How to Make Small Homemade Hovercraft Toys

Written by scarlett gauthier
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How to Make Small Homemade Hovercraft Toys
A hovercraft toy can help explain laws of motion in a physics class. (hovercraft image by Nicola Gavin from

A hovercraft, also known as an air-cushion vehicle, can travel over smooth surfaces such as water, land or ice. It is supported by a cushion of pressurised air. Large hovercrafts are often used for specialised purposes such as emergencies, while smaller ones can be used for passenger transport. You can build your own smaller version of a hovercraft for personal use.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Margarine container lid
  • Balloons
  • Wooden single-holed thread spool
  • Scissors
  • Plasticine
  • Glue

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  1. 1

    Cut a hole no larger than 2mm in diameter into the centre of the margarine container lid.

  2. 2

    Affix one of the ends of the thread spool to the margarine container lid using glue. Align the hole at the centre of the thread spool with the hole in the margarine lid.

  3. 3

    Allow about two hours for the glue to dry.

  4. 4

    Wrap a ring of Plasticine around the bottom edge of the wooden thread spool to keep air from escaping from around the sides as well as to anchor the spool to the lid.

  5. 5

    Blow up a balloon and twist the end several times to stop air from escaping.

  6. 6

    Stretch out the balloon's mouthpiece around the thread spool and pull it over the entire spool and all the way down to the bottom of the spool.

  7. 7

    Set the hovercraft over the selected body of water. Release the hovercraft and balloon. The balloon will untwist to allow the hovercraft to glide on the water.

  8. 8

    Use the same balloon if it is undamaged or replace the balloon to propel the hovercraft again.

Tips and warnings

  • A single-holed wooden thread spool will allow the air to travel through the centre only, rather than though the holes of a regular plastic thread spool.
  • Release the hovercraft in a body of water such as a swimming pool or bath tub.

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