making DIY paper building blocks

If you’re looking for simple activities to do with kids, science projects, easy crafts to make at home with paper, and fun indoor activities that don’t take forever to organise, you’ll love this easy indoor or outdoor kids activity.

Easy paper craft ideas are always a hit in our house, and so I’m always keen to find more fun things to make at home with paper. I was really excited to try out these paper playing blocks, and they did not disappoint!

This week, I’ll show you how to fold and make three different kinds of simple paper building blocks. They make great kids building toys and super fun alternative building blocks for toddlers, preschoolers, and younger children, but they are a great STEAM and STEM activity for older kids too.

What are the materials needed to make paper building blocks?

Below are the materials you’ll need to make your own educational paper or cardboard building blocks: 

  • Rectangular-shaped paper (we used colored paper)
  • Card or Newspaper (we used A4)
  • Scissors or Paper cutter
  • Pencil
  • Tape
  • Cutting mat (optional)
  • Ruler (optional)

How to make paper building blocks

It’s simple! Here’s the process on how to make DIY paper blocks. 

1. First, take your piece of paper and lay it down in front of you. Score paper vertically to make even folds. Then, trim into even strips along the scored lines.

Pro tip: Using a paper cutter during the trimming process is the fastest method. Just make sure to place the paper on a cutting mat.

2. There are two ways to make sure your strips are about the same size as each other:

You can measure the length of the paper and divide it by the number of blocks you want to make, then use a ruler to mark the width of each strip. This will make the folding easier. Don’t make the strips too thin though!

If you don’t want to use a ruler, you can make scored lines on the paper. Fold it in half and open it back out.

3. Score paper on the left and right edges to the middle to create two further fold marks.

4. You’ll now have four sections to your paper, divided by three-fold marks. Open the paper completely.

5. Fold each of the four sections in half separately and open the paper back out. You’ll now have 8 sections.

6. Lightly drag the paper cutter to trim along the fold marks of the scored paper crosswise to make 8 strips.

Repeat the scoring and trimming process based on the number of paper strips you’ll need to complete the project. The more layers you need for your block, the more strips you’ll need to trim.

Once you have all your strips, it’s time to start folding them into blocks!

How to assemble simple paper building blocks

Creating paper blocks in shapes like circles, triangles, and squares is the best way to start your project once you have the strips of colored paper prepared.

Circular blocks

Take a strip of paper and tape the open edges together to make a circular shape.

Triangular blocks

Making a triangle is easy. Simply take a strip of paper and measure the length with a ruler. Divide the length by 3.

Use a pencil and ruler to mark off three sections of equal length. Each section is a side of the triangle.

Fold along the two marks that divide up the sections, open the strip back out and then tape the open edges together.

If you don’t have a ruler, you can bring each end of the strip towards the center and then bring one over the other and fold to create three roughly equal sections.

Square blocks

Take a strip of paper and fold it in half. Open it back out.

Repeat folding by bringing each end towards the center and fold to create two further fold marks.

Open the strip back out and then tape the open edges together.

Create your own paper structure

Once you get the blocks assembled into shapes, this is where the learning and fun for kids (and the whole family!) really starts!

Now, picture the final product you want to make. If you need inspiration, search online for ideas. The ones with sample images can be very helpful especially if it’s your first time creating one.

Start to get creative with building all kinds of interesting paper structures or paper art projects and pretend to be engineers as you assemble the blocks and test if the structure is sturdy enough by balancing objects on top.

To give you an idea, we created a castle for our first paper structure project where we used different shapes of paper blocks.

Start positioning the paper blocks on the ground or table in any design. You can secure the shapes with glue if you want to enhance the sturdiness of the structure. Just make sure that you wait for it to dry. Also, try to avoid putting on too much glue as this can affect the weight of the paper blocks when you pile up a few layers causing the paper structure to easily fall.

You can form the triangles into a row alternating which way they point. This creates a zig-zag effect and is helpful for building taller structures.

You can also stack the rectangles on top of each other to create a wall.

For the squares, you can make a pyramid by stacking them in rows of decreasing size.

There are lots of things that you and your kids can build with paper block shapes. Be inspired by what you see around you in the world and set yourself up for an engineering challenge.

Closing thoughts

Paper building blocks are a great way to spend some quality time with the kids (or by yourself!) and be creative.

Whether you make simple shapes or more complicated paper art, the process of making and playing with paper building blocks is sure to be enjoyable. So, what are you waiting for? Give it a try!

You can also use these construction blocks as toys for children to play a fun building blocks game – pile a few layers up like skittles and see who can knock the most over, or try to decorate and build the best or tallest tower as a cool group art, design, and engineering challenge.

We find these paper folding blocks are just as much a hit with girls as they are with boys!

If you like fun and easy paper crafts for kids, STEAM preschool activities for STEM enrichment, or fun things to do at the weekend, we think you’ll like this Magic Blooming Flowers activity.

Questions for kids

Here are some questions to get your kids thinking!

  • What have you built with your paper construction blocks?
  • Which shape did you prefer and why?
  • Which shape was easiest to build with?
  • Which shape felt the most stable?
  • Which shape do you think would be the strongest?

We’d love to see your awesome paper block structures. Make sure you tag us @supastem and use the hashtag #supastemclub so we can see your amazing creations!

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