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How to Make a Cardboard Igloo - Arctic Unit Study


This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases - at zero cost to you. 

When we began our Arctic Unit Study, I just knew I wanted to build a cardboard igloo. But I also knew I needed to improve on my building skills and use what I learned from my failures with the Haunted House Box Fort

The first thing I made sure to do was to use two boxes that were the exact same size for the octagon shape of the igloo. That in itself made my life much easier because I didn't have to cut anything or try to accommodate for taller or wider panels. 

The second - and possibly best - improvement I made was to toss the tape and use Makedo SCRUs for cardboard construction instead. The kids got them for Christmas and they are SUCH a game changer. They got the Makedo Toolkit and Connector 40 pack. Between the two sets they have 68 SCRUs in two sizes, a SCRU-DRIVER, a SAFE-SAW, and a MINI-TOOL.

The SCRUs hold the cardboard together much more securely than tape, they're easy to readjust, and there's no yards and yards of tape ending up in the garbage! One thing I will mention, though, is that the end of the SCRU-Driver is hard plastic that ends up digging into your palm so I would recommend wearing a glove if you're going to be building something that involves a lot of SCRUs.

Step 1: Open up two boxes of the same size, stand them up and arrange into an octagon shape. Secure the edges with SCRUs or tape. 

Step 2: Cut a curved opening for the entrance. Another improvement off the last box fort? I made sure to make the opening wide enough that I could crawl through...

Step 3: Here's where I ran into a bit of a snafu. My original plan was to cut down in between the side panels and begin folding the domed roof just above the doorway. However, the boxes I used were double-ply which meant the only way I was going to be able to fold them was to score the boxes where I wanted to fold them. In hindsight, that probably wouldn't have been too much work, but at the time it seemed like too much effort. So Plan B went into effect and the dome began higher, where the top flaps of the box were. 

Full disclosure: I did not measure anything. I simply picked a flap to start with, pushed it forward to what looked like a good angle, scored and folded the flap that would go behind, and secured them with a SCRU. I repeated all the way around until all the flaps were angled in and secured together. 

Step 4: Using scrap pieces of cardboard from a single-ply box, I shaped an arch entryway and secured it to the main part of the igloo. 

Step 5: Complete the dome. I got 8 pieces of cardboard (of the same size) that were about the same width as the walls of the igloo - each piece was the side panel of a box plus a flap on top. One at a time, I secured them to the angled flaps and used the same score and fold method to attach the pieces. 

Step 6: Fold the top flaps down, cut to shape, and secure. Because I didn't measure back in Step 3, then flaps didn't line up perfectly because all the panels were not folded at exactly the same angle. But this wasn't a huge problem. I was able to cut and fold the pieces so they all closed up pretty nicely with a little skylight left in the middle. 

Step 7: Cut small windows all around to let some extra light in. Furnish with pillows and blankets to make it nice and cozy inside so you can read a book about the Arctic!

The igloo may not have ended up EXACTLY as I had envisioned it, but all in all, I think it turned out really well and was definitely an improvement on my first box fort!