My little one has been asking for a doll house or princess castle for her birthday (which is six months away), so I decided to look around the house and see if we could whip up something a bit sooner. She adores Sofia the First, so we gathered some old shipping boxes and held on to the toilet paper rolls until we had enough for a fine cardboard castle. A little bit of cutting, gluing, and painting, then voila! A castle fit for a princess (or Sofia doll).
My daughter dressed up and her imagination went wild — dancing, jumping, and flying Sofia and all her friends in and around the castle. It made for a fun evening of entertainment for all!
DIY Play Castle
- 3 shoe or shipping boxes of different sizes
- Scissors or x-acto knife
- 7 toilet paper rolls
- 1 paper towel roll
- Hot glue gun and glue
- Spray paint, cream or white
- Construction or scrapbooking paper: 3 sheets blue and 2 sheets maroon
- Paint brush
- Paint: gold, teal, white, and dark blue (white and dark blue are optional, if you want to shade the windows)
- Stack your boxes on top of one another, smallest on top, largest/widest on bottom. I wanted the castle to look as much like Sofia’s castle as possible, so I sketched a quick layout of where I wanted trim, towers, and windows.
- Begin by cutting away the four extra flaps of each box and set aside for later use.
- You’ll need the following: two narrow cardboard rectangles (cut from the scraps above), a small triangle, two whole toilet paper rolls, and a third roll (cut in half lengthwise).
- Cut away an arched door in the center.
- Glue the two narrow rectangles on either side of the door and then the small triangle on top.
- Place the two toilet paper roll halves on either side of the doorway and triangle.
- Cut one line down the other two toilet paper rolls, and adhere to each corner of the box.
- Cut out two triangles and two narrow rectangles. Set aside the paper towel roll and three toilet paper rolls.
- Lightly draw two sets of windows on this second box from the bottom.
- Adhere the rectangles to either side of the top window set.
- Cut one toilet paper roll in half lengthwise, and glue on either side of the windows.
- Glue the triangles on the lower corners of the box, allowing the outer edge to poke off the box a bit.
- Cut a slit, lengthwise, all the way down the paper towel roll and one toilet paper roll, gluing each on opposite sides of each other.
- The final toilet paper roll will fit into the top of the paper towel roll and stick out on top about 1 inch, creating a little side tower.
- This level has one large set of windows and an awning. Use two small rectangle pieces for the awning. Cut a slit, lengthwise, all the way down the paper towel roll and adhere on the right corner.
- For the final tower, cut four squares from the extra cardboard and tape together to make a 3-D square.
- Glue each of the four levels together and let dry.
- Spray paint the entire castle.
- While the castle is drying, we’ll make the turrets (tower toppers) with the construction paper. Cut out one blue rectangle 8 x 3-inches wide.
- Use a pencil to make one mark at the top middle, 4 inches from either side, and two more marks on either side, 1 inch from the bottom.
- Cut from the bottom right mark up to the middle 4-inch mark and repeat on the other side until you have a wide triangle.
- Then cut two final pieces from the side marks to the bottom of the paper in the opposite direction. You should have somewhat of a diamond shape.
- Use this final piece as a stencil and cut out six more blue turrets and three red turrets, for a total of 10 turrets.
- Cut one final large triangle for the top of the castle.
- To form the turrets, fold the paper around, connecting the corners to the bottom until you have a tall triangle like a party hat. Staple to secure.
- Once the castle has dried, paint on three sets of windows (two on the second level and one large set on the third level). You can simply paint them teal or mix the dark blue, teal, and white colors for a faded glass look. (To do this, paint the bottom third with dark blue, the middle with teal, and the top with white. Then use the same paint brush to stroke up and down, streaking the paint colors together.) Lastly, outline the windows with gold paint.
- Finally, glue each of the paper turrets to their towers. Now you have a beautiful castle for your little one.
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