Introduction: Create Your Own Roller Coaster With Downloadable PDF or DIY Track.

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Rollercoasters are all about physics! Unlike most moving vehicles, cars, trains, and buses that rely on engines, rollercoasters rely on gravitational potential energy. What goes up, must come down.

Potential energy is stored or held energy by an object that can be caused by an objects position or elevation, height off the ground. An example is when the rollercoaster is in its beginning position before it goes downhill.

When the coaster moves downhill, the potential energy is converted to kinetic energy, or the energy of motion. When it moves uphill it will lose kinetic energy by slowing down and gain potential energy. As the process continues through loops, hills, and turns, the rollercoaster will eventually come back the beginning, ending in potential energy.

To build a successful paper coaster, we’ll need to take these factors into consideration. You’ll have to make sure your marble has enough potential energy to make it through your whole track.


  • Paper
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Cardboard
  • Marble

Step 1: Print PDF Templates

The template files are attached to this instructable. If you DO NOT HAVE A PRINTER, no problem! If you are creating the roller coaster templates yourself, the instructions are added at the end of this instructable. (DIY instructions begin at step 11)

Step 2: Cut Along Solid Lines

Step 3: Fold Along Dash Lines

Step 4: Bend Track Into Shapes.

Step 5: Tape Tabs to Hold It in Place.

Step 6: Make Different Shapes. Hills, Loops, Curves.

Step 7: Tape Supports to a Cardboard Base

Step 8: Start Putting the Track Together

Using a piece of cardboard as a base, assemble your track according to your plan. Tape the track segments together end-to-end to connect them.

Step 9: Test It! Place the Marble at the Top of Your Track and Let It Go. Watch Carefully.

Step 10: Explore! Learn! Problem Solve!

Try again and Explore If your marble didn't make it to the end, try to figure out why.

Is there a spot in your track where the marble got stuck? Was the marble going too slow to make it through a loop? If necessary, make changes to your design, like making the curves more gradual or the starting hill taller, and try again.

If the marble made it the whole way to the end, try making your track longer by adding more segments.


In this section of the instructable we will give you dimensions for each of the roller coaster sections used in the preceding 10 steps. These include: Straight sections, Loops and hills, curves, and support struts.

Step 12: DIY Straight Segments

  • Cut a 7.5 cm (3 inch) wide strip of paper.
  • Draw two parallel lines that divide it into three 2.5 cm-wide strips.
  • Fold the two sides up 90 degrees along those lines to form walls.

Step 13: DIY Loops and Hills Segments

  • Cut a 7.5 cm (3 inch) wide strip of paper.
  • Draw two parallel lines that divide it into three 2.5 cm-wide strips.
  • Make marks every 2.5 cm along the long edges of the paper.
  • Cut inward 2.5 cm from these marks to form tabs. Fold the tabs up 90 degrees.
  • Bend the track into the shape you want, and tape the tabs together to hold it in place. This step is easier with two people, one to hold the track in place and one to do the taping.

Step 14: DIY Curved Segments

  • Cut a 7.5 cm (3 inch) wide strip of paper.
  • Draw two parallel lines that divide it into three 2.5 cm-wide strips.
  • Make marks every 2.5 cm along one long edge of the paper.
  • Cut inward 5 cm (2 inches) from these marks.
  • Fold up the uncut side of the paper 90 degrees to form a wall.
  • Fold up the tabs on the other side to form the other wall.
  • Since the bottom portion of the track is cut into segments, you can bend it horizontally to form a curve. Tape the tabs together to hold the curve in place.

Step 15: DIY Support Struts

  • Cut a 6.25 cm (2.5 inch) wide strip of paper.
  • Draw four parallel lines that divide it into five 1.25 cm (0.5 inch) wide strips.
  • Cut inward 2.5 cm along these lines from one edge.
  • Fold along the lines to form a square shape (so two of the segments overlap), and use tape to hold in place
  • Fold the tabs you cut at the end outward. This will allow you to tape the tabs flat to a piece of cardboard, so your strut can stand upright.