastic water guns to the sides as blasters to fend off enemy aliens.

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