Introduction: Moving Labyrinth Puzzle
This is a fun project that uses any size cardboard box to make a entertaining moving maze puzzle. By twisting the dowels, you can roll the little ball throughout the maze. Using simple household supplies, this project is perfect for rainy days or when entertaining children. Ready? Then let’s get started!
Cardboard box for the base (any size, but square boxes work the best)
Foam or flat pieces of cardboard for the maze and moving frames (you could cut up another box for this)
String (any thin, flexible string will work)
Dowels, skewers, or treat sticks
Brads with long prongs
A little ball (marble or other small ball that fits on your maze)
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
Get all your supplies out and have them all together before you begin this project.
Step 2: Prepare the Base
Take your box and open it up. Cut off the top and remove any flaps by simply cutting them off. The lid of your box will later be used as the maze piece. Cut 1-2 centimeters off of each edge of the maze piece and set it aside for later. Poke holes at the indicated places around your box base as indicated in the photo. Please not that the four lower holes are not equal distances to the bottom of the box. Two are right along the bottom edge and the other two centimeters up fro the bottom. The lower holes have one more hole above them. Make sure that your holes are big enough by sliding the skewers into them.
Step 3: Prepare the Tilting Frames
Next you need to cut two strips of cardboard. They will need to be about 2 centimeters wide and the length will depend on the size of your box. To determine how long each strip needs to be, determine the circumference of your box and subtract two centimeters for the first strip and 6 centimeters for the second. Then, you will fold each strip into four equal part and tape into a square. Poke two holes and two slits in the larger frame, and four holes and two slits in the smaller frame. See photos for the location of each hole and slit.
Step 4: Add the String
Cut two lengths of string, one for each frame. Each string should be twice the length of its frame. Secure the string into the slits as shown in the photo.
Step 5: Attach the Frames to the Base
Now this is the trickiest step to explain, so just bear with me and I will do my best to explain each photo. Start with the biggest frame. You are going to be using the two top holes on the base and and two of the holes on the larger frame. Stick the prongs of your brad from the outside of the box through those top holes and into the holes of the frame. Press the two prongs down and cover the ends with tape. Repeat this on the other side. The string should be hanging down into the boxe. Take one of the skewers and push it through one of the holes on the bottom and wrap the string hanging down from the frame around it. Then push the skewer the rest of the way through the opposite hole. Adjust the tension of the string by pulling on either end of necessary. Now allow the smaller frame to nest inside of the larger one. Make sure that the string on the smaller box is hanging opposite the direction of the other string from the larger box. Secure with brads just like before on the two sides of the frames, only this time the brad will only be going through the two frames, not the box. Check your setup and compare to my picture to check and make sure everything is going smoothly. Also, make sure your brads are nice and loose, if they are too tight, the frames won’t move. Finally stick your second skewer through and wrap the string around it just like before. If everything looks good, then move on to the most fun part!
Step 6: The Maze and Final Adjustments
Take strips of foam or cardboard and glue and arrange them however you like over the square piece set aside from earlier. You can look at a picture of a maze or just use your imagination. You are only limited by the size of your box. Make sure that your paths are big enough to fit your ball. Once you have finished your maze, attach it to the smaller frame with tape. When you twist the dowels, your maze should tilt in any direction, allowing you to roll a ball around in it. Have fun, and feel free to decorate, fiddle, or alter this labyrinth to make it work even better!
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