After we had previewed "Emma Ren: Robot Engineer" by Jenny Lu back in April, I knew I had to figure out a way to bring battle b...

DIY Cardboard Battle Bots


After we had previewed "Emma Ren: Robot Engineer" by Jenny Lu back in April, I knew I had to figure out a way to bring battle bots into our home, but without spending a fortune on actual robot parts. I was browsing various robot kits when I came across a tutorial on Instructables for turning remote control cars into battle bots. The idea was to build a simple cardboard cover for the car then add weapons which would be used to pop a balloon on the opponent's car. Cardboard armor?! Ingenious! Popping balloons? Fantastic! And we even had a couple cars we could use so I didn't have to buy a single thing for this project. It couldn't be more perfect! 

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

We've had our cars for a couple of years so I can't find the exact same cars for sale but these two are pretty close (and budget-friendly). 

This car is similar to ours with the large yellow wheels. It has a tri-channel transmitter so you could have up to 3 of these cars racing or battling at the same time.

These cars have the 5th wheel which is pretty fun for stunt driving. I'm pretty sure if we tried to pop a wheelie while battling the armor would all fall off though. You can only race/battle two of these cars at the same time though (pay attention to the details so you don't get two cars on the same frequency - it says blue and red are the same frequency and need to be paired with black. The other colors list specific MHz). 

Anyway, on to building the battle bots!

This body is for the 5 wheeled car. The middle is 4.5"x7.25" with a 2" border.

 This body is for the rock crawler truck. The middle is 4.5"x11.5" with a 2" border.

Cut out the rectangle then fold along the border lines and slit 4 corners. We're going to be making a box.

For the 5-wheeler, I marked about where the antenna and 5th wheel were then cut holes. There's no perfect method here, start small and keep cutting the hole bigger until everything fits through. I also cut where the back wheels are since they come up high.

For the rock crawler, I flipped the truck upside down and gently pressed it into the center of the armor box so I could see where the little pegs on top lined up. You can see below where the pegs pushed into the cardboard. Then I marked where the antenna was and made holes using a screwdriver.

Here's what the armor looked like once I folded the boxes and hot glued them. 

I wanted the armor to come down more in the front and back to make it easier to attach the balloon as well as defenses/weapons so I glued an extra flap on both sides.

Then I gave the cars to the kids and set them loose. I let them each have two wooden skewers plus toothpicks for weapons and then whatever else they wanted from our crafting/tinkering supplies.

Presenting, The Dino Destroyer! It has a mouth full of razor sharp teeth as well as a spiked club hand!

And in the other corner we have the Balloon Destroyer Crusher Busher! Its main feature is a spike-studded wrecking ball but don't forget about the spiky tail! (I had to keep reminding both of them that if they put anything spiky on the back it would probably pop their own balloon.)

For the battle, one balloon is attached to the back flap of each car. I simply cut a slit up the middle of the back flap to hold the balloon.

 This is what it looks like on the car.

So there you have it! DIY cardboard armor to turn remote control cars into fierce battle bots! If you make your own, tag me on Facebook, @Cardboard Mom. I'd love to see all the different designs!