How to Make a Toy Laptop from Cardboard

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Use cardboard to make a laptop for kids to play with.
Use cardboard to make a laptop for kids to play with. (Image: Cardboard abstract background texture image by Scott Latham from Fotolia.com)

If you wonder why kids play with the box the toy came in instead of the toys, it's because the box allows more room for imagination and creativity. You can make hundreds of other toys and models of real-life objects from cardboard. Making cardboard models of toys is safer than allowing children to play with the real things, especially when it comes to your laptop. A laptop made of cardboard allows small children to pretend to have jobs and act like adults, without damaging our real-life laptops that contain hundreds of important documents, pictures and information.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Utility knife
  • Duct tape
  • Wood glue
  • Old newspaper
  • Spray paint
  • Artist's paintbrush
  • Acrylic paint
  • Permanent marker

Collect several large cardboard boxes or sheets of cardboard to ensure you have large-enough pieces for cutting out the large pieces of the cardboard laptop. Use a pencil and ruler to draw three pieces that measure 13 inches long by 9 inches wide. For the vertical part of the laptop, draw two long, skinny strips that measure 13 inches long by 1 inch wide, and two more strips that measure 9 inches by 1 inch.

Cut the cardboard pieces out with a utility knife. Score the cardboard several times by running the utility knife carefully across the cutting lines repeatedly. Once the cardboard is nearly cut completely through, make the final cut by poking the blade down through the cardboard and dragging the knife through the cutting line.

Assemble a box shape from the four narrow strips and two of the 13-inch by 9-inch pieces. Start by laying one of the 13-inch by 9-inch pieces flat on the table. Set each narrow strip flat on the table and butted against the matched length of the 13-inch by 9-inch piece. Apply duct tape over the seams between each of these pieces, leaving a very tiny gap between the pieces.

Turn the cardboard pieces over and fold the strips up to stand perfectly vertical from the bottom piece of the cardboard laptop. When you fold the pieces up, the tape holds the pieces into place and the pieces butt together to create three-dimensional corners. Apply tape to the corners to hold the strips upright and create the corner shapes.

Apply wood glue to all the inside corners of the cardboard laptop bottom. Apply glue around the bottom edges of the 13-inch by 9-inch piece and into the vertical seams of each corner. Allow the glue to dry for an hour before proceeding.

Set one of the remaining 13-inch by 9-inch pieces on top of the opening in the cardboard structure created in the previous steps. Use duct tape to completely cover the seams between the top piece and the side pieces of the cardboard laptop.

Lay the final piece of cardboard, measuring 13 inches by 9 inches, over top of the box you created in the previous steps. Tape this last piece to the box, along one edge. After taped, pull the cardboard piece up and apply another length of tape on the interior side of the flap to prevent this piece from coming loose easily.

Take the completed cardboard structure out into your yard and lay pieces of old newspaper onto the ground. Spray all sides of the cardboard laptop with white, gray or black spray paint. Allow the paint to dry before proceeding to the following steps.

Use an artist's paintbrush, acrylic paint and a permanent marker to draw the keyboard onto the cardboard laptop. Reference the keyboard on your real laptop or your desktop computer, and draw the pretend keyboard onto the cardboard laptop, under the top flap that serves as the closeable laptop screen.

Paint or draw slots and connection ports on the sides of the cardboard laptop. In addition, open the top flap of the laptop and draw any design or images you want to include on the laptop screen. On the back of the top flap, you may decorate or make your own logo for the cardboard laptop.

Tips & Warnings

  • Laptops have gotten significantly thinner over the years. Instead of creating a large box, you may want to simplify the procedure by just using two pieces of cardboard for the body of the laptop -- one for the horizontal base and one for the vertical screen. Connect them using a duct tape hinge and embellish them as desired.

References

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