Do your children love fairies, elves and other enchanted creatures? If so, they’ll enjoy creating this magic castle, which they can later spend hours of fun, imaginatively playing with. While ordinary old castles are cold stone monstrosities, this enchanted castle can be any colour you like, or all the colours of the rainbow – covered in glitter and other sparkly bits and pieces. Constructed with simple, easy-to-source items such as cardboard boxes and tubes, scrap paper and glitter, it’s loads of fun for youngsters to make as well.
Parts of this activity are rather complicated so it’s mainly suitable for older children (about ten years or older). However, younger ones will probably be alright if there is an adult close by to help with the tricky bits, such as attaching the turrets to the box.
When you finish making your magic castle, why not create some pretty flower fairies as well to call it home?
Time: 90 minutes
Age: Over 10's although younger children would probably manage with adult assistance
1 medium-sized cardboard box (ours was approximately 38cm x 18cm)
Four to seven paper towel rolls
Acrylic paint in various colours
One small sponge or wide paint brush
Scraps of pretty paper (old gift wrap can be used)
Cut-outs of butterflies and flowers (these can be cut from old gift-wrap, old cards or even junk mail)
*Plastic sticky tape
OPTIONAL - Craft gems, sparkly stickers, lacy paper doilies and any other pretty bits and pieces that you have on hand
Take your cardboard box and cut two of the flaps on top. Using the making tape, secure the other two flaps to the side of the box, so that there is still room for your hand to fit in. This provides an accessible covered space to place dolls or home-made fairies.
Using the double sided tape, attach the cardboard tubes close to each corner of the box. Make sure that the open part of the box is pointing upwards. When this has been done, attach the tubes to the box more securely with the masking tape. These will be your castle’s turrets.
If you want to add extra turrets to your castle, repeat the previous step. Four at either corner looks great, but some people like to have a few more. If you decide to add more, perhaps experiment with placing them at different heights as this can provide an interesting effect.
Optional – After measuring the edges of the box between the tubes, cut a piece of thin cardboard (or folded paper) to a corresponding length. Using the illustration below as a guide, cut pieces out along the length of this paper to create crenellations for your castle. When you have finished, glue these to your box. Alternatively, you could cut the top of the box to form the castle’s crenellations, although this could be tricky for young children as they might hurt their fingers while trying to cut the thick cardboard. This stage isn’t essential, but it does add an interesting effect.
You can now begin to paint your castle. Do this gently so the tubes don’t fall off. Since we were making our castle for fairies we chose pretty pastel colours. However, let your imagination run riot and use whatever colours you like best. We found that we could cover the surface more quickly and thoroughly by using a sponge or wide paintbrush. If necessary, use a second coat of paint. Some pretty patterns in a contrasting colour can also look very nice.
When the paint has completely dried, you can start to decorate your castle. Draw a series of circular shapes (with a diameter of approximately 12 centimetres) onto the pretty paper – the same as the number of turrets your castle has. Cut out these circles out, and mark their centre.
Draw a line through the centre of the circles, and cut along these. Fold these half-circles to form a cone shape and secure them with sticky tape or a staple. These should be of a size and shape that will easily fit over the top of the cardboard tubes, forming the roofs of the turrets. If this is done properly your castle will have a gorgeous fairy-tale kind of appearance.
Using coloured felt-tipped pens or paint, draw doors and windows onto your castle.
You can now decorate the castle with any embellishments you have on hand such as glitter, glitter glue, stickers, cut-out flowers, lacy paper doilies and craft jewels.
By attaching pieces of pretty paper to the end of a pipe-cleaner, you can also make colourful flags to adorn the castle. Your enchanted fairy castle is now complete. If you don’t know any fairies who’d like to move in, you might also want to make your own pretty flower fairies. Go to this webpage