Calafant Palace: A Cardboard Castle Fit for a Real Princess

06/05/2009 at 03:30 PM ET

Everyone knows that a kid’s favorite toy is a big, cardboard box. Our trip to Toy Fair showed that several companies are taking the concept farther and designing elaborate, chic and cool cardboard toys. They ship flat (in more cardboard!), they’re made from recycled materials and the prices range from $7-77. We know that any parent with a refrigerator box and a pair of scissors can become a hero in four minutes flat, but when we see a trend we have to tell you about it!

Calafant’s palace ($25)  is the most complicated cardboard toy we reviewed, but the result is a really detailed palace with turrets, windows and a working drawbridge! It’s 18″ tall and came in 13 pieces, and it took one capable adult and one impatient child 25 minutes to build. It wasn’t difficult because the instructions have pretty good photos, though it would help if the pieces were numbered so I could see which one was pictured.

The palace was designed by German cartoonist Boris Schimanski, who started building cardboard toys to entertain his own children. His ingenious designs have cutaways that fold down to make floors for doll-house-style play, plus they make the structure much stronger. If you’re put off by spending a ton on cardboard, consider one of their small toys, like the $7 dinosaur that comes with six markers for decorating. I like the castle so much that I plan to buy one for a birthday gift for my son’s friend, who insists she is an actual princess.


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tuffit on

OH! Gorgeous! My daughter would flip over this. All her toys would get a turn playing in this – her princesses, her pet shop pets and her fairies. I HAVE to get one.

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