How to Build a Pyramid

Studying Egypt? Find out how to build a pyramid replica from cardboard, for a school project.

Age: 10 and up

Difficulty: Easy

Time scale: 2 out of 5



  • Cardboard (Not cereal box board. It will warp when painted!)
  • Scissors
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • paper
  • masking tape
  • white glue or hot glue
  • Paint brush
  • Plastic yogurt container
  • 4 - 5 Tablespoons of sand

Craft paint in light tan color, OR a mix of:

  • country maple
  • bright yellow
  • light antique white

If you are studying Egypt in school, you are probably learning about the Valley of the kings and the Great Pyramids. These were built over 4,000 years ago. They were used as burial sites for the Egyptian kings. Wouldn't it be great to take a trip to Egypt?

For now, you can find out how to build a pyramid, but not quite how the Egyptians did it. This will be much easier! This lightweight replica can be made to go along with a school assignment.

These instructions on how to build a pyramid, are for one that will fit in your backpack, so it is easy to take to school. If you want to make one bigger, you can. Cut a door in it and turn it into a house for your cat! Dress the cat up as Cleopatra. Okay, maybe not.

There are many different projects that can done to replicate different items from the Egyptian culture. The sphinx, sarcophagus, canopic jars and hieroglyphics, are all projects that I have done.

Ready to find out how to build a Pyramid?

There is a way to make this, from one solid piece of paper that is folded up. If you are using anything heavier than paper, it is difficult to make the fold lines. This is done in separate pieces because it is made of cardboard. It will be more durable than one made with paper.

Start by making a pattern. Take a regular sized sheet of paper and fold it in half vertically. (up and down, long ways). Now unfold the paper. Use a ruler to draw a horizontal straight line, across the paper, about 2 inches up from the bottom. Use the center fold line as a reference and mark a line, so it goes over 3.5 inches on each side. The line should be a total of 7 inches across.

Measure up 6.5 inches from the bottom line and make another mark on the center fold line. Now, place your ruler on this point and then angle it down, to the end of the bottom line, on one side. Draw a line with a pencil. Now do the other side, the same way. Now you should have a perfectly even triangle shape. Cut this out.

Keep in mind, these instructions for how to build a pyramid, have not really taken into consideration the actual scaled down dimensions of the real structure. If you want to be that particular, you need to really like math. It happens to be my worst subject!

Trace around the pattern, onto a piece of fairly heavy cardboard. (Don't use cereal box board. It isn't heavy enough and will warp, when you paint it.)

Make four of these triangle shapes and cut them out.

Lay these flat on your work surface, with the side pieces edge to edge.

Hook together with masking tape.


Now fold together, bending at the seams, with the tape to the inside.

You will now have the pyramid shape.

Add a piece of masking tape to the inside of this last seam.


Run a strip of glue down the seams, from the outside.

You can use either white glue or a hot glue gun.

Make sure the sides are all even and it is sitting square.


Set the pyramid on a piece of cardboard and trace around the bottom. Now measure it with a ruler to see if it really is square. Adjust it if necessary. It should be just over 7 inches square, but will depend on the thickness of the cardboard you have used.

Cut this out and glue to the bottom. Let the glue dry.

Mix up 2.5 tablespoons of country maple, 1.5 tablespoons bright yellow and 1.5 tablespoons of light antique white craft paint, into a plastic container. If you have a tan colored paint, that is a nice sand color, you can use that, instead of mixing various colors together. I didn't have a color that I liked, so that is why I mixed colors.

Mix in approximately 4 tablespoons of fine sand. The mixture should be quite thick, but not dry. If it is a bit dry, add more paint. If it still seems runny, add a bit more sand. 

Apply a fairly thick mixture, over the whole pyramid with a medium size paint brush.

Before the paint is dry, use a pencil to make six horizontal lines across each side. You won't actually be making pencil lines, just indentations into the sand coating. If that isn't working, you will need to apply a thicker coat of your paint mixture.


Make sure the lines are even, so they are connected on all sides.

Now draw vertical lines between the horizontal lines to form blocks that are about an inch wide. As you go up, stagger the vertical lines so they do NOT line up with the next row above. Let the paint dry.

It's done! If you are using this as a school project, I'm sure the teacher is going to like it!

Now that you know how to build a pyramid, you may decide to make a REALLY big one. Find a really big cardboard box and just increase the measurements. Make a dog house, a kitty hut or even a playhouse. Have fun!

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