Like a true New Yorker, I never eat at my dining room table. The main reason for this is that my kids love to take it over. For them, it serves as the base for their miniature town creations, filled with pet hospitals, homeless shelters and Shake Shacks. They’ve created Pumpkin Town, A Christmas Village, an Arctic Escape…you name it!

With the holiday season passing and the kids spending a lot of time at home due to school vacation, we thought of a great way to keep busy, recycle and put those gift boxes to good use. We got out our black chalkboard paint, painted our boxes and recreated our cities… cardboard style.

If you have some old cardboard boxes and packaging lying around the house and a free dining room table in need of attention, give this a try.

*Helpful Hint: paint the boxes before you involve your kids, painting it on with traditional chalkboard paint, or using spray chalkboard paint. The painting part is the least fun step of the project and drying time may elicit lots of whines. You don’t want to find yourself yelling “for the love of god people! I’m helping you build a town out of cardboard, what else do you want from me?!” That’s never pretty.


  • COLLECT recyclables of all shapes and sizes (cardboard works best as we are using chalkboard paint).
  • CUT cardboard into simple shapes – circles, triangles, squares and rectangles.
  • TAPE and GLUE cut-out shapes onto recyclables to form items for cardboard town (houses, people, shops, etc).
  • PAINT items with two layers of chalkboard paint using spray paint or by brush.
  • DRAW decorations over the chalkboard paint with colored chalk to add detail to your items.
  • ARRANGE your finished items, setting up Cardboard Town with different scenes!


  • Gather two small boxes (matchboxes or small jewellery boxes will work!)
  • Cut four circles out of a cardboard.
  • Tape or glue the two boxes on top of one another.
  • Pin the four circles to the bottom of the lower box, acting as wheels.
  • Paint the boxes and circles with two layers of chalkboard paint so the car is completely black.
  • Use colored chalk to draw the details onto the wheels, the windows and the doors of the car.


Our Cardboard Town featured tall buildings, cars, people and lots of animals! What will you make for your town? Let us know below and share your pictures with us on Facebook or Twitter!


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