Cardboard Dinosaurs: Our DIY Movie Set

Cardboard dinosaurs with a Jurassic Park DIY theme movie night! This was so much fun! If your kids love movies, combine that enthusiasm with creativity, hands-on skill-building, and family fun. Build your own movie set!

Cardboard, tape, spray paint, imagination – and a little glow-in-the-dark paint.

It was more fun building our set than actually watching the movie! This can easily be simplified or scaled down for indoor winter fun.



  • Cardboard (lots and lots!)
  • Scissors/knife
  • Zipties (yes, they were useful)
  • Tape (duct)
  • Spray paint (some textured and some glossy)
  • Glow-in-the-dark paint (this stuff worked really well)
  • String, sticks and stakes, tissue paper

Making Cardboard Dinosaurs

We encourage free-hand drawing as it helps develop spatial skills, dexterity, and observation and connects our hands to our minds.

A tip: You can use a projector to project the image of a dinosaur onto the cardboard and trace it out if you prefer.

We were having fun and didn’t fuss over proportions and sizing. Once cut out, we spray-painted everything and painted a few glow-in-the-dark features (tip for this in a later section below). Some of the pieces are taped together, which is not exactly professional-grade work, but loads of fun.

The Cardboard Jurassic Park Jeeps

For the jeep, we opened up boxes and flattened them, laying them out in the approximate shape of the vehicle. After taping it together using copious amounts of duct tape, we spray-painted it similarly to the Jeep that was in the movie. The tires were made separately and glued on after.

The second jeep was just a box large enough to fit into, spray painted, and we added a piece to go around the neck. This was the jeep that was used to pick up our guests and bring them into the park.

The cool Jeep logo was made with cardboard and a hand-painted logo.


The iconic Jurassic Park Gate

We stacked boxes and taped them (real duct tape held the best), and similar to the movie, we tapered the towers (we put the largest boxes at the bottom and then added smaller and smaller ones going up to the top). Some boxes we had to cut to size a little. This way, there was a little more strength to the gate. We crafted the lights from halved egg cartons and some tissue paper.

For the sign, we cut the letters out of cardboard and painted them, then glued them to a large flat piece of cardboard we had pieced together before.

The doors were masterfully crafted from taped-together pieces of large cardboard 😛

We found it was easier to spray paint everything before assembling it all together.

Tip: We assembled the doors to the sides of the gate with some tape and by looping zip ties: one at the top, one at the middle, and one at the bottom. This helped keep the doors up as the tape just wasn’t strong enough. We put bricks and rocks at the bottom of the gate inside the empty boxes to keep it upright.

Little Extra Touches

We also made movie ticket stubs for our guests (complete with the portion you rip off, just like at the theatre). We didn’t make the park passes (sourced from Etsy) – and we’re keeping those!

Cardboard Dinosaur Finishing Touches

We attached the cardboard dinosaurs to the trees (complete with some leafy vegetation in the brontosaurus mouth).

Then we taped and tied the jeep to a little table (which we used to put the popcorn and drinks on) and used some wooden garden stakes behind to keep it propped up. The jeep blocked the view of the screen and chairs.

Then we “picked” up the guests and handed them their passes, “drove” them across the “jungle” (our yard) and into the park through the gate doors (“What’ve they got in there, King Kong?”).

We found an inexpensive projector and movie screen, set up our camping chairs (with blankets), and brought out the popcorn. Let the show begin!

 More Cardboard Ideas

Do you have a mountain of cardboard boxes? Turn them into ancient Roman armour or colorful turtle! See this post for a free paper mache recipe and patterns.

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