How to Make a Merry Go Round

Written by samantha volz
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How to Make a Merry Go Round
Create a miniature carousel for your home. (carousel horses image by Debbie Torkelson from

The merry go round's origins stem from an ancient Arab war training game. The concept was applied to entertainment purposes in the 1700s in Europe, and today the carousel concept entertains people at carnivals and fairs around the world. While you will need to travel to a fairground to ride a full-scale version of this fun ride, you can create a miniature version to decorate your home and provide entertainment for children and adults.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Scissors
  • Cardboard
  • Glue
  • Wooden skewers
  • Paper towel roll
  • Ruler
  • Pencil or pen
  • Compass

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  1. 1

    Cut figures or people out of a magazine or book to create the figures for your merry go round. Trace the cut-out shapes onto cardboard and cut out these shapes as well.

  2. 2

    Glue your magazine cutouts to the cardboard pieces you cut to create reinforced figures for your merry go round.

  3. 3

    Glue your cardboard-reinforced figures to wooden skewers. Glue them closer to the top, bottom or centre alternatively to create the appearance that the figures move up and down, as they do on a real merry go round. Set these aside for the glue to dry as you continue.

  4. 4

    Lay a cardboard paper towel roll down on a piece of cardboard. Measure to the centre of the roll and make a mark on the cardboard piece at that point with a pencil or pen.

  5. 5

    Place the point of your compass on the centre mark and stretch the arm of the compass until it is even with one end of the paper towel roll. Move the roll and draw a circle with the compass, creating a large circle with a diameter the same length as the paper towel roll.

  6. 6

    Cut out the large circle. Stand the paper towel roll up on the centre mark of the circle and trace around it; cut out this smaller circle as well.

  7. 7

    Trace your large circle onto another piece of cardboard. Trace through the centre circle as well. Cut out the second piece and the centre of the second piece, so that you have two identical circles of cardboard. These will be the top and bottom of your merry go round.

  8. 8

    Coat the bottom 1 inch of the paper towel roll with craft glue. Insert that end into the centre of one of the cardboard circles until it penetrates all the way through. This will adhere the bottom of the merry go round to the centre rotating pole.

  9. 9

    Dab a drop of glue onto the bottom of a skewer. Pierce the bottom circle of cardboard with the skewer, securing one of your figures in place. Repeat with the other skewers until all of your figures are attached to the base of the merry go round.

  10. 10

    Measure ½ inch from the top of the paper towel roll. Cover the 1 inch of roll below this point with glue. Dab a small drop of glue onto the top of each of the skewers as well.

  11. 11

    Attach the top circle of the merry go round. Insert the top of the paper towel roll into the centre hole of the cardboard piece. Push down so that the dry ½ inch protrudes from the top. Press until the top piece attaches to the skewers and secures to the centre pole. When all glue has dried, grab the top ½ inch of the roll and turn to rotate the merry go round.

Tips and warnings

  • You can draw and colour your own figures for your merry go round. Decorate the merry go round with markers or paint.
  • The number of figures you need will vary by the size of your merry go round. You can also choose from a variety of sizes of wooden skewers to change the size of your merry go round.
  • If you are using thin cardboard, create four identical circles and glue them together so that you have two reinforced circles instead of four thin ones.

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