Introduction: Spinning Top (easy, Cheap and Quick to Make)

About: I'm Mario Caicedo Langer (M.C. for short), a Colombian STEAM educator living in Azerbaijan, BSc in Naval Sciences and former Navy officer. I am a CAD and 3D Printing enthusiast and an artist specialized in jun…

If you are looking for an easy, affordable and quick activity for a STEAM session, a crafting lesson or just for fun, this project is for you!

This Spinning Top can be made in 10 minutes and the materials are very easy to get. Probably you already have them at home or in your classroom! And if you already have the tools and use recycled material, you won't need to spend any money.

This is an interesting screen-free activity where kids (and also, adults) can build their Spinning Top, customize it and put it to fight against other spinning tops. Also, you can experiment with the position of the center of gravity and the length of the string, to make your top spin for a longer time.


You will need:

  • 1 small cream pot
  • 1 whiteboard marker (used)
  • 1 piece of string (60-80 cm)
  • 1 rounded bamboo stick for kebab (or pen, or any wooden cylindrical axis)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Super glue
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Multitool

I used a Dremel rotary tool to drill holes in some materials. In case you don't have one, you can use a tiny screwdriver for drilling in wood, and pointy scissors to drill in plastic. You can also use a soldering iron, but be careful with the toxic fumes and the hot surface.

Step 1: Cutting the Bamboo Stick

Take the kebab stick and cut two segments: one of 6 cm (handle for the string) and one of 10.5 cm (for the spindle of the spinning top.)

Step 2: Spindle

Take the 10.5 cm segment and drill a small hole in one of the ends.

With the pencil sharpener, sharpen slightly the other end to create the tip.

Step 3: Body

Take the cream pot. Usually this pots are composed of three parts: the lid, the outer body and the container. You will need only the lid and the container, so remove the outer body.

Step 4: Top Assembly

Drill a hole through the center of the the lid and the container, and insert the spindle through it.

Step 5: Center of Gravity

Remember: the higher you place the body of the top, the less stable it will be. Try to place the body between 0.5 and 1 cm away from the tip. For an improved stability, glue the metal washer to the lower part of the cream pot.

Step 6: Handle

Take the whiteboard marker and remove everything from it: the tip, the ink container, the lids. You will need only the tube.

Drill a hole through the tube's end opposed to the writing tip.

Step 7: Preparing Your Spinning Top

Insert the long end of the spinning top's spindle through the hole of the marker's tube.

Step 8: The String

Take one of the ends of the string and tie it to the 6 cm bamboo stick. Add a little drop of hot glue to the knot, so it doesn't untie.

Also, add a drop of superglue to the other end of the string, so it doesn't fry when you insert it through the spindle's hole.

Step 9: Ready for Fun!

Insert the end of the string inside the spindle's hole and start coiling the string around the spindle, in a methodical way.

When you are ready, aim the spinning top to the floor and pull the string!

Rope & String Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Rope & String Speed Challenge