Making a Cardboard Box Play Camera

Category Toys
Young children are great when it comes to using their imagination. So making them these up-cycled cardboard box play cameras can provide hours of fun for your toddler. The instructions and photos follow.


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Before tossing out your cardboard food boxes, you could possibly up-cycle them into a new and fun toy! I was able to save $30 by not buying 2 pretend toy cameras that do not work, instead I made this play camera for free!

This camera can work if you use your imagination. With the toilet paper tube resembling the scope/lens, your child can pretend to take a picture and explain what they see as the image.

Another way, my kids enjoy playing with their cameras is in a form of a game, inspired by "I-Spy". Both kids will look into their camera and I would say, find a purple flower to take a picture of and they will look in the eyehole of their camera to find the flower and pretend snapping a photo!

Total Time: 25 minutes


  • scrapbook paper
  • bottle cap
  • square cardboard box
  • scissors
  • toilet paper roll
  • hot glue
  • tape
  • ribbon


  1. You will need a square/rectangle shaped cardboard box to create your camera. I used (2) Pressed by Kind Snack Boxes to make (2) play cameras for my son and daughter.
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  3. The front of each box has a square cut out already. I flipped over to the back of the box and made a smaller rectangle cut out.
  4. Cut desired length of a toilet paper roll for the lens.
  5. Wrap a piece of scrapbook paper over the larger square on the front. Cut a + (plus) slit in the center.
  6. Place toilet paper roll on the outside and fold flaps into the toilet paper then tape down in place.
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  8. Now wrap the remaining area of the box up with pieces of scrapbook paper and tape (or glue, but we use tape because the kids are impatient at times so it's faster without the drying time.)
  9. Then with the smaller square (back), you can tape up pieces of paper to create your peephole. It will need to be center aligned to the toilet paper roll so you can see out of it.
  10. Optional - For finishing touches, I taped ribbon to the sides of the camera so it a could be worn as a necklace and hot glued a bottle cap to the top as the pretend button.
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  12. Repeat same steps to anymore cameras you make.
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