There is such a fascination with watching marbles whizz down little slides in all directions. It can keep adults and kids amused for hours.
I remember buying a plastic marble run for my sons when they were young – they absolutely loved it.
Prices for these toys range from $20 to more than $80 in Australia but today’s projects will cost you next to nothing and will deliver the same fun.
The first project is a traditional marble run and the second project is more like a marble maze.
MARBLE RUN FUN
- Cardboard tubes, varying lengths.
- Large piece of cardboard – from a box is ideal
- Craft glue
- Sticky tape
- Box cutters
- Glitter/decorative gems (optional)
- Thin cardboard (for roofs – optional)
- Decide how big you want your run and cut the large piece of cardboard to size. This will be the base for your run.
- Decide how many slides you want for your run. I started with three but then added another group of three so that two could play and even have marble races.
- The easiest way to do this is to start with the tallest cylinder. Tape that onto your base.
- Tape another, shorter, cylinder onto your base, away from the first cylinder.
- Repeat with the next, shorter cylinder.
- Use the pencil to mark on those cylinders where you want your connecting slides to go, making sure you allow a decent angle for the marbles to roll on.
- Use the box cutters to make small windows for the slides to connect inside the cylinders.
- Cut the remaining cylinders in half, lengthways to form the slides.
- Measure the distance between the cylinders and cut the slides to fit, ensuring they are long enough to go through the little window and touch the back of the cylinder (so the marbles don’t fall straight down inside the cylinder).
- Cut a little U-shaped door at the bottom of the shortest cylinder, where the marble comes out.
- Push the slides into the cylinders. The high ends need to be right up against the cylinder wall. The low end should have a gap between it and the cylinder wall, large enough for the marble to drop through.
- Test, using a marble, to ensure they are placed correctly.
- Take the whole thing apart and paint in the colours of your choice.
- At this stage, if you want to make it look like castle towers, you can make the cone roofs.
- I used old manila folders for this as they are easy to bend. Cereal box cardboard would work well too.
- Wrap the folder or cardboard around the end of one of the cylinders and hold in place with one hand while bending the other end of the cardboard into a cone shape.
- Tape the pointed top to secure.
- You’ll notice the bottom part of the roof may have a gap and be uneven. You can trim this to make it even and then tape to secure.
- Once all your pieces are dry, attach the slides to the cylinders using glue.
- Carefully glue the cylinders into place on your base.
- Glue the roofs onto the top of the cylinders.
- Cut the top of the cone roof of the tallest cylinder so that a marble can be dropped through it.
- Decorate and have fun watching your marbles slide.
Last week I gave you a project using an old shoe box, Get Organised With These Great Recycling Projects and told you to keep the show box lid. You will need it for this project.
- Shoe box lid
- Paddle pop sticks – I used the large, pre-coloured ones.
- Craft glue
- Double sided tape
- Paint the inside of your lid.
- Design your maze, lying the paddle pop sticks flat on the inside of your lid.
- Once you are happy with the design, place double-sided tape where you want the paddle pop stick ‘walls’ to be.
- Add the sticks, laying them horizontally on their thin side, over the double-sided tape.
- Add a line of craft glue along the edges of the sticks.
- I like using craft glue for this project as it is safe and dries quickly, but if you are not doing it with little ones, a hot glue gun works wonders.
- Add some glitter or coloured paper to either side of the stick walls where there is exposed double-sided tape, as the marble could get stuck on this.
- Make the marble go from one end of the maze to the other by holding the lid in both hands and gently moving it up and down.
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Happy crafting and have a gleeful week.