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DIY Cardboard Box Bi-Plane {from 1 Box}

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CBIAS Disclosure

When Disney Planes approached me and asked if I could put together a tutorial for a plane-themed holiday activity for my kiddo, I couldn’t resist the idea! So, I put an idea in action and built a DIY Cardboard Box Bi-Plane {from 1 Box}!

Special thanks for sponsoring this post goes to: #PlanesToTheRescue and #CollectiveBias!


I loved putting this together–it went really quick (about an hour, excluding the paint drying) and was very simple, ultimately. But the best part was that my daughter couldn’t WAIT to get into and play with the bi-plane! She literally was antsy-in-her-pantsy to get it and was so impatient…it was too funny!

Cardboard Box Plane Complete


This project was really super easy, but I do wish I’d known beforehand these couple of solid pro-tips:

  1. Start with some inspiration (trust me, this is important). Wondering where I got my inspiration? Look no further than your local Walmart and their Disney Planes Rollback items! These were really great last-minute holiday ideas for my daughter–and the cardboard box bi-plane was really a treat to put together for her, so it was a great combo.
  2. Don’t throw any of the cardboard away until your cardboard box bi-plane is complete! You’ll use every bit.
  3. Don’t use regular tape then try to paint over it! Use cardboard paper tape…then you can paint it just like the cardboard box.
  4. Cut your slits, slots and holes tight, so that things fit together snugly.

Cardboard Box Plane Supplies

What You Need for Your Cardboard Box Bi-Plane:

  • One cardboard box (I recommend an 11×17 paper box…that’s what I used)
  • One center tube from a paper towel roll
  • An exacto knife (although I used a pocket knife my mom lent me…that’s just how I roll)
  • Tape (I recommend paper tape, see Pro-Tip #3)
  • Tape measure, if you’d like to be exact about stuff
  • A straight-edge…if you’d really like to be exact about stuff
  • If you’re painting, you’ll obviously need some paints and brushes. I recommend tempura paints, since they cover well and are washable…just in case you put kiddo in the plane before it’s completely dry…not saying I didn’t maybe do that…
  • Googley eyes if you’re into that kind of thing.

Cardboard Box Plane Propeller

How You Put Together Your Cardboard Box Bi-Plane:

  • Pick a front…that’s important.
  • Trim off:
    • Rear half of each of the long flaps on the top of the box.
    • Front short flap.
    • Inside triangles of the “tail” flap (I believe these are isosceles triangles…not 100% certain though).
      • Tip: cut off one, then use it as a template for the other side, that way they’ll be the same.
  • Cut Slits or Slots (are those the same meaning even?!):
    • In the tail, cut a slit that’s the length of the short-side of the triangle discard piece of the tail (argh! this is hard to explain). It should be offset from the end of the tail by at least an inch, so that the slit is like a hole in the tail, not a split in the tail.
    • In the paper towel roll, cut 2 slits across from each other about a 1/4 of the way from one end of the roll. These holes need to be about an inch long, not hardly more.
    • In each of the long flaps (which you trimmed to be only half their length), cut a 1″ slit mid-way down the long side of the wing, about an inch from the edge.
    • In the discard pieces of the long flaps, cut a 1″ slit mid-way down the long side of the wing, about an inch from the edge.

Cardboard Box Plane Cut Propeller Hole

  • Cut out a hole in the front of the plane about 1/3 of the way from the top. This hole needs to be just exactly the circumference of the paper towel roll. So, hold the paper towel roll up to the spot you’re going to cut, then draw the circle using the paper towel roll…I actually drew the diameter of the paper towel roll over the soon-to-be hole and started by cutting there…it totally made it easier to cut out the hole.
  • Cut 3-1″ strips from the front short flap. Then, cut two of the strips down to 8″ in length.
  • Tape:
    • The discard pieces of the long flaps about 6″ below (directly below) the long flaps still attached to the box.
    • The two discard pieces of the tail together at the short-side of the the triangles.
  • Fit together:
    • The long, untrimmed 1″ strip you just cut in to the slits in the paper towel roll. Then, Tuck the end of the paper towel roll into the hole in the front of the plane. You just made your propeller! Don’t tape it or anything, especially if it’s good and snug–this allows the kiddo to spin the propeller!
    • On each side of the plane, fit one of the two remaining 1″ strips (the ones you trimmed to 8″ long) into the slits on each set of wings. This is your support strut system and will help keep the bottom wings from drooping. Pull 1″ of the strut through each slit and fold it over, then tape–that’ll stabilize everything.
    • Slip the taped-together triangles from the tail into the slit in the tail…that should fit snugly, but feel free to tape it in place, if it’s a little loose.
  • Paint!
  • OMG! You’re done!

Cardboard Box Plane Tail

Be sure to let the paint dry before you put the kid in the box…LOL!

I got everything I needed to make my cardboard box bi-plane at Walmart. But the best part was the Rollback price on my inspiration!

Disney Planes InStore

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