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How to Make a Cardboard Thomas

For a party day (or any day!), kids will love playing with this fun craft


  • Two 20” X 20” square cardboard boxes 
  • Packing tape 
  • Masking tape in black, red, and yellow 
  • Tempera paint in black, blue, and white 
  • Foam paint brushes 
  • Hot glue gun (adults only) 
  • Black paper plates 
  • Thomas face template (Download his eyes and mouth here!)
  • Large bowl 
  • Xacto knife or scissors (adults only) 


 1. Trim and save the top box flaps on all sides of both boxes.

 2. Cut a 12” wide x 16” long U-shaped hole out of one side.

 3. Make the back section: Mark 4” x 4” measurements on both sides of one box. Cut and fold over one flap to form a corner. Cut out entire 4” section at opposite side.

 4. Cut a large 12” wide x 14” hole on the back side for kids to enter the box.

5. Make the front section: Cut out the bottom corner of the second box. The section should be 4” wide and 6” high. 

6. Cut out a 12” wide x 16” long U-shaped hole on the opposite end.

7. Combine the sections: Tape the front and back sections together with packing tape so the U-shaped holes align.

8. To make the face, trace a large bowl on a leftover flap and cut out. Hot glue it to the front of the engine. 

To paint and decorate your cardboard train:

1. Paint the front of the train and the lower 6” of the entire box black. Paint the face white and the rest of the engine blue.

2. When dry, add details in red masking tape.

3. Print and cut out the Thomas eyes and nose and glue to the cardboard circle.

4. To make the wheels, paint the center of the black plates blue. Let dry. Create the spokes with masking tape. 

5. Hot glue the wheels to the sides. Optional: Add a cardboard connecting rod between the wheels. 

6. Make a #1 out of yellow tape with a red tape border and add to the side. Peep peep! All aboard!  

(Optional) To make a train car:

1. Trim the top flaps off a third 20” x 20” cardboard box. 

2. Cut a door on the back. Paint the lower 6” black and the top section brown. 

3. When dry, hot glue black plates to each side for the wheels. 

4. Create and glue connecting rods to the wheels.