Cardboard Box Crafts Postman Pat Van
Arts & Crafts,  Creative Play Ideas,  Creative Stories Crafts,  Imaginative Play,  Outdoor Play

Awesome DIY Postman Pat Cardboard Van That Will Make Your Child’s Day!

Here at Mum’s Creative Cupboard I like to keep things simple….

I love simple play, using household items and turning them into play opportunities.

I also love to get crafty, and dreaming up new activities for you and your little one’s to have a go at…

But every now and then I like to go BIG!

And this is one of those occasions!

The other day we were able to get hold of some big cardboard boxes (and lots of them!) and so we decided to get creative and build something (after we’d made a temporary maze from the lounge into the kitchen of course!)

After much debate about which well known children’s vehicle we were going to try and recreate, we decided to have a go at recreating Greendale’s very own Postman Pat Van!

I must add at this point, that this was very much a family project and we had a lot of fun making it – and if you have any large cardboard boxes then why not give it a go –  Or maybe create a mini version!

Postman Pat and his Black and White Cat

Materials Needed:

  • At least 2 Large Cardboard Boxes (the bigger the better!)

  • Duct Tape

  • Masking Tape

  • 4 IKEA Children’s Plastic Plates

  • Red, Black & Silver/Grey Paint

  • Corrugated card (if not using for the boxes)

  • Paper plate

  • Plastic tubs (we used hummus pots)

  • Yellow Card (and/or yellow paint)

  • Split Pins

  • Glue (glue gun makes this a whole lot easier!

  • Blocks for raising up (this is only necessary if you have a solid base as we do but you could make the whole thing with no bottom making it easier to attach the wheels – more on this at the end!)

  • Cardboard Boxes for parcels (we used Easter Egg boxes!) 

  • String to wrap your parcels with

(Jess the Cat is of course optional but adds a lovely touch!)

How to Make the Frame of your Van

To begin with I suggest using your biggest box as the back part of the van with the flaps at either end on the sides (the back flaps will become the back doors of the van and the front will become the slope down to the bonnet of the van), and then finding (or making) a smaller box to sit at the front for the bonnet like this:

You will need to tape this together as best you can with duct tape on the inside (if you use it on the outside it is very difficult to paint over)

To attach the two main pieces together we used two long pieces of card that slid inside holding the whole shape together)

Next you will need to make your sloping windscreen – this is mostly done by eye, we had printed a picture out of the van to have as a guide throughout this build!

A helpful tip though – once you have cut one side, use that piece to mirror the exact same angle on the other side as shown here:

Okay so now you have your basic shape you have the option to neaten off some edges and make the whole things a little bit more cohesive

We did this by adding strips around each part of the windscreen and with the bumper and dashboard and by cutting out windows on the side doors

Finally before beginning to paint, we sealed all the edges with masking tape on the outside as we knew that the corrugated cardboard edges would be difficult to paint over and this would give it an overall smooth edge (we did find that the paint coverage on the masking tape and cardboard box was slightly different but we felt this wouldn’t be as noticeable as the exposed cardboard)

We used red poster paint to paint this and we did two coats (we could probably have done with a third coat but we wanted to get on to the next bit so just went with the two!) And so now you should have a red van that looks something like this (this was before the second coat so you can see the masking tape a bit more):

Crafting the Finer Details

You have your van shape, but on it’s own it can look a little boxy and not quite right – but just wait – this is where the magic happens!

The features of this van are what make it and so here is a run down of what we made and how:

The silver bits:

We used silver paint which I picked up reduced months ago, knowing that it would come in handy for something one day!


  • We wrapped card around the bottom to create the bumper and lip of the bonnet

  • We cut our circles slightly bigger than the hummus pots to give the headlights a bit of a rim and then used a glue gun to stick the hummus pot on to the card once dry

  • We also painted a rectangle of corrugated cardboard for the grille

  • And lastly I cut circles for the centre of the wheels

The black bits:

We just happened to have a bottle of black spray paint which we used for this next bit (normal paint would work fine for all the card I’m just not sure how it would work with the wheels as we’ve never painted these plates before)


  • We used 4 IKEA children’s plates to make the wheels (we hardly use these any more and they are often used as a tray for painting and crafts so this seemed an apt way to use them!) We sprayed them with the paint and one coat completely covered them! (I was amazed at how good they looked and we’ll be experimenting with painting them again in the future I’m sure!)

  • The wing mirrors were made of card with a little extra flap so that we could cut a slit in the van and just slot them in

  • The steering wheel was made from a paper plate and taped on to the inside of the dashboard

  • The latch was also made from cardboard – you need a long piece attached to the door with a split pin so that it rotates, and on the other door you need an upright piece of cardboard which is mounted on a smaller piece of cardboard so that the latch fits behind it (hopefully the picture helps explain this – my husband was the brains behind this part..!)

The Finishing Touches

These next bits will really bring your van to life and make you feel like you’ve made the real deal!

  • The number plate is iconic and really finishes off the front of the van making it instantly recognisable – this was a small piece of yellow card and in black felt tip we wrote PAT 1

  • The other major part is the Royal Mail logo on the side – I was so excited when I finally got to put this bit on! We used the Silhoutte Cameo to cut out our letters but it would work just as well if you printed out the logo on a red background and glued it on to the van directly or if you want to have a go and cut it out by hand – good luck!

  • We decided that it wouldn’t be Postman Pat’s van without some Parcels, so we wrapped up some Cereal and Easter Egg boxes with brown paper and string

  • And of course Jess the Cat made an appearance, although this cat is actually called Poppy I believe… 

Delivery Time!

And that’s all there is to it..!

Although this is a big project, you don’t have to go as big, or as detailed – children love imaginative play (even my own two children who have long outgrown Postman Pat, absolutely loved playing in their van today pretending to deliver mail!) But if you fancy giving it a go, it is well worth the effort!

If you do have a go at making your own Postman Pat Van then please do send your photos in – I’d love to add some examples to this post over time so be sure to email them over to me at Mum’s Creative Cupboard and I’ll update the post at some point!

Happy Crafting!

The Mum’s Creative Cupboard Family x