We’ve teamed up with Tia and Laura from Little Button Diaries to create this paper craft train tutorial – a perfect half term activity with the kids!

This step-by-step tutorial will show you how to make a simple paper train using cereal boxes and Spectrascope card. The wheels are fixed on with split pins to enable them to turn and the carriages can be detached. A little chalkboard sticker on the front even allows you to write the destination on the front of the train! Here’s how to make it…

Step One

Begin by creating the basic shape of the trains from selection cereal boxes (or similar) – we used four boxes, but you could make the train as long as you want. For the open carriages, open out one of the boxes, cut off one of the larger sides and draw around it to create a template. Add additional tabs to each edge so that you can fold the card around the box. Tape the box back together. Repeat this process for the engine and people carriage, but cut one of the long thin sides off the box instead of the large one – this will give an open base.


Step Two

Draw around the templates onto Spectrascope card and cut out. Wrap the card around the boxes, securing with glue or double sided tape.


Step Three

For the engine, use Spectrascope to make a box the same width as the cereal box, about 5cm x 5cm. Glue this on top. For neater sides, draw around the engine and cut two panels from matching card and glue onto the sides.


Step Four

To make the plow of the train, cut a 5cm triangle from card and fold in half. Fold again down the sides and glue these tabs to the front of the train. Roll a strip of card into a tube then glue in place for a pipe. Make a funnel by drawing a 4cm circle, cut a quarter out then fold into a cone. Pop a split pin through the bottom to attach it to the train’s bonnet.


Step Five

Embellish the carriages using Spectrascope card and glue. Here we’ve added a scalloped roof, stripes and triangles of contrasting card to the carriages and made washi tape windows.


Step Six

For the wheels, draw around a 2 pence coin to make a template from card. Cut wheels from corrugated and Spectrascope card – the thicker card makes the wheels stronger. For this train you will need 14 smaller wheels and two larger wheels for the front of the train. Glue the Spectrascope and cardboard wheels together, then use scissors to pierce a hole in the middle. Decorate the larger wheels with washi tape if you like. Pierce holes along the bottom edges of the train and attach the wheels using split pins.


Step Seven

To fasten the train carriages together, thread a button onto a piece of embroidery thread or string, loop it around and tape it onto the base of the carriage at the front. Loop another piece of (buttonless) thread and tape at the back.


Step Eight

Finally, add a chalkboard sticker to the front of the train so that you can pick and change your train’s destination. Let’s all go to the zoo!


Choo choo – this is how your finished train could look!

LBDtrain full 1

LBDtrain full 5

LBDtrain full 2

Join Brighton-based mums Laura & Tia and follow their adventures in craft and baking over at

Materials needed to make the train:

From your recycling:

  • Small cardboard boxes (tea or cereal boxes are ideal) x 4
  • Corrugated card



  1. I am so making this with my 8 year old tomorrow, she is obsessed with trains and this is really clever and cute.

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