How to Make a Toy Car Out of Recycled Material

How to Make a Toy Car Out of Recycled Material
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From Trash to Toy

There are quite a few fantastic ways to build toy cars from recycled material. Empty cartons, old soda cans, plastic bottles, cereal boxes even tire tubes can be converted into jazzy vehicles that can run on race tracks or just around the home for unlimited hours of fun for the little guys.

Here are two ideas to begin with,

Styrofoam Toy Car

You will need:

  • Styrofoam, thick pieces usually used for home insulation
  • Dowels
  • String or yarn
  • Buttons, plastic lids, cut Styrofoam or plastic cups or maybe old Lego wheels
  • Cutter
  • Marker pen
  • Hot glue
  • Paint, etc. for decoration


  • Draw the desired shape for the body of the car on the Styrofoam and cut it. You will need two pieces of the same shape and size for the sides of the car, one roof and one rectangular piece for the floor.
  • Using the dowel pierce holes into the cut Styrofoam pieces to make the front and back axle.
  • Depending on what you chose as the wheels, you may need to punch holes in them. If using plastic lids mark the centre and punch holes. Make sure your wheels are big enough to lift the car above the ground.
  • Now attach the four wheels on the front and back axles made from dowels.
  • To add the floor of the car, first use three dowels to make a supporting skeleton for the Styrofoam floor board. To do that pierce holes an inch above the axles on the side foams so that three dowels are inserted at equal distance from each other forming a level support for the floor.
  • Using a piece of string or yarn, tie one end to the front dowel to be used later to pull the car.
  • Now apply hot glue on the three dowels and place the rectangular Styrofoam piece on them.
  • The roof is now ready to be placed. It should be cut in such a way that it fits perfectly between the two side foams. Hot glue can be applied to attach the roof.
  • The car can be decorated now using tissue papers, paints, or even old magazine pages. It is ready to follow your kid around everywhere he goes.

Doggy Toy Car

dog toy car

You will need:

  • Old water bottle
  • Four bottle caps, same sized
  • Straw
  • Bamboo skewer
  • Clay or plasticine
  • Sticky tape or glue
  • Craft papers - Red, brown, black and white (you can also use old magazine pages or brown book covers or soft cardboard)


  • Remove the cap of the bottle and place it lying down on the working table.
  • Take the straw and cut it to a length slightly longer than the breath of the bottle. You will need two such straws.
  • Pass the bamboo skewer through the straw.
  • Pierce holes at the centre of the bottle caps and pass the bamboo skewer through this hole. Seal with clay or plasticine.
  • Repeat same to get two straw axles with four wheels.
  • Cut a brown craft paper or an old soft cardboard usually used for packing, into a rectangular shape and cover the bottle below its neck to shape the dog’s body. Secure with a tape.
  • Cut two ears, a black nose, white and black eyes, red tongue and a brown or black tail from the craft papers.
  • Stick the ears at the end of the bottle neck, nose on the cap and the eyes on top. The tongue goes inside the bottle at the mouth tip and the tail secured with tape at the back.
  • On the reverse side of the bottle, stick the two straw axles with wheels.
  • Doggy toy car is ready to hit the road!
  • You can try all sorts of variations in sizes or animal designs. Make a whole collection of animal bottle cars to look like a lion, cheetah, elephant or a bear.

Hours of fun, loads of laughter and incredible racing challenges are all possible when you make a toy car out of recycled material, and give your kids new ideas to expand their toy car collection the earth-friendly way.


Studio 3D Art Car activity

Photo by OaklryOriginals (cc/Flickr) and Arijit Gupta