How to Make a Paper Laptop


Children seem to be drawn to technology, but supplying little ones with the latest gadgets and toys can be both a waste of money and a lesson in frustration. Even more troubling, technology like computer equipment and handhelds are an ever growing problem in landfills. Use your imagination and the resources around you to create recycled paper gadgets to give your child another option. Their own versions of your office tools can be not only a fun craft to do together and a way to encourage imagination but a way to keep peanut buttery fingers off your keyboard, and another outgrown gadget out of the landfill.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard rectangle
  • Cardboard scrap
  • Markers
  • School glue
  • Pen knife
  • Scissors
  • Foam paper
  • Duct tape

Make Your Laptop

  • Find a suitable piece of thick cardstock or cardboard in your recycle bin. The cardboard should be a rectangle and folded about 12 inches long. Blank cardboard works best, although printing on the cardboard can be covered with paint later.

  • Score the cardboard carefully with a sharp knife width wise down the center, so the rectangle can be folded in half easily, if using corrugated cardboard. Fold the cardboard and trim to make the sides even.

  • Use small cardboard squares or foam paper squares to create keyboard buttons. Have your child write the alphabet on the keys with a marker. Arrange them in alphabetical or qwerty order on the inside of the laptop. Glue in place with school glue. Add picture keys for young children, such as one for a dog or one for mom.

  • Make a screen for your paper laptop by drawing a rounded edged rectangle on the top half of the cardboard. Fill in the screen using black or white paint. Print out a screen shot from a real computer for a more realistic screen, and glue it in place. If your child wants a changing screen, glue a small pad of paper to the rectangle.

  • Reinforce the fold with duct tape as it becomes necessary. Add cardboard accessories, a mouse or a printer as your child's cardboard office grows. The only limits are your child's imagination and the depth of your recycle bin.

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  • Photo Credit recycle image by Mitarart from cardboard box image by MAXFX from laptop image by Jorge Figueiredo from keyboard image by Andrey Kurehin from Paper Pad image by chas53 from usb mouse image by Photoeyes from
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