How to Build a Toy Carousel

Written by elizabeth hannigan
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How to Build a Toy Carousel
You can build a toy carousel with stuff you find in your house. (rooster carousel image by Jackie DeBusk from

Carousels, in one form or another, have been around for more than fifteen hundred years. The ones you see at amusement parks and carnivals are often antiques themselves, and many old carousels are hand-carved and painted. Often, the carousel will be the most ornately decorated ride at a fair. If you're creative, you can make a toy carousel of your own with things you might already have in your house. Take your time and paint your carousel so it looks just as good as the real thing.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Lazy Susan
  • 2 cardboard circles, bigger than the plate on your lazy Susan
  • 2 paper crowns, either homemade or the kind you get from Burger King
  • 4 toy animals, approximately 4-5 inches tall
  • Pencil
  • Empty paper towel tube
  • 4 straws
  • Ruler
  • Glue
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Gold pipe cleaners

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  1. 1

    Paint the two cardboard circles, the paper towel tube, the paper crowns and the straws the base colours that you want your carousel to be.

  2. 2

    Glue one of the cardboard circles to the top of the lazy Susan. A lazy Susan is like a cake stand that spins. Make sure it's OK with your parents to glue all of these things together before you do any gluing.

  3. 3

    Place the four animals in a circle around the diameter of the cardboard platform you just made, an equal distance apart from one another. If you want to make a traditional carousel, you could use toy horses. If you want to do something more fantastic, you could pick four different animals. Pick animals that have long legs, so your dolls will not drag their feet on the ground when they ride. For example, a chicken would be a good idea, but a crocodile wouldn't.

  4. 4

    Trace around the feet of the animals you just placed with your pencil, so you can remember where they go. Take the animals back off and put them aside for a minute.

  5. 5

    Glue the paper towel tube in the very middle of the cardboard platform so that it is standing straight up. This will be the centre pole of your carousel that holds the roof up. Let the glue dry.

  6. 6

    Paint any more decorations that you want on the cardboard platform and the paper towel tube.

  7. 7

    Measure the distance between the ground underneath your animals up to their bellies. Cut off a piece of straw for each of your four animals that will fit in this space. These will be the bottom halves of the carousel poles. Glue the straw pieces to the bellies of the animals and let the glue dry.

  8. 8

    Put the animals back onto the cardboard platform in the exact spots where you traced their feet and glue them in place.

  9. 9

    Set the other cardboard circle on a flat surface and wrap the paper crowns around the diameter of the circle. Glue the crowns in place. This will be the roof of your carousel. Let the glue dry.

  10. 10

    Paint decorations all around the outside of the crowns. Carefully set the cardboard circle and crowns on top of the paper towel tube so that the paper towel tube is in the middle of the circle and now one circle is right above the other with the animals in between. Glue the roof circle in place and let the glue dry.

  11. 11

    Trim the remaining halves of the straws so that they fit perfectly between the top of the animal's backs and the roof of the carousel. Make sure to line up the top halves of the straws above the bottom halves, so they look like one pole running through each animal. Glue the straws in place.

  12. 12

    Use the gold pipe cleaner to add trimming your carousel. Wrap it around the poles and around the edges of the cardboard circle, or anywhere else you think it looks nice. Glue it in place and let all the paint and glue dry completely before you play with your carousel.

Tips and warnings

  • Cover your table with newspaper before you glue or paint to avoid making a mess.

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