Cardboard Space Shuttle!

space shuttle from a cardboard box

I love playing with cardboard, and this space shuttle is one of our fanciest creations! I created it as part of The Lights Project at ikat bag, but wanted to share it with my readers here as well (with LiEr’s blessing!)

LED light buttons

LiEr sent me a string of ten LED lights from IKEA, which happened to be flat on top. This makes them perfect for push buttons! My kids are very into space at the moment, and Johnny had just gotten a pair of space-themed pajamas for his birthday. AND my brother had conveniently given me three very large cardboard boxes, one of which looked distinctly spaceship-like to me.

space shuttle from a cardboard box

I cut away, punched some holes for the lights to go through, taped the switch to the inside of the box, and we were good to go! All three kids conveniently fit into this box! Here they are admiring the universe!

I suspect that the IKEA lights are seasonal, but you could do this with any string of LED lights. Time to pull out your Christmas boxes in March!

decorating the cardboard space shuttle

One of the best things about cardboard creations – besides the fact that you get to make them and they are free – is that they are super easy for kids to decorate. Our space shuttle gets a little bit fancier (and a little more bent out of shape loved) every day!

Want to build your own space shuttle? I wrote an illustrated cardboard space shuttle tutorial you can download!

You can check out more LED light creations in The Lights Project archives from last December at ikat bag. And if you want some non-LED light inspiration, here are a few more cardboard creations from this blog!

Endeavour’s Long Journey by John D. Olivas

Endeavour’s Long Journey is an imagination-filled picture book I was sent to review. Written by NASA Astronaut John D. Olivas, this book follows a young boy visiting the Endeavour in the California Science Center, where he has a conversation with the space shuttle. Among other stories, the Endeavour tells the boy about Dr. Mae Jemison, the first female African American astronaut, as a special team on Endeavour. The book captures beautifully the imagination and creativity that is necessary for scientific innovation – and that I see in my scientist husband – but that is rarely portrayed in picture books. I also love the book’s emphasis on dreaming, working hard, and how we need lots of different people with different abilities to succeed.

Mike got to see the Endeavour leave on its long journey, and a friend of mine got to be an official Endeavour babysitter when it first moved to Southern California, which was very exciting!


  1. says

    LOVE how you used the LED lights! That ship is amazing, too. Just yesterday my kids made a house out of the cardboard box that our IKEA couch came in. So fun!

  2. Heather@Creative Family Moments says

    I love this! Even my big kiddos would like this one… I just need a really big box!

  3. says

    This is great! We are having a Rocket Ship Party for my son in May and we’ll be building something like this … although I’m envisioning HUGE! Yours is probably more doable and fun for the kids :-) Hmm, that’s an idea – build several. (Wheels churning…)!

  4. says

    We got out a cardboard box for our girl last week, but she’s too young–she just tries to eat it. This is definitely a fun and cheap way to dress up a box for hours of fun.


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