How to make a car out of a bottle

Written by heather inks
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Even though it does not sound possible, bottles of all kinds and shapes make excellent bodies for a variety of fun cars that you can build. Bottle cars can be created for many reasons including just for fun, for artistic endeavours, for competitions, and even for bottle car races. These cars can be made and used to enhance the curriculum in art, science, and math-especially if you race them and want to crunch some numbers or teach graphing. With creativity, patience, art and craft supplies, and a room full of creative adults or children, you can transform almost any bottle into a car.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Bottles
  • Dowels
  • Glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Craft glue
  • Paint
  • Brushes
  • Permanent markers
  • Paper mache
  • Clay
  • Cotton balls
  • Smocks
  • Rocks
  • Weights
  • Stopwatch
  • Graphing paper

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  1. 1

    Select your bottles. Decide if you want your cars to be mobile and roll or if they will be stationary. Glass bottles can make neat artistic cars. Plastic bottles can make great cars that roll - and the added benefit is that you can add rocks or weights to the inside which is valuable for math, science and physics applications.

  2. 2

    Find or make your car wheels. For stationary bottle cars, almost anything you wish can be used for wheels. Little children can have great imaginations, so let them choose. Large bottle caps can be used for stationary wheels. Wood or clay that dries hard can be used for wheels that actually move.

  3. 3

    Affix your wheels to your bottle car. Glue wheels to the glass bottle car using a combination of hot glue and craft glue. Hot glue adheres and dries almost immediately. However, the hold is weak. Craft glue takes hours to dry but the hold is secure. Only the teacher or parent should apply hot glue when building bottle cars with small children.

    For wheels that move you will need to have an axis. A dowel works well or you can choose another straight, stiff, strong object. Just create some holes in the plastic bottles for the dowels to go through and attach the wheels to the dowels. To attach the wheels, put a drop of craft glue on the wheel, and outline the end of the dowel or other object you used for the axis with hot glue. Then stick the wheel on the end. The hot glue and craft glue combo should allow you to skip the need to use a clamp on the project. Wait for the craft glue to dry before proceeding to painting and decorating.

  4. 4

    Paint and decorate the bottle cars with paint, clay, paper mache (See Reference 1), or even cotton balls for children who want to make cloud cars. The sky is the limit when it comes to painting and decorating bottle cars.

Tips and warnings

  • Hold bottle car races in a math class and use different types of graphs to chart the results.
  • Use weights in the bottle cars to learn the relationship between weight and speed.
  • Always supervise small children well when working with arts and craft supplies, paints, or glue to make sure they don't eat anything or injure themselves.

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