As you know, I love making stuff out of recycled cardboard. So I went to a Halloween party this week and needed a cool outfit. Did I make my costume? Yes. Did I make a giant house costume? Absolutely. Here's my giant Cardboard House Costume.
What if you don't want it as a costume? It can easily be turned into a dollhouse or for Halloween home decor.
Truthfully, I didn't wear it for very long because it was kind of awkward to interact at a party wearing a large cardboard box. But it was really fun to walk into a Halloween party as a haunted house. For a few minutes, I was a rock star and everyone was taking my photos.
Obviously I don't have an exact pattern for making the house because it's too big, but I do have patterns for these windows and several spooky doors which you could use on your own costume or even for a dollhouse.
Here's a brief tutorial on how to make a house costume out of a cardboard box. I intend to add more costumes from cardboard boxes in the future.
Table of Contents
Materials to Make a Cardboard House Costume
- Cardboard Box that fits - Use a sturdy corrugated cardboard box
- Additional corrugated cardboard for shingles and siding
- Black gesso
- White gesso
- Other paint colors - I used a great purple called Villainous Potion for the windows. Ground Espresso, Walnut Stain, and Fossilized Amber were used for the coffin door. Black Soot and Picket Fence helped with distressing.
- Foundry Wax for the hinges and door handle
- Hot glue
- Strong white glue like Fast Grab Tacky Glue or Quick Dry Tacky Glue
- Masking tape
- Halloween decorations for windows
- Crackle paste
- Worn Wallpaper to glue behind the windows
- Craft knife like this for cutting corrugated cardboard
- Download window and door patterns from the Paper Glitter Glue library (Design No. 140 in the October 2022 section of the library)
Outline of Steps to Make a Cardboard House Costume
- Choose a cardboard box that fits over you
- Draw a template the size of your face
- Draw a basic house design on the box
- Cut out the roof design
- Assemble the box to fit over your body
- Tape down the roof
- Trace the face template on the box to figure out the best placement. Adjust the placement of the face so that it is comfortable for you.
- Cut out the face and arm holes
- Prime the house with black gesso
- Cut out and paint windows, door, and siding, shingles
- Glue on siding, shingles, and any decorative pieces
- Be the hit of the party
I'll go into more detail below. You don't have to follow the steps exactly as this is just an outline for making a house costume from a large cardboard box.
1. Choose a Cardboard box for your house costume
The last time I made a cardboard box outfit, I used a box the size of Chewy box. But this time, I had to upgrade to a moving box. I cut it down to 20 inches across the front and about 14 inches deep. You can see the line where I cut it down.
Alley Cat always checks out my cardboard creations.
2. Trace around your face to figure out how big to make the oval window
To make the facial template, just get a piece of paper and trace around your face to estimate the size of the window for your face. You can always cut it out bigger or glue on an additional piece of cardboard if you make it too big.
3. Draw your basic house design on box
First, flatten the box so you can draw the house design on the front as seen in the photo above. Just sketch to get an idea of where you want the windows and the door.
4. Cut the roof shape
A simple gable design is the easiest roof shape to do. But to make the roof design a little more interesting I curved the roof so it's more like the Irish Cottage design. It does make it a little harder to glue the roof on, but worth it, I think.
5. Assemble the box to fit over your body
Use hot glue and masking tape to tape the box together. Decide where your face fits in the box. Cut out large circles for your arms. It's much easier to get your costume on and off if you have large armholes.
The masking tape helps hold the roof flaps in place while the hot glue dries. Also, see the brace at the top of the roof. Because the roof tips were bending, I hot glued the brace in place.
6. Glue on the roof underlayment
To make a sturdy roof, cut pieces to fit on each side of the roof. This also allows to make the roof slightly overhang the edges of the house.
In order to make the roof cardboard curve to fit the house, I scored the cardboard with a craft knife so it flexes enough to be attached.
Again, I used both masking tape and hot glue to adhere the roof in place.
7. Trace the face template onto the house front
Draw a circle where the opening for your face goes.
8. Cut out the face section and arm holes
This is a little easier to figure out where you want the round window for the face when you have the structure of the costume glued together, but you can actually cut it out before actually construct the box.
Then cut out the arm holes. I like to make them big so I can get the box costume off and on easily.
9. Prime the house with black gesso
Because I want the house siding to show up, I paint the entire house black.
Draw the location of the door and windows on the house.
10. Cut out and paint the windows, shingles, siding and the door
To cut out the door and the windows, I used the SVG patterns that I put in the Paper Glitter Glue library (Design No. 140 in the October 2022 section of the library). There are a number of different options for both the windows and doors.
For shingles and siding, I just cut strips of corrugated cardboard and painted them.
11. Glue on siding, shingles, and any decorative pieces for your Cardboard House Costume
Use either hot glue or a strong white glue to adhere the shingles and siding to the box structure.
Glue a background piece to the windows. I used Worn Wallpaper from Tim Holtz for the window backgrounds.
I also used Tim Holtz Halloween Stamps to decorate the windows and the coffin door.
To distress the siding, I used some Black Soot paint. And I did the same thing with the shingles.
12. Now enjoy the Party!
P.S. Remember to Pin to your Favorite Pinterest Board
Save this idea on your favorite Halloween Pinterest board so you can always remember where you found it.
Thank you reading. I wish you a creative and happy day.
You are absolutely amazing, just love this.
Thank you, Laura. I am so glad you like my outfit. It was a lot of fun to make.
What a hoot! - a wonderfully, clever idea!
You pretty much expected a house, didn't you? I am so glad you like the outfit.
Love, love, love your costume. Always so fun and creative. All best warm wishes for your next endeavor.
I do have some ideas for more fun outfits, but they will probably have to wait until next year. Thank you, Joanna.
Awesome costume. Naturally it would be a house! Haunted one at that. Great job and thanks for the tutorial.
Thank you, Debbie. I figure most people won't want to go to a party dressed as a house, but you could easily modify it, make it smaller as a decorative Halloween piece.
What a mind you have. One thing to look out for is to make sure you can use you hand to drink the adult beverage with your hand holding it.
Bought an New England dollhouse. Project for after Christmas. Any ideas to share? Talk later, tc or Tom Cripe
very clever iidea!
Thank you, Cathy. It was so much fun to make.
This is so awesome! How perfect for your costume to be a haunted house. I love it too!
Thank you so much, Carol. I am going to update it with some creepy vines, but I just didn't have time for the party.
Laughing Laughing Laughing!!! SO clever!! Love your costume and your terrific instructions.
I am CERTAIN that your costume was the hit of the party!!
Well, that sure does make me happy that you liked my costume. I was not sure about the instructions. Normally, I take more photos as I go along, but I didn't for my house costume. I will do better for my next "out of the box" outfits.
Thank you, Teresa.