Cardboard Ferris Wheel

Introduction: Cardboard Ferris Wheel

About: I am an author and a maker. My current project is Santa's Shop. I'm working on a science fiction type book--more later. @EngineerRigsby

In response to a question by dromedarius, ". . . my daughter has to make a ferris wheel for school do you have any ideas how she can make something similar to your model using recyclable items," I decided to put together a quick instructable answer.

Supplies needed:


One pencil

Three paperclips

Three toothpicks



Step 1:

Draw circles on cardboard. I traced the bottom of a flower pot.

Step 2:

Cut out the circles.

Step 3:

Find the center of the circle--this requires high school geometry or a fair amount of trial and error.

Step 4:

Insert toothpicks at the 12 o'clock, 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock positions.

Step 5:

Insert a pencil through both cardboard circles--to keep things lined up.

Step 6:

Insert the toothpicks into the other cardboard circle.

Step 7:

Find a thin little cardboard box--Amazon often supplies these.

As a side note, long ago when I wrote a book, "Amazing Rubber Band Cars," I tried to get Amazon to print some of my cardboard toy designs on their boxes--thinking their boxes could be turned into toys and that some people might purchase my book. Right :)

Step 8:

Tape the box securely closed and draw the part that needs to be cut out.

Step 9:

Cut the excess away and place the pencil/cardboard circles combo in the slot.

Step 10:

Cut a "boarding" slot so that the "riders" can get on.

Step 11:

Cut three narrow pieces of cardboard and bend them to make seats.

Step 12:

Insert a paper clip through the top back of the seat. Bend the other end to fit over the toothpick.

Step 13:

To keep the paperclip from sliding over to the edge, wrap two small strips of tape to build up a barrier that will prevent the paperclip from sliding left or right.

Step 14:

Place the seat assembly on the toothpick.

Step 15:

Now you can turn the ferris wheel by hand.

Hopefully, this will provide a jumping off point for cardboard ferris wheel construction!

Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016

Participated in the
Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016

Be the First to Share


    • Leather Challenge

      Leather Challenge
    • Remote Control Contest

      Remote Control Contest
    • Make It Modular: Student Design Challenge

      Make It Modular: Student Design Challenge



    6 years ago

    Thank you, the model is great and really appreciated we have cut out the cardboard pieces , my daughter now has to paint these pieces before construction. Only problem is what do I do about the motor?, this model has to move mechanically, what would you suggest.


    Reply 6 years ago

    I would get a slow rotating motor (low rpm) like this one from amazon:

    It says "12 volt," but it will run more slowly on 3 volts (two AA batteries). Tape the motor to a box at the same height as the pencil and adjust the pencil eraser and motor shaft such that they are in line end to end. Get them close together and them tape them. The tape should flex a little to take care of less than perfect alignment.


    Reply 6 years ago

    I have a mini gear box electric motor 12 volt, which I think we will use with two AA batteries I have a battery holder as well, seeing as the teacher has to mark this then all that she has to do is insert the batteries. I don't think she would appreciate holding the battery against the motor terminals to see if it works

    Thanks for the help, will post pictures as soon as this project is finished.

    I don't know when the project is due, but kids never tell you the due date until the last minute.


    Reply 6 years ago

    If you want to simplify more, use a 9 volt battery and touch the battery terminals to the motor terminals when you want it to run (saves getting a battery holder and connecting wires) but it will only operate while someone is holding the battery against the motor terminals.