How to Build a Small Wooden Car

Written by charlie higgins
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How to Build a Small Wooden Car
Building a wooden car is easy and fun. (handcarved wooden cars image by Joyce Wilkes from

Building a small wooden car is a good rainy day project you can do with your kids. The materials certainly won't cost you much, and your child will end up with a toy that's safe and fun. You can also customise your small wooden car by painting it a colour of your choice or by changing the design to your liking. Just make sure the paint is non-toxic and kid-safe.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Glue
  • Acrylic paint
  • Craft saw
  • Wooden cube 1 inch on a side
  • Balsa wood, 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches
  • 4 wheels, 3/4 inch in diameter
  • 4 pony beads, 3/8 inch in diameter
  • Empty thread spool, 1/2 inch diameter
  • Large wooden craft sick or thick Popsicle stick
  • 5 thin wood rectangles, 1 inch x 1/2 inch
  • 4 thin wood squares, 1/2 inch on a side
  • Wooden dowel, 1/2 inch thick

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  1. 1

    Cut two pieces from the 3/8-inch dowel that are each 2 3/4 inches long. These will be your car's axles. Glue the axles to the bottom of the rectangular balsa wood (that is 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches) about 1/4 inch from the edge on the side of the short end. Make sure to glue them at a straight right angle. Allow the glue to dry.

  2. 2

    Glue four small wooden rectangles in a stack on the short end of the car's body (the rectangular balsa wood) so that the short end of each rectangle hangs off the body about 1/8 inch. Glue the wooden block to the balsa wood in front of the rectangles so it fits squarely up against them. Glue the thread spool in front of the block (this will be the car's engine) so that the circular bottom fits squarely up against it. Cut the craft stick and glue it to the front of the thread spool so that it extends from the base of the balsa wood to about 1/4 inch above the thread spool.

  3. 3

    Paint the car's body and wheels. Choose any colour you like for the body and paint the wheels black. The engine (thread spool) should also be black or grey. Paint evenly and make sure to dry completely before proceeding.

  4. 4

    Attach the wheels of the car. Fit the wheels onto the axles but don't glue them on or they won't be able to turn. Glue the four pony beads onto the outer part of the dowel to hold the wheels in place.

  5. 5

    Attach your car's windows and windshield. Paint each of the four small wooden squares and the remaining wooden rectangle silver or grey. When they are dry, glue two squares to the wooden block right behind the thread spool for the windshield. Glue two more squares on either side of the wooden block for the passenger and driver's side windows. Glue the remaining rectangle on the back of the wooden block for the rear window.

  6. 6

    Add any finishing touches you think the car needs. Draw doors and door handles, touch up the paint job if necessary, and add any other decorations you want.

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