Egg boxes are fabulous for crafting: they have an interesting shape, are easy to cut or tear and can be turned into all manner of fun things, from a colourful caterpillar to a sailing boat. Kids’ imaginations can run wild with ways to use egg cartons for play, but here are a few step-by-step ideas to get them started.
Tips for painting egg boxes
Acrylic and poster paints work well as the colours are very intense, stay bright and give opaque, one-coat coverage. They are thick, so don’t wet the cardboard too much. Watercolours can be used, but they might not give an opaque, vibrant finish and can make the cardboard soggy and lose shape.
If you don’t have a paintbrush, don’t worry: cut a small rectangle of cardboard from the egg box, dip the edge in paint and use like a brush, or cut up small pieces of rags, dip them in paint and wipe them over the surface you’re painting.
Always allow one colour of paint to dry fully before painting with another colour or assembling or gluing the models.
For some smaller parts, it’s easier to paint a small section of uncut card first, then cut out the shapes once dry.
Tips for gluing or sticking egg box crafts
Use PVA glue for sticking parts together or a glue stick if you’re sticking paper decorations to the egg cartons. Tape works well to secure elements together if you can hide it underneath or inside the model.
What’s the best pen to draw on an egg box craft?
Permanent markers and acrylic pens work well, especially if you’re painting with acrylic paints. Water-based felt tips work on unpainted egg boxes, but won’t write on surfaces painted with acrylic.
How to make eyes for egg carton models
If you don’t have googly eyes, you can paint ones on small circles of card or directly on the models.
Egg carton crafts
1) Egg carton caterpillar
You can make these with a short or long carton. Cut a strip of the cups from an egg box and turn it over. Paint the outside of the cups whatever colours and patterns you like. We did a rainbow pattern, but you could paint them all the same colour or use one colour for the head and a different one for the body. Poke two holes in the top of the first cup using a cocktail stick, then thread through two short pieces of pipe cleaner and bend them to make the antennae. Add eyes and draw or paint the rest of the face on with a pen.
2) Egg carton treasure chest
Paint the whole outside of a small egg carton with brown paint. Paint the inside too, if you like – gold or yellow works well. Meanwhile, cut two strips of paper that are long enough to stretch over the top of the box and paint them gold or yellow. If you like, once dry, use a black marker pen or biro and draw wavy lines over the box to create a wood effect, and circles on the gold or yellow strips to look like bolts. Stick the strips on top of the box and paint the box latch with gold or yellow paint.
3) Egg carton flowers
Cut cups from an egg box and snip down into the corners of the cup, stopping at the circular base, to make four sections. Cut the edges of each section into a semi-circle or petal shape. Repeat if making layered flowers, cutting the petals of the top layer slightly smaller. The centre of the flower can be painted or you can use pompoms, buttons or cut-out circles from the egg box lid (snip frills nearly to the centre if you want them textured). Paint the flowers and centres (if making them yourself), then glue together.
4) Egg carton shark
Cut the central pyramids from the egg box, making one slightly shorter than the other. Cut a fin and tail from the lid of the egg box. Use a pair of scissors to cut 3cm from the tip down towards the middle of the longer pyramid to make the mouth opening. On the slightly shorter pyramid, snip a little slit that’s slightly shorter than the width of the fin, about 1cm from the bottom on one flat side, and feed the fin through the slit from the inside of the pyramid. Glue the fin or secure with tape on the inside. Cut a very small slit at the tip of the shorter pyramid and slot the tail in, using a little glue if necessary. Cut a thin strip of paper that is long enough to stretch around the mouth, then make triangular cuts into one side of the strip to look like pointy teeth. Stick the paper teeth around the mouth and draw eyes using a felt or marker pen. Glue the two pyramids together, tucking the smaller pyramid that has the tail and fin into the head section.
5) Egg carton boat
Make a sail by folding a piece of paper in half, then cut into a triangular shape. Open the paper triangle out and glue a paper straw or dowel into the centre crease of the triangle so that one end pokes out of the base, then glue a piece of string into the centre crease so it comes out of the top point. Glue the two sides of the sail together to secure the pole and string. Cut several smaller pieces of paper and glue to the string to make little flags, then make the boat. Cut the lid away from the base of an egg carton. If you like, paint the outside of the lid and the inside of the egg carton. Poke the straw of the sail through the top of one of the pyramids in the base, then stretch the string over the side of the carton and tape both in place underneath. Sit the base of the egg carton inside the lid.
6) Egg carton aliens
This is one of the easiest egg carton crafts. Cut cups and pyramids from an egg carton. Paint the outside of the cups and pyramids any bright colours you like, then add eyes and use a marker pen to draw mouths.
7) Egg carton mouse finger puppet
Cut the central pyramid from an egg carton (this will be the head) and cut two semicircular ears from the cups or lid. Cut three thin 5cm-long strips of card from the lid for whiskers. Paint the head and ears, then stick the ears to the head. Dab glue onto the tip of the pyramid and stick a whisker on, then repeat with the remaining whiskers, sticking them down at slightly different angles. Stick a black mini pompom or painted rolled-up ball of paper on top of the whiskers for the nose. Draw on eyes using a marker pen.
8) Egg carton chick
This one’s perfect for Easter. Cut two cups from an egg carton to make the head and body and cut two triangles from the central pyramid to make the wings, then cut a small diamond from the lid to make the beak. Paint the head, body and wings yellow and the beak orange. Fold the diamond in half and stick it to the head. Draw eyes using paint or a marker pen. Glue or tape the wings to the body by folding them over the top edge and securing them inside the cup. Glue the head on top of the body, over the wings.
9) Egg carton pumpkins
For a Halloween decoration, cut cups from the egg carton and paint the outside orange. Draw triangular eyes and crooked mouths using a marker pen, then use a cocktail stick to poke a hole into the top of the pumpkin and thread short pieces of green pipe cleaner through to make the stalk.
10) Egg carton Christmas tree
Cut four central pyramids from an egg carton. Leave one full length, then cut the second a little shorter. Repeat, trimming the other two and making them slightly shorter each time. Stack the pyramids on top of one another from long to short to make a layered tree. Paint the tree green. Wrap pipe cleaners or glittery string around the tree for tinsel and stick on mini pom-poms or rolled up balls of painted paper for baubles.