IDST! Make-Along Workshop — Easy — 5 Minute Make

5 Minute Make: How to Make a Giant Cardboard Arrow (from a Fruit Box)

IDST! Make-Along Workshop — Easy — 5 Minute Make

5 Minute Make: How to Make a Giant Cardboard Arrow (from a Fruit Box)

Here is a really simple way to quickly make an arrow. Great for re-directing traffic, or pointing attention to something. This can be used in an artwork, a project, an action, as part of a protest. It can even be used for paid employment or to promote your business.

You will need:

  • An empty fruitbox (from a supermarket)
  • Scissors or a Craft Knife
  • Cheap Paint
  • A Permanent Marker Pen
  • Pencil
  • Decorations
  • Battery-Operated Lights

An open space to make a mess is advised.

In this video, Neil is using a big open warehouse space (Macclesfield Community ArtSpace) which allows him to make hundreds of them.


Step 1. –  Take the box and unpack it

Unpack the box by pulling the sides down. Often glue attaches the sides, so it can be useful to use knife or scissors to prise the sides open.

Arrows Step 1
Arrows Step 2

Step 2. Cut off 3 sides (leaving top flaps)

With scissors or knife cut the bottom and side flaps, leaving 1 flap at the top.

Step 3. – Draw the head of the arrow with a pencil and cut it out

Using a pencil, draw an equilateral triangle from the very bottom of the flaps to the top at the middle of the flap.

Arrows Step 3
Arrows Step 4

Step 4. Paint the Arrow and Write your Message

Paint the arrow (with one colour of paint). Wait for it to dry. You can then write your message with permanent marker, using a contrasting, different colour.

Step 5. – Use your arrow to point to something!

White Arrow

How IDST! use it:

IDST! use arrows for events and to guide our experiences. In São Paulo, we neighbour’s walked round the block to meet each other an event called “Volta Na Quarteirão”. This was very much inspired by Rosanna Cade’s artwork “Walking Holding”, where strangers had to hold hands and walk around the city.
In 2015, Neil created an experiment called “Comedy of Arrows” – a series of performative stationary artworks with giant arrows – some of the ideas can be seen here
More recently, the idea has been used in a number of different ways, including as turning the city into a series of yes/no choices as part of a activist art demonstration against inaction with Climate with XR – Extinction Rebellion.

Making arrows is really simple, and can be scaled up!

You can make arrows very easily. Just find a fruit box. You will need some sharp scissors or a craft knife, some paint – any good thick paint. Emulsion will do – and a permanent marker to write your message clearly.