Choo choo trains are a big deal at our house. For starters, we have the honor of viewing train tracks from our living room window. We get to hear and see the red MetroRail train come by our house multiple times a day. The kids love it and I love that they love it! Needless to say, both kids adore trains.
Last year, we made a Chrsitmas themed DIY cardboard box train for JW Marriott Light up the Nigh holiday kick off event. This year, I’m super excited to host the train craft portion of the event again! I want to get the most use out of our DIY train costume, so I’m making it for Halloween and then I’ll give it a little Christmas spunk up for the Light Up the Night holiday event that happens at the JW Hill Country San Antonio Resort on Nov. 18th!
How to Make a Cardboard Box Train Costume
Here is what you need:
(Psst… This list includes affiliate links.)
- Large cardboard box/ diaper box works great
- Small cardboard box
- 1 Empty TP tube or plastic cup/ smoke stack
- Cotton ball/ for the smoke stack
- 1 Sturdy paper plate
- Extra cardboard
- Red spray paint
- Turquoise spray paint
- Silver spray paint
- Black acrylic paint
- 1 paint brush
- Turquoise washi tape
- Hot glue gun
- Glue sticks (The long ones are my favorite!)
- X-ACTO knife
- Cutting board
- Kitchen bowl/ to use as a stencil for the wheels
- A reusable bag (or sturdy felt)/ to cut the straps off
- Grey foam/ for numbers
First, use the XACTO knife to cut a square in the bottom of your diaper box. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just make sure that your kiddo can fit inside of the box. Be sure to cut the flaps off of the top of the box.
Next, cut 6 circles and 3 trim pieces with the XACTO knife. I used a kitchen bowl to trace the circles, the trick is to make sure that 3 wheels will fit on each side of the train. I did not use a trim peice on the front of the train since the plate covered the entire front.
Use a hot glue gun to assemble the train. Last year, I attached the train wheels before spraying the entire train black. This year, I first spray painted the wheels silver, and then hand painted the black spokes with acrylic paint. After everything was dry, I attached the wheels under the trim pieces with a hot glue gun.
Next, I used turquoise washi tape to make two stripes on the train. After that is complete, it’s time to add numbers. This was the most crucial part of the train for Maxwell. He loves numbers, and really wanted a three and a four. I cut the numbers out of grey foam and hot glued them to the side of the train. Last but not least, you will need straps to hold the train on the kiddo’s shoulders. I used black felt that I had on hand to make the straps this year. Last year, I cut the handles off of an old reusable bag, and that worked great too. I used a hot glue gun to attach the straps to the inside of the train.
Add a red bandana and a conductor style hat and bam… you’ve got yourself a train! Chuga chuga choo choo! It’s fair to note, that I do not let Maxwell play on the train tracks. He was actually very nervous about this photo shoot since I always make such a big deal about not playing anywhere near the tracks much less allow him to walk on the tracks themselves.
The big dilemma is who is wearing it for Halloween… Mila or Maxwell? It fits them both pretty well! I feel like it will be a game time decision. Honestly, here are a few costumes in the works, so I guess the final decision will be up to the kids.
If you live in Texas, here are a few more deets about the annual Light Up the Night event at the JW Marriot San Antonio. This will be our 3rd year attending, and we love it! Santa and Mrs. Claus flip on the switch to the holiday light show, and in my opinion, it’s the very best place to get Santa pictures! (Check out my list of 18 fun, free things to do at the JW Marriot San Antonio.) There’s hot chocolate galore, a giant sleigh, and the kids can make a box train with me and then lead Santa to flip the switch to turn on the holiday cheer! It’s the cutest. Guests of the resort and locals are welcome. I’d love to meet you and your kiddos!