Introduction: Plywood Toy Car

About: Just starting to learn how to make things! mostly out of wood and mostly badly.

Having just taken delivery of my first bandsaw I decided it would be a good time to make something for my daughter. I didn't have much timber to hand, just a bag of birch plywood offcuts from an old project. So with a few offcuts and very little planning I set off like a clueless elf to make a toy. This is the result.

Step 1: Select Your Wood

First things first, you need to select the wood that you want to use. Any wood should be fine but as I had a bag full of plywood offcuts so decided I would use three pieces of that. Try and select three pieces around the same size, if not available make sure they are all at least the size you want the finished car to be.

Step 2: Mark and Cut the Middle Piece

Get the piece of plywood that you want to use as the middle of the car and draw an outline of your car shape.

I used two old paint cans, a larger one for the main body and a small one for the front.

Once you are happy with the shape cut the middle piece. I used a bandsaw for this stage.

Step 3: Mark and Cut the Outside Pieces

After cutting the middle you need to cut the two outside pieces. To give the car the sloping shape I set the bandsaw bed at a 25 degree angle. I then put the middle piece on the two outer pieces and drew round it.

Follow the lines on the bandsaw and mind those fingers!

After all are cut place together to check everything's right. Don't worry if its not an exact match you can shape the car later when sanding.

Step 4: Glue and Clamp the Car

Spread wood glue over each side of the middle piece and the inside of the outer pieces. Place the three pieces together and clamp together. Its best to try and get the three pieces aligned along the bottom as best you can.

Once clamped together wipe off as much of the excess wood glue as you can.

Step 5: Make the Wheels

Using another piece of mark four circles and cut them out the best you can. This stage would probably be easier and produce a better wheel if a circular cutter or lathe was used, but having just bought the bandsaw I was keen to use it.

After cutting the wheels out drill holes in the middle of them. I drilled 9mm holes as the dowel I intended to use for the axle's was 9mm.

After cutting the wheels out they will need to be sanded. To make this quicker I put them on a piece of dowel and used a electric drill against some sandpaper.

Step 6: Drill the Holes for the Axles

After giving the glue time to dry remove the car body from the clamps and mark where you want the wheels to be. After marking where the holes should be use a drill bit larger than your axles to go through the body of the car. Its very important to make sure the holes are bigger than the axles as otherwise the wheels wont move!

Step 7: Sanding, Sanding and More Sanding!

This step probably takes the longest of all. Using a palm sander get as much of the shape done as you can, once you are happy with the general shape finish off by hand working your way through the grits. Do the same with the wheels until you have a very smooth and clean finish.

Step 8: Attaching the Wheels

Using the dowel cut two pieces that are slightly longer than the width of the car plus the two wheels. This will ensure that the wheels can move freely when attached.

Once cut to size sand the dowels and make sure they are smooth as can be. Then place a small amount of wood glue on the inside of a wheel and using a mallet knock the dowel into the wheel.

Place the dowel through the axle hole you drilled earlier and repeat this step with the second wheel, just make sure there is no excess glue between the wheel and the car body as this will ruin your whole project!

Once the wheels are on knock them down until the dowel is either flush or slightly protruding. Try not to over tighten the wheel as it will restrict the movement of the wheel.

That's it you are done! You can add a finish if you want at this stage, I just used a standard wood was a had left from another project. Just make sure whatever you use is child friendly if this is a gift.

Step 9: Make a Bigger One!

After seeing how much my daughter enjoyed playing with this gift I decided I would make a bigger one. They have both been played with banged into walls, tables and my toes and seem to be standing up to the best a two year old can throw at them!

This is my first instructable so feel free to offer me pointers and apologies if theres anything I have missed off!

Step 10: List of Materials and Tools

  • plywood offcuts for body and wheels(or whatever wood you have)
  • dowel for axle


  • wood glue
  • bandsaw
  • sandpaper
  • palm sander
  • drill
  • multiple drill bits
  • F clamps
  • mallet
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