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  • Emily

Egg Carton Train

Delight your kid by turning your recycling into a colorful and fun train! My son helped me paint this but didn't seem to believe me when I told him we were making a train. But the second the smoke stack went on, it clicked in his mind and I couldn't keep his sweet, pudgy hands off of it long enough for the glue to dry.


What you'll need:

  • Egg carton

  • Toilet paper tube

  • Straw or small cardboard tube

  • Sheet of paper

  • Glue

  • Scissors

  • Twine

  • Paint/Paint brush


Step one will be to prep your egg carton for painting. If you are making this with a younger child I advise doing this without them around, as my toddler got quite antsy waiting for something to paint. Remove the lid of the egg carton. From left to right, cut the carton into 6 pieces, each 2 cups large. Then trim up 5 of them so they will work as cars for your train and cut the remaining one in half so you can have one cup as your smoke stack.

Time to paint! We made our toilet paper tube (the engine) and the tender (egg carton section) blue, our caboose (egg carton section) red, and the rest of the cars and smoke stack (remaining egg cartons) green.

While those dry, paint your white piece of paper whatever color you would like your wheels, etc to be. We went with yellow. You can, of course, simply use construction paper, but I like that the paint makes it a little thicker and brighter colored than the construction paper we have.

The paper will dry faster than the egg cartons and once it does it is time to cut out all the wheels (and there are a lot!) Fold your sheet of paper in half. Trace your toilet paper tube once. This will be the end covers of your engine. Trace one large circle and 12 smaller circles. I used the bottom of our paint for the big circle and the cap of our paint for the small ones.

Cut out your engine end cap circles. Glue them on to your toilet paper tube.

Cut out the rest of the circles. On all but 2 of the remaining circles, paint a small dot in the middle.

Using one of the circles you set aside, cut a small triangle out of it, making it look a bit like pac man.

Then glue it together to be a cone on the whistle of your train. For the pillar of my whistle, I used a small cardboard tube that is in the middle of our dog poo bags. I am guessing that isn't something everyone will have, so alternatively a straw cut down smaller or a rolled up and glued piece of paper will work. They just might require some hot glue to get them to stick to your engine through any sort of playing.

Once your wheels have dried, glue them on to your cars. The engine will get the large pair of wheels in the back and a small pair up front. Then glue on your smoke stack and whistle to your engine.

The last step is to use your twine to connect the cars. Poking the holes is best left to a grown up. I poked holes using a wine bottle opener but you can use a hole punch or whatever you want that gets the job done.

If you can keep eager hands at bay, give the glue plenty of time to dry or you may find yourself losing wheels and smoke stacks. Small toys pilfered from elsewhere make for great passengers. As you can see, Daniel Tiger took a break from his trolly to come ride our train through our chair and blanket tunnel.

I'd love to see how your trains turned out! Post a picture below!

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