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Cardboard Camel

This is Herman. He's our new Camel.

We are pretty excited about Herman, as you can see.


The idea for Herman came as I was trying to fall asleep one night. CAMEL COUCH ran through my head like an old memory. I didn't quite achieve the level of couch I was going for as I realized that would, in fact, require a massive box. (At least, if I was going to create the couch in the manner that unfolded (budabump) in my head. We settled for chair. He's pretty cool though. He can stay for a bit.

Herman can hold about 60 pounds. I'm not an engineer and I have not tested this rigorously but I will say that I have placed my, ahem, wee bit more than 155 pound body on Herman and the old guy handled it just fine. My children of about 30 and 45 pounds sit comfortably on Herman with no issue. They have been instructed not to act nuts on Herman. After all, he is a camel and he does not deserve that.

Let's get started constructing this fella, shall we?


*One large box (24 L X 16 W or so)

This box should be in good shape. It should be fully intact without dents or breaks.

*A secondary box for the neck and head region. Preferably a long box. It could be done in pieces but is more stable as a continuous piece.

*Hot glue/gun

*Mod Podge

*Brown bags without print on one side

*Duct tape

*Xacto knife



*Desire to make a camel


1. Use Xacto knife to cut down one side of your box. Lay it on a surface  you can cut on.

2. You now have two ends. Make a vertical cut on the narrower section to leave about 3 inches. See pics below.

This end.

When you set your box up, it will look like this:

3. Attach the open side together with duct tape first. Use hot glue to fill in open or weak spots.

4. Cut the back upper short flap to fit snugly in between the upper box flap creases. It will need a triangular shape. Hot glue it into place. You are beginning to form the seat.

5. Now measure 6 inches or so from the back of the upper flap and make a slit down to the part where the flap bends. Measure about 5 inches from the front and make another slit down to the flap bend. Repeat on the other side. You are forming the seat and the internal hump structures here. Glue the middle part down onto the portion you already have glued into place.

6. Using scrap cardboard, cut two long pieces to fold and glue over the seat section for reinforcements. These pieces need to overlap in the center AND fold over the side a few inches. 

7. Make the head and neck now. Draw out a camel head and neck on your secondary piece of cardboard. Cut it out. Repeat. Glue them together.

8. Go to the front of your box. Make a cut down the 3 inch piece that you created in the beginning. Your camel neck will fit into this. Think about the size of your camel's neck while making this cut. Or more precisely, measure it. The base of your camel's neck should fit snugly in. Do not make this cut too wide.

9. Hot glue the neck in and the upper flaps surrounding the neck together. Clamp or hold until dried.

Here's a pic of the camel to keep you going!

Did that help? Worth it, worth it, repeat.

10. Now cut two long pieces of cardboard, 6 inches wide from your scraps to form the hump arch. They can be as long as you want depending on how high you want the humps. Glue each side of the pieces down onto your camel to make the base of the humps.

11. Using your Xacto knife cut out the camel's feet as though they are folded under him and just slightly showing. See below. I made a semicircular cut in the back flap too. This is not for function but merely form. 

12. Now begin to build the contours of the camel. I intentionally did not contour the entire camel. I wanted it to remain clearly a box. I did feel the humps, face and rear end needed some rounding out. To do this, wad up newspaper tightly and adhere with tape to desired areas.

13. Combine 2 parts Mod Podge or white glue with 1 part water to dilute. Tear long pieces of brown bags into strips. Dip into the mixture and apply to the camel to create the exterior. Think about the application of your pieces in terms of stability. One way to think about it is to apply the pieces like the musculature of the body. Use long strips to join different section and create stability and short pieces to create visual depth.

14. Apply the brown bag to the entire camel. Allow to dry in sections and repeat application for total coverage.

Optional 15. Make a saddle by measuring the inner size of the seat. Also measure how far down you'd like it to do on the sides. Create a pattern from another brown bag. Cut sew, stuff, add trim, make it fun! (This is a tutorial for another time!)

Now, add pom pom reigns and enjoy the wonderful project that you have created!

One thing to note. You could and probably should reinforce your camel underneath with double or triple thick cross sections of cardboard to keep the box from sagging in eventually. I have not done this yet. I do think it will be necessary for the long term stability of the camel. It is not necessary for the short term. 

And now for another picture of Herman. 


Questions? Comments?

Leave them below!

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