How to Make a Tractor Out of Cardboard

If you have a tractor fanatic at home, an afternoon spent making a cardboard tractor will be well worth the effort. It only takes three cardboard boxes, a few empty cans and some craft supplies to make your little one a kid-sized version of a big green farm machine. Work on the project together and let your little farmer help design the inside of the cab.

Make a cardboard tractor for a farm-themed birthday party. (Image: Elena Elisseeva/Hemera/Getty Images)

Things You'll Need

  • Large rectangular cardboard box

  • Utility knife

  • Square cardboard box

  • Ruler

  • Pencil

  • Spray primer

  • Empty paper towel roll

  • 2 empty tin cans

  • Empty oats container

  • Black spray paint

  • Large cardboard box

  • Scissors

  • Dinner plate

  • 2 cans green spray paint

  • Yellow acrylic paint

  • Duct tape

  • Sponge paintbrush

  • Hot glue gun

  • Hot glue sticks

Step 1

Lay the rectangular box on the ground on one of the long sides. Tape the box so the only open end is one of the short ends. Cut the flaps off of the open side with a utility knife.

Step 2

Take the square box and tape the top closed. Cut the flaps off of the bottom of the box so that it is open.

Step 3

Use a ruler and pencil to draw windows on three sides of the square box. You will want to leave at least 2 inches between the window and the edge of the box so it will not collapse. Cut along the lines with a utility knife and remove the cardboard.

Step 4

Place the square box on top of the rectangular box. Position it towards the back end of the rectangle so it looks like the cab of the tractor. Trace the bottom of the square box with a pencil. Remove the square box.

Step 5

Measure 1 inch inside the traced line and cut it out with a utility knife. If you cut around the traced line, the square box will not be supported. You will need to cut a smaller hole than your traced line. Use your traced line as a guide.

Step 6

Spray the square and rectangular boxes with primer. Let dry.

Step 7

Gather the paper towel roll, tin cans and oats container. Remove the lid from the oats container and set aside. Spray paint all pieces black, including the bottoms of the cans and the oats container. Let dry.

Step 8

Flatten the third box so it is one large piece of cardboard. Place a dinner plate face down on the cardboard and trace around the edge with a pencil. Repeat so you have two circles. Cut the circles out. Trace or freehand draw two circles that measure approximately 18 inches in diameter. Cut the circles out. These are the tractor wheels.

Step 9

Spray the wheels with black spray paint. Let dry.

Step 10

Spray the square and rectangular boxes with green paint. Let dry completely.

Step 11

Pour the yellow acrylic paint into the oats container lid. Use the sponge brush to paint a yellow circle around the tires. Paint the circle about 1 inch from the edge of the tire. Do this for all four tires. Let dry.

Step 12

Paint the bottom of the cans with the yellow paint. Let dry.

Step 13

Place the square box on top of the rectangular box. Position it over the hole you cut earlier. Tape the boxes together on the inside so the tape is not visible.

Step 14

Take a can and place it on the front of the tractor where the headlights go. Trace around the open end of the can with a pencil. Do this for both headlights. Center the bottom of the oats container and the paper towel roll on the top of the rectangular box. The paper towel roll will go closest to the headlights and the oats container closest to the cab window. These are the tractor's exhaust stacks. Cut out all holes with a utility knife.

Step 15

Squirt hot glue around the edge of the headlight holes and place the cans inside the holes. Leave about 1 inch of can protruding from the holes. Squeeze hot glue around the edge of the can and opening to secure. Let dry. Do this for both lights.

Step 16

Spread hot glue inside the hole for the oats container. Turn the container upside down and place approximately 2 inches of the container in the hole. Hold the container until the glue dries. Hot glue the edge of the container to the cardboard to secure. Repeat for the paper towel roll.

Step 17

Hot glue the tires to the sides of the rectangular box. Place the small tires 4 to 5 inches from the front edge, and the large tires 2 inches from the back edge.

Step 18

Add any controls, steering wheel or other details inside the cab that you desire.

Tip

Use yellow duct tape to create pin stripes on the body of the tractor for more detail.

Warning

Use caution when using utility knives and keep them away from children.

References & Resources