DIY Lighthouse Marble Run

DIY Lighthouse Marble Run

Recy­cle a potato chips can and cereal box into a fully-functional light­house mar­ble run! Your kids will have a blast mak­ing the light­house and play­ing with it until the lights go out.

DIY Lighthouse Marble Run

Have you ever been up on a light­house? It took us 307 steps to get to the top of the Light­house Eck­mühl in France, where we got a close look at the enor­mous lamp and beau­ti­fully shaped Fres­nel lens. On the way down, I thought, “What would hap­pen if a mar­ble were to roll down the stairs,” which is what inspired this tuto­r­ial. You’ll have as much fun mak­ing this as we did climb­ing the steps in Eckmühl!

DIY Lighthouse Marble Run

The light­house mar­ble run has two parts: A cool spi­ral tower run for the light­house and a tricky slope for your mar­bles to nav­i­gate at the base. All you need are sup­plies from your recy­cling bin, home office, craft room, and play room. Let’s get started!

Note: Because of small chok­ing parts this is a project best suited for chil­dren 3 years and older.

DIY Lighthouse Marble Run

What You Need

For The Lighthouse

  • 1 empty potato chip can with lid 8 2/3 inches tall x 3 1/5 inches wide
  • 1 paper-towel tube
  • Rope 1 foot and 8 inches long (I used a spare skip­ping rope)
  • 1 piece of card­board 4 x 4 inches
  • 1 sheet of white copy paper and 1 sheet of red A4-sized paper

For The Lantern And Lamp

  • 1 .5 liter plas­tic bot­tle with drink­ing valve
  • LED can­dle
  • Parch­ment paper

For The Slope

  • Shoe­box lid
  • Cereal box
  • Old map
  • 4 small drink­ing straws

For Play­ing

  • Small mar­bles or wooden beads
DIY Lighthouse Marble Run

Tools

  • Scis­sors (kid friendly and standard)
  • Awl
  • Black per­ma­nent marker
  • Pen­cil
  • White tape
  • Scotch tape
  • Glue
  • Paste stick
  • Pins
DIY Lighthouse Marble Run DIY Lighthouse Marble Run

How To Make The Lighthouse

Step 1
Mark the height of the shoe­box lip from the bot­tom of the can. Use the awl to start the open­ing for the door just above that point. Cut the door and open it.

DIY Lighthouse Marble Run

Step 2
For the bot­tom por­tion of the “stair­case,” you’ll cut the piece of card­board shown above by first trac­ing the lid of the potato chip can, then the paper-towel tube. The tab, or mar­ble shoot, should fit through your door. Glue the spi­ral in place near the bot­tom of the paper-towel tube.

Step 3
Cut a hole in the can’s lid so that the paper-towel tube fits through. Then cut a slot in the lid for the mar­bles to fit through.

DIY Lighthouse Marble Run

Step 4
Pin the rope to the tube as shown, at 45 degrees to get a smooth run.

DIY Lighthouse Marble Run

Step 5
Care­fully insert the paper-towel tube with its attach­ments into the can and pull the shoot through the door. Put the lid on and test with a marble.

DIY Lighthouse Marble Run

Step 6
When you’re fin­ished mak­ing adjust­ments to the rope, pull the tube out and use white tape to fix the rope in place. Then remove the pins. (For safety, I count the pins to make sure I removed them all.)

NOTE: To accom­mo­date large mar­bles, you’ll have to cut the paper roll ver­ti­cally, all way down, roll it to a smaller size, and tape it back together.

DIY Lighthouse Marble Run DIY Lighthouse Marble Run

Step 7
Dec­o­rate the light­house with red and white stripes using the copy paper and red A4 stock. Start by past­ing the red paper to the can, remem­ber­ing to cut the hole for the door. Then tape and paste the white stripes as shown.

DIY Lighthouse Marble Run

How To Make The Lantern And Lamp

Step 1
Cut the plas­tic bot­tle in half. I punched a hole with the awl first to make it eas­ier to insert the scissors—please be careful!

DIY Lighthouse Marble Run

Step 2
Color the the bottle’s lid with the black marker.

Step 3
Cut the parch­ment paper the length of the LED can­dle and tape it around your candle.

DIY Lighthouse Marble Run

Step 4
Cut the por­tion of the tube that shows above the lid into small strips and fold the strips inside the tube. Color the remain­ing top por­tion of the tube black. Insert the light into the tube and cover with the bottle.

DIY Lighthouse Marble Run

Your light­house is ready!

How To Make The Tricky Slope

DIY Lighthouse Marble Run

Step 1
Using card­board from a cereal box, cut a piece that is about 2 inches longer than the shoe­box lid. Bend one end down­ward and hang the flap over one end of the lid; this is the top of your slope. Fold the other end of the slope upward so that the flap sits on the inside of the other end of the lid.

DIY Lighthouse Marble Run

Step 2
Mark the hole for the light­house at the upper end of the slope and cut it out.

DIY Lighthouse Marble Run

Step 3
Glue the map to the card­board, recut­ting the hole for the light­house. Insert the slope and light­house into the lid. Tape down the back flap of the slope to the edge of the lid.

DIY Lighthouse Marble Run

Step 4
Glue the small pieces of drink­ing straws in the arrange­ment shown to get a tricky run and let them dry.

DIY Lighthouse Marble Run DIY Lighthouse Marble Run

Send the mar­bles down the light­house and see where the land!

DIY Lighthouse Marble Run

Have fun, and don’t for­get to turn out the light before you go to bed!

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  • Leeanne

    What a stun­ning idea. Cant wait to give it a try…

  • Hand made

    you are very clever !!

    http://handmade4all.com/