Tea Box Circus Train DIY

The boys and I had a fun weekend enjoying the most lovely weather outdoors as well as putting together a few impromptu projects, such as this tea box animal circus train. There's something really rewarding about creating something magical out of simple leftover pantry items, like these herbal tea boxes. And on Earth Day weekend, well I couldn't think of a better re-purpose project.
Basically we grabbed a few herbal tea boxes from the pantry and threw on some fun colorful duct tape. This helped reinforce the strength of the boxes/train cars as well as add pops of color and design. Duct tape is a little difficult to cut (super sticky) so I would suggest doing this alongside your Littles. We started with just three fun cars decorated in a simple, bright color scheme.
MerMagTeaBoxCircusTrain3And then A had the brilliant idea of creating an additional car (he didn't feel like it was a true train with only three cars) that could carry his aquatic animals. On his own, he came up with the idea of using blue duct tape to line the inside of the 4th car to suggest water. He then picked the color and design of the car exterior himself. I helped him cut up the tape and he placed it on. For the wheels we cut the tops of the boxes into circles, covered them in tape and secured onto the box cars with colorful brads.
We then used neon pink lanyard, and by punching small holes in the ends of cars, attached the cars together. So now we had 4 cars but no engine. And Little O and A would have none of that.
MerMagTeaBoxCircusTrain4So the next day we decided that an engine must be made. We put our heads together, found more fiber board from a couple of cereal boxes and constructed an engine, which just happened to make the perfect home for our elephant engineer. We added a few party hats to our little animal friends and a party animal circus train we had. (Little O was seriously into the whole animal party idea. He wanted to know why these animals were having a party on a train. So we spent some fun imaginative time coming up with different scenarios.)
The boys had so much fun with the train and spent quite a bit of time playing with it. And I have to confess, I think this might have sparked a cardboard/duct tape spree of sorts. The possibilities really are endless...


  1. what a great idea. i have a few bigger boxes: cheese-itz and cereal. maybe a bigger train is in the cards for us!

  2. Genius! I am so making this with my son!! Thank you Mer!!

  3. This is so great!!!!! I love crafts like this =) You are one clever momma.

    - Sarah

  4. These are fantastic! The neon and neutral combo is so cool.

  5. You are such a clever mom to imagine these ideas spontaneously!

  6. I know exactly what we are going to be doing today ... this!! Love it - thank you!

  7. This is fantastic. We're mad for cardboard at our place so love to see what we can make. I think the circus train is definitely going to make the list. Also, your photos are fantastic thanks.

  8. I love this! I can't wait to make this with my boys too.

  9. This project makes me so happy and is exactly why I love you + your ideas so much. Simple wins every time! xo.

    1. Thanks Danielle. I feel the same about you and your blog!

  10. This is so fun! The colourful tape makes all the difference

  11. this is just too adorable and my favorite kind of craft! I have a weekly international linky party which starts every Saturday night with some great contributors from around the world (literally!) and I'd love it if you'd join us with this project and more if you like. all the best!

  12. boys love duct tape!!! Awesome mom award!

  13. I saw you featured over at Modern Parents Messy Kids. This is sooo cute!

  14. I was wondering where you buy your bright tape from? I am in Australia, and can't find any!

    Thank you :)

  15. So sweet. I made it without the ducktape and lots of glitter. My daughter loved it!