Jul 11th, 2023

Updated:  Jul 14th, 2023


How to Make a DIY Air Conditioner Out of Cardboard

Summer is here, and so is the heat!

While running central air all summer long is tempting, that strategy can lead to higher energy bills and frequent duct maintenance (aka, more bills!).

So, how can you make your room cool in the summer? Our out-of-the-box solution is to make your own out of cardboard.

Do DIY Air Conditioners Work?

Creating an air conditioning unit out of cardboard can be a fun DIY project. Although it may not provide the same cooling power as a traditional air conditioner, it can help circulate air and provide a cooling effect in a small area.

How to Make AC Using Cardboard

Ready to get crafty and cool? Follow these step-by-step directions to create a cardboard box air conditioner.

cardboard air conditioner sits on desk

Materials Needed

  1. One large piece of sturdy cardboard
  2. Utility knife or scissors
  3. Measuring tape or ruler
  4. Pencil or marker
  5. Small electric fan
  6. Ice or frozen water bottles
  7. Duct tape or strong adhesive

Step 1: Measure and Mark

First, you'll need to create the base of your air conditioning unit. Measure the dimensions of your fan and mark these measurements on the cardboard.

Using a ruler or measuring tape, draw two parallel lines a few inches apart to create a slot for the fan to fit into.

Step 2: Cut the Cardboard

Using a utility knife or scissors, cut out the base of your air conditioning unit along the measured dimensions.

Then, carefully cut along the marked lines to create the slot for the fan.

Step 3: Create the Sides and Back

Measure the height and width of the fan's slot and mark those measurements on the cardboard.

Draw two rectangles that will act as the sides of your air conditioning unit. Make sure they are slightly taller than the fan slot to allow airflow.

Next, draw another rectangle that will serve as the back of the unit. Cut out the side and back pieces from the cardboard.

Step 4: Assemble Your DIY Air Conditioner

Attach the side pieces to the base using duct tape or strong adhesive, and make sure they are aligned properly. Then attach the back piece to the sides and the base using tape or adhesive, forming a three-sided structure.

Step 5: Insert the Fan

Carefully slide the fan into the slot on the front of the unit. Ensure that it fits securely and doesn't wobble. If needed, use additional cardboard or tape to stabilize the fan and prevent it from moving.

Step 6: Prepare for Cooling

Place a container of ice or frozen water bottles inside the unit behind the fan. Make sure the ice doesn't come into direct contact with the fan to prevent damage.

Step 7: Turn on the Fan and Enjoy!

Plug in the fan and turn it on to the desired speed setting. The fan will blow air over the ice or cold objects, creating a cooling effect as the air circulates through the unit.

Remember that this DIY air conditioning unit made from cardboard is a simple and temporary solution for cooling small spaces. It may not be as effective as a traditional air conditioner, especially in hotter climates.

Lastly, ensure safety precautions while working with utility knives and electrical appliances, and never leave your cardboard air conditioner unit unattended.

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