How to Make Wind-Up Moving Cardboard Carousels or Merry-Go-Rounds

Today we will show you how to make a moving carousel / merry-go-round. You will be able to make this moving toy with some spools, some string, a pencil, and a few cardboard boxes. The motor works by winding string around a spool by spinning the pencil…then it moves on its own. Pretty cool…and you don’t have to use any difficult-to-use materials. Learn how to make your very own working carousel with the following step by step tutorials.


How to Make Wind-Up Moving Cardboard Carousels or Merry-Go-Rounds


2 boxes (A shoe box and a small pill box)

2 spools (A button hole twist spool and a regular size spool)

A new pencil with an eraser





Step 1


1. Cut a shoe box with cover in half. It will measure 6″ square and about 31/2″‘ high. With a pencil, make a small hole in the center of the shoe box cover (A ). Glue a small pill box with cover (about 1″ high) to the center at the bottom of the shoe box. With a pencil, punch a hole in the cover of the small box, directly under the top hole, as in Figure 1.

Step 2


2. Cut a cardboard circle 6 1/2 ” in diameter. In the exact center, on the underside, glue the small twist spool, as in Figure 2.

Step 3



3. Cut 6 small colored pictures of animals from a magazines or from the Internet (with parental assistance or permission) and mount on coardboard. Make small cardboard easel backs and glue to backs of animals to make them stand, as in Figure 3.

Step 4


4. Glue animal pictures, easel side in, around edge of cardboard circle, as in Figure 4.

Step 5



Tie one end of a four-foot piece of string tightly around the regular sized spool, as in Figure 5.

Step 6


For the canopy, cut a circle of heavy white paper, about 8″ in diameter. Scallop the edges. Paint red stripes radiating from the center of the canopy to the middle of each scallop. (shaded area) Make a straight cut from the edge to the center of the canopy, as shown by the broken line in the illustration. Lap over the cut edges about 1″ and glue together, as in Figure 6.

Step 7



To assemble merry-go-round, stick pencil through center cardboard circle; through the twist spool; through the cover of the large box; through the spool wound with string, and then through the hole in the pill box. Stick a thumb tack through the center of the canopy and pin firmly to the maser at the top of the pencil, as in Figure 7.

Step 8



Paste colored paper around three sides of the merry-go-round, and decorate with paint, as in Figure 8.



Pull the string at the open end of the box. To rewind, remove canopy top and twirl pencil so that the string rewinds around spool. Make sure end of string is at the right, otherwise animals will whirl around backwards when string is pulled.

And there you have it…enjoy making your moving merry-go-round carousels!!! Don’t forget to post your pictures!

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