Breakfast Express - Toy Train From Toilet Roll Tubes




Introduction: Breakfast Express - Toy Train From Toilet Roll Tubes

Welcome to this instructable!

In this I am going to show you how to make a toy train using household scrap. This is a simple, easy to build project and kids love the final product! This train could be a decorative item on your TV or the shelf.

Caution: Train built using soft materials. It is best for you to demonstrate the running of this train to your kids and friends. That way you save all your efforts that you have put in this project else everything will be back to scrap in no time if mishandled.

Step 1: Materials and Tools


• 3 Toilet roll tubes
• 12 Milk Bottle caps
• 2 Twist Ties [4”]
• 24 Tea Light candle Pins
• 6 Ear Bud sticks
• Plastic pourer [non-refillable cap, found in Olive Oil bottle]
• Wire [3” x 12]
• Ad Paper [A4 x 2, slightly thick that normal]
• Color Paper [A4 size, 3 colors]


• Nail filer
• PVA Craft Glue
• Scissors
• Steel Skewer
• Pen/Marker
• Ruler/Scale

Step 2: Make Holes on the Tubes

For Wheels

• Take a toilet roll tube and mark centre, length wise
• Mark 2 points 10 mm apart on either side of the centre line and 15 mm from top and bottom of the tube
• Using the skewer make holes through the marked points
• Repeat above steps on other 2 tubes

For Chimney

• Pick one tube that you want call the Engine
• On the front side of the tube [side opposite to holes made for wheels] mark a point 25mm from one end on this centre
• Mark a circle of 1 Penny diameter [approx. 20mm]
• Using the skewer cut the circle out from the tube [don’t worry even if the cut is not smooth]

Step 3: Glue Colour Paper on to the Tubes

• Pick a colour paper and cut it to a size big enough to cover around the tube
• Using glue stick the colour paper around the tube taking care to avoid wrinkles
• Allow it to dry for few minutes
• Using the skewer poke the colour paper on the holes made in the previous step
• Repeat the above steps on other 2 tubes [Make sure you have poked the paper on the chimney hole as well]
• Pick the tube which has the chimney hole
• Cut 2 strips of size 10 x 150 mm from the colour paper [pick a contrast colour]
• Paste the strips around the tube as shown in the picture

Step 4: Prepare for the Wheels

• Pick an ear bud stick and remove the cotton from the ends, repeat this on other 5 sticks
• Pick a tea light candle pin, using a skewer make the tip and back of the tip circular [way to do this is by pushing the skewer clockwise and anti-clockwise direction for few times]
• Use the ear bud stick and try to pass it through the pin. If the tip is circular enough it will allow the stick to pass through otherwise repeat the above step. Now, repeat this on rest of the pins [23!]
• Pick a milk bottle cap, using a skewer make a hole in the centre of the cap from inside, big enough to pass the skewer through [not the skewer head but just the tip]
• Using a nail filer file the excess plastic that might have come out from the hole
• Pick an ear bud stick and pass it through the cap hole and try to spin the cap. The cap should spin freely. Otherwise, using the skewer make the cap hole bigger. Repeat this on other 11milk bottle caps
• Remove any pins and caps from the bud sticks

Step 5: Assemble the Wheels

• Pick a roll tube and pass the ear bud stick through one set of holes made in 1st step. For doing this, pass one end of the stick through the first hole, bend the stick slightly inside the tube using your finger and try to bring the stick out of the second hole
• Once the stick is out from the second hole using your fingers make the stick straight and centre it
• Pick a tea light candle pin and pass the stick through it. Pin tip should be inside and the flat circular side facing outwards
• Adjust the pin so that there is about 5mm of stick protruding outside the pin
• Similarly, fix a pin on other side of the stick [flat circular side facing outwards]
• Pick a bottle cap and pass it through the stick. Make sure inside of the cap is facing outwards
• Pick another pin and pass it through the stick, this time the pin tip is facing outwards and flat circular side against the cap. Idea here is to hold the cap [wheel] in place
• Adjust the pin so that the stick and the tip of the pin are on the same level
• Holding the tube firmly spin the wheel [cap]. If there is enough play between the 2 pins the wheel will spin smoothly. If not adjust the pins to bring in more play
• Similarly, fix the wheel on the other side of the stick
• Pick wire roll and cut 2 pieces of wire approx. 3” and pass these through the hollow bud stick
• Bend the tip of the wires on both ends to ensure they don’t slip out from the hollow stick. This will ensure the pins don’t fall out when the train is in motion
• Repeat above steps using other bottle caps to make rest of the wheels

Step 6: Make the Engine

Close front-end:

• Pick a tube which has got the chimney hole
• Cut a circle from the ad paper big enough to close one end of the tube
• Close the side of the tube by gluing the circle [side which is closer to the chimney hole]

Make and Fix Chimney:

• Make a tube [chimney] from 10x10 mm ad paper to fit on to the plastic pourer
• Make few cuts [approx. 20mm deep] along the circumference on one end of the chimney
• Fix the plastic pourer into the chimney hole made on the tube. This is will help hiding the uneven cut paper and hold chimney firmly [which you would fixing in the next step]
• Insert the un-cut end of the Chimney into the plastic pourer

Driver Shed:

• Cut a strip 50 x 220 mm from the ad paper
• Using a pen, mark a point 20 mm inside from one end of the strip
• Using this point at the guide divide the other part of the strip into 4 equal parts
• Apply glue to this 2cms part and form a cube
• Apply glue to one end of this cube and stick it on opposite end of the chimney

Your engine is ready!

Step 7: Join the Engine and 2 Coaches

• Using the skewer make a hole at the bottom on one end of the engine, both ends of one of the coaches [this would the middle coach] and on one end of the remaining coach
• Pass one end of the twist ties through the hole made on the engine and the other end through one of the holes made on the middle coach
• Slightly twist the ends of the ties so that they don’t slip out from the holes
• Repeat this to join the remaining coach

Your toy train is ready!

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    13 years ago on Introduction

    Nice, it's so bright and cheerful. I like how you used household scrap, you even found a use for those tea light candle pins.