Here’s a fun DIY toy and recycling craft for kids of all ages – make an egg carton train!
This easy craft idea was first published in 2013 and has been updated and reshared for today’s audience.
You might also like our egg carton helicopters
Egg cartons are so versatile. We always keep them aside for crafting rather than recycling them and have been building up quite a collection. We decided to put some of them to good use with this egg carton train craft.
Seriously, this was a project that my kids have enjoyed playing with a LOT!
My girls are pre-school-aged and needed help with the fiddly bits (cutting wheels, poking holes etc.) but they did as much of it as they could and are very proud of their creations.
When finished, the egg-carton compartments are just the right size for small plastic figurines and toys.
Although these trains are simple to make, I’d suggest laying aside a couple of days to allow for drying time and the short attention spans of young children.
How to make an egg carton train
You will need:
- One egg carton per train
- One toilet roll per train
- Acrylic paint
- Construction paper for the funnel
- String or Ribbon
- Hole punch
- Paint brush
- The train wheel template
Cut the egg carton into sections of 2 cups, plus one section of 1 cup for the engine & trim edges to tidy up. Then paint them and allow to dry.
Print out the train wheel template and use it to make paper wheels. You can print it directly onto coloured construction paper (card stock is best) or print it to white and staple it onto card stock before cutting out.
Fold the template along the dotted line and cut out the wheel shapes. You will end up with a matching set of wheels for each side of your train.
Punch holes with a hole punch in the back of the engine & the front and back of each carriage, or poke a hole with a metal skewer. Then tie them together with a piece of ribbon or string.
Glue on the wheels by applying a dab of craft glue on the egg carton & pressing the wheel on. I’ve created the blue circles inside my wheels from hole punch circles. The girls preferred to decorate theirs differently – Miss K with stickers and Miss R with glitter paint.
Make the funnel:
- Roll a small (approx 4-5cm high) strip of paper up into a cylinder and glue the edge down
- Wind a thin strip of paper in a different colour around all the way up to make a candy stripe
- Snip tiny slits all the way around the bottom of the cylinder and fold under to make tabs. Glue it on the front of the toilet roll engine with the tabs.
- Make the mini cone for the top of the funnel by cutting a circle shape with a slit to the middle and bending it into a cone shape. Glue it on top of the funnel
Now, once it’s all completely, absolutely dry (so there will be no tears when the wheels fall off), it’s time to play!
Here are our finished creations …
This one was made by Miss 3.
Here is Miss 4’s effort (pictured before the funnel was glued on).
Aren’t they gorgeous?
I love crafts that become toys, it gives them a double purpose. The girls played with these trains ALL the time, literally until they fell apart. Then they moved onto my train, haha.
More egg carton recycling crafts for kids
- Make an egg carton jewelry box to store precious things
- Turn an egg carton into a fire truck
- Create an egg carton sugar glider that can stretch out his legs to glide
- You can also turn an egg carton into mini egg carton helicopters
- Here is a tutorial for 6 different kinds of egg carton flowers
Thanks for this tutorial, we’ve tried with my son, and has been great!
I just wrapped up a project with my (almost) 4 year old daughter. We found on an 18 pack of eggs, the inside of the lid looked like it had 4 little cars wishing to come out of it. Rather than make cars, we used them to make covers to put on top of match box cars. We hold them on with her little tiny rubber bands for her hair. So she drew on them, painted them, put stickers on them, made flags for them… we have been playing with them all week!
Sounds awesome! Kids can have so much fun with home made toys and I love that.
Paula Thompson says
Lovely idea! It’s a good recycling idea and I’m sure my girl will totally love the train. Thank you for the inspiration!
You’re welcome! Hope the train-making went well 🙂
brenda hunt says
Thank you so much for sharing this idea. I will do this with my class. It is going to be tough, but it will be worth it. I will let you know the turn out.
Awesome! I hope it goes well. I’d love to hear how it all turns out. If you upload an image to our Facebook page I can add it to the ‘your crafts’ album I have up there.
Arati Philipose says
Thank you, for this wonderful train!