Thursday, October 23, 2008

How to Make a Robot from Halloween Candy Boxes

Are these cool or what? My kids flipped out over this one.....they really enjoyed this project. Halloween is the perfect time to make robots...why you ask.....

Because at Halloween your kids will get a lot of different candy in a lot of different packaging. Perfect material to be recycled into robots


recycled candy boxes, glue, elastic bands, acrylic craft paint, paintbrush, pipe cleaners, colored bits of paper, foil, assorted hardware doodads, small mismatched toys, extra bits of cardboard

First you need to reseal all the boxes. Place some glue on the open end and then use an elastic band to hold it together while drying. UPDATE: Inna from Inna's Creations had a great idea, take the box apart and reverse it, then glue it back together. This way it will be white on the outside, saves you the priming step. Thanks Inna!

When the boxes are dry build the main body of the robot. You can play around with it a bit until you get it the way you want. We used extra cardboard pieces to help connect everything together.
Glue together and let dry.

Now the painting.... we gave our robots a primer coat of white acrylic or gesso first. This helps to cover all the writing on the boxes. This step is optional. If you skip it you will just have to add an extra coat of colored paint.

While that first paint coat is drying you can make some arms. We used 2 white pipe cleaners for each arm. We connected the pieces together by wrapping some of the ends around each other. Try to push down those wire ends as the can be quite pokey.
We then wrapped the pipe cleaner around the end of a paintbrush or large pencil.

Next we painted ours silver. Now you could just use silver pipe cleaners but I have this thing about trying to get the kids to create as much of the materials they are going to use as possible. I actually had silver pipe cleaners in my stash but decided against it.
When dry the painted pipe cleaners become really stiff and hold there shape quite well. I have used this technique when making dioramas to make very effective trees.

By now the first coat of paint is dry so you can add some color. Depending on your candy boxes you may need 2 coats.
Let dry.

To make really neat robot grip hands use the plastic insert for drywall nails. It is usually in any picture hanging kit you may have. Open the end up to make the gripper and glue into the pipe cleaner arm.

Now decorate your robot. I used a small piece of foil for a control panel and added bits from a cut up map. Attach small toys or little bits and bobs that we all seem to have lying around. The kids have fun searching for different materials and figuring out how to make the face of the robot. We used stray lego pieces, doll combs for the mouths, beads, whatever you have on hand. You may need to use a gluegun on the heavier pieces.

Click on photo for a closer view.

Have some robot fun and good luck creating.
see you soon


  1. Argh! These are SO cute! Your creativity just blows me away. I'll be linking to your Halloween art project today, and I'll be adding this to my Kid's Halloween Roundup.

  2. These are great, too! My son is a robot nut (in fact he just built his robot costume today) so I know he will love this project. I will add it to our growing list of things to make together. Thanks for another great idea.

  3. They are really so much fun! This sure is a wonderfull project! Although we don't have a halloween tradition, we sure like to make robots!

  4. Oh my goodness - these are too cute. How clever - gotta go and make some. I'll have to eat the Dots, Milk Duds and Junior Mints first. I know - pitty me. It's a dirty job - but someone's gotta do it!

  5. these are awesome. :^) my boys love to create & construct - i can't wait to show them your robots - i know they'll be inspired!

  6. Thanks everyone for the great comments. I hope everyone gets a chance to make a candy box robot. My kids are still captivated by them. They are also planning on designing a space city out of candy boxes to go with them after Halloween.

  7. More than a little cool! I hope we can make these this weekend!!!

  8. hi from Italy
    ras for this laiut
    wonderfull blog

  9. Thanks for the encouragement, CC and Erre54.
    These robots seem to be quite popular, I've had several classes at school interested so we are madly collecting little boxes.

  10. That is an adorable idea. My boys are going to LOVE making these little robots

  11. Hello again! you inspired us a while ago with your kiddy glue batik and I just wanted to pop back and tell you that I've been wanting to make some kind of robots since reading this post months ago. My kids are a bit too young for something as fiddly as you have here, but I thought you might be interested to see where we went with the theme a couple of days ago...
    Maybe next year they will have the dexterity for something a bit more like your robots :D

  12. Thought you might enjoy a photo of our finished robots! We made a three day project of it. The kids absolutely LOVED this project. Thank you!

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  14. I love these!!! Can't wait to make them!

  15. That's an adorable idea. My son would love that!

  16. So cute! What a great idea and so fun