The popsicle stick bridge is a classic science demonstration and competition. Every year many students world-wide build bridges made soley from popsicle sticks and glue, to see which designs can hold the most weight.

We built one, using maybe 140 sticks, give or take a few. Not expecting it to hold much weight, we were surprised by how strong it ended up being! (results in last step)

Step 1: Design your bridge

There are many ways to build bridges, both real bridges and popsicle stick bridges. Do some research, be creative, and remember - triangles are strong.
A triangle spreads out weight and is much more stable than a simple rectangle or square support. Be sure to incorporate lots of triangles into your bridge design. More popsicle sticks doesn't necessarily mean a stronger bridge.

In fact, according to the internet, "If there is a single most important shape in engineering, it is the triangle. Unlike a rectangle, a triangle cannot be deformed without changing the length of one of its sides or breaking one of its joints. In fact, one of the simplest ways to strengthen a rectangle is to add supports that form triangles at the rectangle's corners or across its diagonal length. A single support between two diagonal corners greatly strengthens a rectangle by turning it into two triangles."[link]

My design consists of two main bottom supports, and two across the top, and then a lot of triangles across the sides, the top and bottom, and going from the bottom of one side to the top of the other. Very similar to the one in the diagram.

Draw your design on paper, and estimate the number of sticks you will need.
Be creative with your design!
<p>Mine held 492 lbs! Anyone held that much?</p>
<p>How about using a glue gun for steps 3-5? It dries faster!</p>
<p>Thanks for this project. Its working out great so far!</p>
<p>Is it ok to use ordinary glue? and What are those gray things on the side of the bridge to hold it up?</p>
<p>how much did your bridge weight</p>
<p>How do i comment, ive been trying so hard. I cant!!!!!</p>
<p>you are so f***ing dum</p>
<p>Why do i comment</p>
<p>Why do i comment</p>
<p>Why do i comment</p>
<p>Who the Hell do i comment</p>
<p>by comminting</p>
<p>Hoi Huntery</p>
<p>Hi Huntwer</p>
<p>010</p><p> 1</p><p> 1</p>
<p>how the hell do u make this stupid bridge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!</p>
<p>how the hell do u make this stupid bridge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!</p>
<p>Shut up!!!!!!!!!!1</p>
<p>with popsicel stics</p><p>lol</p>
<p>how the hell do u make this stupid bridge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!</p>
<p>how the hell do u make this stupid bridge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!</p>
<p>Is it okay to use ordinary glue?</p>
<p>AWESOME thats really cool! also congrats nicholas</p>
<p>wow this is nice but i would appreciate a video of how you did it or a more detailed one.</p><p>this isn't bad its awesome !!!!!</p>
<p>This project was so awesome when I entered it in the science fair that I won 1st place and won a $100 Visa Gift Card. Yay</p>
<p>Cool design! I'm doing this for class and this would probably work super well! Thanks for the tips and info.</p>
<p>Ty! I got a perfect score because of this! </p>
<p>Thank you for this good instructions.</p>
<p>nice 1 this will help me alot..........</p>
<p>Thank you for this wonderful instructable!!</p>
I am a science/tech teacher and my kids loved this. I had the students draw blueprints prior to building the bridge. Instead of pop sticks, I used balsa wood. This is by far the best project of the year!
I'm so glad you found it so useful! Post pictures of the bridges!
what is the silver thing you used to test your bridge? What's it called and where can I find one?
<p>I could be wrong, but that &quot;silver thing&quot; looks like a slotted aluminum extrusion. They can be found here: http://www.adafruit.com/products/1302, but I'm sure you could probably find them somewhere else with a quick Google search</p>
its just a deck of cards
we did this when i was in the 8th grade only with toothpicks. its amazing how much weight those little things can hold with a little glue.
i did in 7th grade and it held 20 lbs. designed useing computer
<p>Thanks for the steps! I won the competition and won a $150 Gift Card!!</p>
WTF so strong :)
I'll be trying to make that in a Bridge Competition on 11th October, 2013.. I wish i don't mess up! :P Can you explain the (STEP 7) a bit??
i am doing a school brigde project and this is very help ful
What are the supplies you use to TEST the bridge????????
Can someone Please answer??? I need to right a supply list for a school project and I dont know that the silver thing on top is! PLEASE ANSWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!
yea... i am kinda lost.
Hello guys. I have an upcoming contest... Need help... Going to give the details in next comment... <br>
so im going to venture that i am quite a bit late in answering your question but for future reference: <br>i was in a class at school where we had to build a russ bridge that could hold as much as possible. <br> <br>my design was something like the picture it was made out of toothpicks the trusses were three toothpicks in a triangular fashion and as long as they needed to be. <br>i made my bridge extremely sloppily and it still ended up being able to have me stand on it at the time i weighed somewhere in the range of 120-130 pounds <br> <br>i suspect if one were to take the same design and make it extremely not messily it would do very well. <br> <br>one thing i might try because of the materiels you have availible, make all the colomuns and trusses out of triangles of popsicle sticks. make the bottom have a open faced rectangle with the straws in that and have notches in the straws to hold the trusses in. <br>i would say make the base out of every other one a straw then a Popsicle stick <br> <br>one thing i didnt draw is that you make an x with two more trusses between the bottom and top of each side

About This Instructable


105 favorites


Bio: Ask me questions. I know the answers.
More by drinkmorecoffee: 15 Minute Bamboo Easel Homeschool Science 6 Cent LED Throwie
Add instructable to: