How to make strong straw towers

Written by martin cole
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How to make strong straw towers
With the right structure, drinking straws can hold the weight of a cricket ball. (straw image by Henryk Olszewski from Fotolia.com)

Maybe your child has been assigned homework to assemble a strong structure from drinking straws. Perhaps you have some time on your hands and are curious if such a structure can be formed. Whatever the reason, creating a solid tower from straws is certainly possible and not as difficult as it sounds. It won't hold up your television, but it will support the weight of a cricket ball, which is quite an achievement for such flimsy material.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • 79 straws
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Cricket ball

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Cut off and discard the bendy joint of all of your straws.

  2. 2

    Lay out five straws on the floor to make a pentagon shape.

  3. 3

    Stick together each of the corners with masking tape. Use the tape liberally so that the straws are securely attached together.

  4. 4

    Nip in the end of a straw and push it into the end of another straw.

  5. 5

    Wrap the point where the two straws join with masking tape.

  6. 6

    Add another four straws to this double straw, sticking down each joint with masking type. You should now have one long straw made from six straws.

  7. 7

    Follow the same technique to create another four of these extra-long straws.

  8. 8

    Tape one of the long straws vertically to a corner of the pentagon base. Use the masking tape liberally here; the main concern is that the long straw be securely attached to the base, not for the joints to be neat.

  9. 9

    Repeat the previous step for the other four corners. You have now your five sides.

  10. 10

    Tape a single straw to one of the pentagon's corners. This should lay flat on the ground and one end should be in the centre of the shape. Do this for each of the five corners.

  11. 11

    Attach six straws together, using the same methods as you did with the sides of the structure.

  12. 12

    Place this straw vertically in the centre of the five straws inside the pentagon base.

  13. 13

    Tape the five straws to the base of the long straw. You now have support through the centre.

  14. 14

    Cut an extra 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) from five straws. Tape these to the first joints in your sides. You will now have a second pentagon one straw-length up from the first.

  15. 15

    Repeat Step 14 at each joint in the side straws of the structure, cutting an extra 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) off the five straws as the joints get higher.

  16. 16

    Tape two straws to one of the corners of the third pentagon up. Tape the other ends of both straws to the centre straw, cutting off any excess. Repeat this from the opposite side, so that you have created a straight line running through the pentagon.

  17. 17

    Repeat Step 16 for the next pentagon up.

  18. 18

    Attach five straws to the five corners of the highest pentagon. These should be angled toward the centre structure, just as you did with the base. Cut off any excess straw.

  19. 19

    Cut off the top of the centre straw so that it is level with the five straws you added in the previous step.

  20. 20

    Tape the five straws to the top of the long centre straw.

  21. 21

    Add the cricket ball to the top of the structure and the tower will hold the ball's weight.

Tips and warnings

  • Add different objects to the structure, gradually getting heavier, to see how much weight the tower can take.

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