I was thinking about making some sort of ornament, but then this maze idea came to me. If you already have some paint, glue, and tape (ribbon would work too), then this instructable won't cost anything! This might make a good stocking stuffer for little kids- or you really could hang it from a tree if you wanted. Maybe write the recipients name on the backside.
The actual building of this didn't take too much time- waiting for paint/glue to dry between steps was the longest thing.
Step 1: Materials
The main piece is the round box that those cheese wedges come in (probably any kind of small flat box would do- doesn't even have to be round).
Strips cut from junk mail cards make the 'channels' of the maze.
The plastic for the cover is from some packaging I saved (yes, I do have a lot of junk around- no side eye please :-} ).
usual craft supplies- pencil, scissors, etc.
Step 2: Step 1
Before anything, I needed to make/draw a maze- it turned out to be harder than expected. After some futile efforts, Google came to the rescue. This page of simple mazes comes from the All Kids Network.
After making an outline of the box, I drew a copy of the chosen maze. Counting the number of rings needed, I made a paper template and took the measurements from there. The reason for this step is because the sides of the box prevented my ruler from laying flat and getting an accurate measure. On a strip of paper that fit inside the box I marked the circles on the paper and transferred them to the box. Then I redrew the maze inside the box and outlined it for better visibility.
The pix below are worth a thousand words of explaining!
Step 3: Step 2
After finding the height of the box, I cut strips that size from junk mail cards (any fairly stiff paper should work). You want all the 'channels' to be the same height, so some accuracy is called for.
Because we're dealing with curves, I curled the strips around a fairly big marker (if you use something really skinny like a pencil, it's much more likely to get a bend instead of curl). This makes the strips much easier to work with.
Starting from the center, I cut and glued down the strips following the pattern on the box. The innermost ones had to get braced in place while drying- when those were set, the rest were put in- they used a little bracing as well. The small perpendicular pieces that make the 'stops' were done last.
Step 4: Step 3
Moving on to the top - I found a lid the right size to use as a guide to mark the top half of the box for cutting. The idea here is to get rid of most of the cardboard and replace it with plastic for a see-thru cover.
Originally, I marked the inside and was going to use a scissors, but then realized it should be marked on the outside and cut with an exacto.
An emory board smoothed up the edges a bit.
Step 5: Step 4
Before painting the bottom, it got a coat of gesso as the print on the strips would be hard to cover otherwise. Both pieces then got a coat of spray paint (regular paint & brush would also work, I already had the spray so went with that).
Step 6: Step 5
In order to make the 'channels' more visible, I painted the top edges.
Step 7: Step6
In order to finish the top, I needed to cut a piece of plastic to fit inside. After cutting away the excess, I drew around the box top on the plastic and cut out a circle just inside the line. Then (after cleaning) glued the plastic inside the lid.
Step 8: Step 7
To mark a start and finish place, I used a star design from a matchbook (using paper punch) and cut a triangle from a piece of packaging from some tape- both pieces were then glued to some blue paper so they stand out more, and finally glued onto the puzzle.
Step 9: Step 8
Almost done now- test the maze to see if the bead can actually find it's way to the center- if all works well, glue on the top.
Step 10: Finishing Touches
Mask the top so nothing gets on the cover, then paint bottom and sides. After it dries, put a strip of tape (or whatever you like) around the sides-
I just used this painter's tape because of the color. All done!