How to Make a Colosseum Out of Toothpicks

Updated March 23, 2017

The Roman Colosseum is a huge, elliptical amphitheatre located in the middle of Rome, Italy. This famous work of Roman architecture could hold over 50,000 spectators for animal hunts, re-enactments of battles and gladiatorial games. Re-creating the building can be accomplished using toothpicks as the main building material. This project will go more quickly if it is made into a project for the entire family.

Examine diagrams of the Roman Colosseum and determine how detailed you wish to get with your representation. A younger child who only has a few hours to spend may want to make the general shape for the building. If there is more time to spend, a more detailed model may be an interesting way to occupy your free time for a longer period.

Roll the clay into balls the size of a marble and stick them to the end of each toothpick. Connect the toothpicks until you have a shape of a circle the size that you wish your model to be. Place this circle on the waxed paper to avoid getting your building surface dirty.

Stick a toothpick into one of the clay balls of the circular shape diagonally. In the clay ball next to that ball, place another toothpick diagonally pointing toward the toothpick you just stuck in. Place a clay ball between those two toothpicks. Repeat this step until you have a set of triangles on top of the entire original circle you created. This version of the Colosseum will have triangular arches instead of traditional Roman arches to ensure that your model has enough strength to stand properly.

Create a horizontal row of toothpicks by placing toothpicks between the balls of clay on the second level (the level of triangles). Repeat steps three and four as many times as you wish to build the Colosseum as high as you would like.

Determine if your creation is stable or not by slightly tapping the Colosseum. If the building is a bit wobbly, create inner support by placing toothpicks diagonally from the first triangle row of clay balls to the waxed paper. This will add additional support and keep your building secure as the clay dries.

Use the craft paint and the sponge to gently decorate your creation after the clay has hardened. The original Colosseum was white in colour but your building can be much different if you choose.


Keep your building in a safe place so that it doesn't get bumped while it's drying.

Things You'll Need

  • Clay
  • Toothpicks
  • Craft paint
  • Sponge
  • Poster board
  • Waxed paper
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About the Author

Bryan Cohen has been a writer since 2001 and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a double degree in English and dramatic art. His writing has appeared on various online publications including his personal website Build Creative Writing Ideas.