Maxwell had a fall fest at his school today which meant dressing up like someone or something on a farm. How about a cowboy or maybe even a cow? Nope. Max made it very clear that a tractor was the only option. At 7pm last night I started to attempt to craft up a cardboard box tractor costume because the 2 and half year old in our house is the boss and I just do what I’m told. The hardest part about the tractor costume is waiting for the paint to dry. Thankfully this dang fall fest was a week before Halloween, so if any other toddlers out there need to be a tractor, I’ve got you covered!
The only thing I had to buy was green spray paint. Thankfully our Home Depot is open until 10pm! But, I am a craft hoarder, so there’s that. What? You don’t have random yellow duct tape just laying around, ha!? I’m all about using what you’ve got, so cheers to whipping up DIY tractors with materials from around your house and hoping that your crazy toddler will actually where the thing on the big day.
Here’s what you need to make a cardboard box tractor for your toddler:
- Diaper box (or any small box)
- 1 extra cardboard box (even cereal boxes will do)
- 2 sturdy paper plates (you could also just use card board)
- Drop cloth (or anything to paint on)
- Green spray paint (spray paint just makes it faster)
- Black spray paint
- Scissors (or you could rip the card board)
- Empty paper towel tube (or a toilet paper tube will do)
- Yellow paint (or yellow duct tape)
- Sponge brush
- Packing tape
- String (for straps)
- Hot glue gun
- Silver paper (or paint)
First, cut a square out of the top of your diaper box so that your toddler can fit inside of the box. Also make sure that the bottom is cut open and the flaps are hanging down, these need to get painted. I cut/ripped the 3 flaps from the top of the box off. Now, spray paint the entire box green!
Next, it’s time to start working on the tractor wheels. I used 2 sturdy paper plates for the back tractor wheels and cut 2 smaller wheels out of cardboard. I used a bowl from my kitchen cabinet as a stencil for the smaller wheels! Grab your empty paper towel roll and lay all 5 pieces on the drop cloth for a nice coat of black spray paint.
The main tractor box will need a few coats of green spray paint. I probably sprayed mine 3 times. Once the black wheels are dry, use the paint brush to paint large yellow circles in the center of all 4 wheels. This took a few coats too. On the front of the tractor I painted a black semi circle and glued on 2 square silver headlights.
Once everything is painted, it is time for assembly with your trusty hot glue gun. Oh and I forgot to note, the yellow stripe is yellow duct tape so it was super easy to just tape on, but you could also paint a stripe too. I eye balled the height of the wheels to ensure that when the tractor was sitting it would stand (somewhat) level. For the smoke stack, I just cut a hole in the box, shoved the paper towel roll inside and stuck a peice of packing tape to the inside. Very fancy.
And for the straps, I just used yarn. Probably not the best option, but it worked. If you have time, something thicker and sturdier would work better. Possibly old belts? Also, don’t attach the straps until you have the toddler standing in the box to adjust them before tying. Max’s needed to be shorter. Box crafting was actually kind of fun. I feel like I could make a ton of vehicles out of this one box. We’ll see how long this one lasts!
If you’re looking for more cardboard box costumes, don’t miss these: