Once upon a time I saw an absolutely beautiful Melissa and Doug treehouse on Facebook Marketplace. It was expensive and I hesitated and thanks to that, lost out on it. I haven’t stopped thinking about it ever since as it turns out they’re super hard to find. That darned toy was my inspiration behind making this DIY recycled treehouse! 

The materials list for this beauty is basic. 

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Toilet paper tubes
  • Glue gun 
  • Twine 
  • Pinecones

Okay, you don’t actually need pinecones. I added them just because we have so many in the basement from all our fall activities! I was also in peak Pinterest-mom mood when I created this beauty and picking apart pinecones to create roof shingles seemed like a great idea. Guess what: it certainly wasn’t… But the end result sure was worth it!

So, why did I spend an afternoon glue-gunning some cardboard together instead of buying a treehouse?

For starters, the cost.

This cost me zero dollars to make. Well, I guess technically it cost me the few bucks in glue and twine but I already had both in the house! A good wooden treehouse is costly and not easy to find second hand. They’re also usually decorated with stickers that can limit your imagination surrounding the setting. So zero dollars and plain it was!

Second, the waste aspect. All the cardboard used to make this DIY treehouse would have been heading right out the door and possibly into landfill, since recycling is no guarantee. Giving a second life to materials like cardboard boxes, toilet paper tubes and egg cartons is easy, fun and super cheap. They’re also endlessly versatile. Why throw out a perfectly useable material just to go out and spend money on more waste? 


Lastly – I actually find this super fun! The cutting, the glueing, the decorating – it’s like therapy for me. I haven’t had much time to spend crafting and creating since having kids so getting to exercise my creative side while also making a useful product is a huge win! 

Putting together a DIY anything can seem complicated and there definitely are DIY projects out there that aren’t worth it. Remember that a project like this treehouse are fully customizable and you could make it as simple or complicated as you want!

Projects like these are super fun to get the kids involved in too. You could have them draw out how they want it to look beforehand, get them to assist in the materials choosing and allow them to practice cutting out pieces. A fun way to work their imaginations and fine motor skills with an end result they can feel proud about. They will probably end up playing with it much more often if they’ve been involved in the making of it vs a toy you bought at a store too!

Treehouse not something you’re interested in? Remember, cardboard can be anything you want! You could make

  • A house
  • A castle
  • An igloo 
  • A shopping mall 
  • A log cabin 
  • A campground

Most important: don’t forget to have fun with it! Next one I’ll be creating is a castle for our upcoming princess themed birthday party.  



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Be sure to check out some of my other DIY recycled fun: 






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