How to Make a City Skyline From Cardboard

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Use cardboard boxes to make a city skyline.
Use cardboard boxes to make a city skyline. (Image: David Sacks/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Using waste products to make new products, or upcycling, is a fun way to make use of cardboard boxes. Children are often more entertained by the box a toy came in than the toy. Large boxes are especially exciting for children, who turn them into play houses. Many crafts and projects can also be made from cardboard, including a city skyline made from small boxes attached to a base.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Paints
  • Paint brushes
  • Ruler
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Box cutter

Collect small narrow boxes of all shapes and sizes to use as buildings. Boxes for toothpaste, medicine, pasta and contact solution are the perfect size. If you do not have small boxes, cut down cereal boxes or larger cardboard and tape two corner pieces together. If using cereal boxes or other boxes with flaps, leave part of the top flap attached and tape it down to make the roof. Tape another piece to the bottom.

Paint the boxes with acrylic paint if they have glossy surfaces. Any paints will work well on brown cardboard.

Cover all buildings with black paint if creating a skyline silhouette against a night sky. Once the paint is dry, paint yellow windows to indicate lights on in buildings.

Choose lighter grays and whites and paint squared windows for a daytime skyline. Measure lines to make the lines for windows parallel. If painting the skyline with children, encourage them to be creative in their use of color.

Use a thin, sturdy box for a foundation. Glue the painted boxes where you want your buildings, arranging them in straight lines if you want your city on a grid. Place taller boxes next to shorter boxes for an interesting skyline.

Create a backdrop from a large piece of sturdy cardboard cut to match the width of the foundation and your desired height. Paint a day or night sky or use construction paper to cover the backdrop.

Glue the backdrop to the back of the foundation. Add details such as trees, lampposts and people.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use precaution when cutting with a box cutter. Always turn the blade out and cut away from yourself.

References

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