How to Build a Toy Ride-On Train

Written by will milner
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How to Build a Toy Ride-On Train
A toy train you can actually ride is a dream for many kids. (children's train image by Andrey Ivanov from

Every child, at so some point, has wanted to be a train engineer. There's something about the sound and the speed of a train as it zips across the country that is just enchanting. While the dream has usually faded by the time kids grow up and are old enough to actually take the wheel, it's still fun to pretend to be the man in the engine room. All you need is a lifelike prop and good sound effects.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Old 4-wheeled pram
  • Hacksaw
  • Tough wooden box the same length and width as pram wheel base (or a little smaller)
  • Cardboard
  • Square brackets
  • Nuts and bolts to fit brackets
  • Screwdriver
  • Jigsaw
  • Glue
  • Scalpel

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  1. 1

    Cut the top of the pram away with the hacksaw, leaving just the wheelbase. Cut a rectangular section out of the middle of the bottom of the box; it should be large enough for a child to comfortably get his or her feet through and move back and forth a few inches.

  2. 2

    Drill holes at regular intervals in the bottom of the box and in the pram base, then mount the box onto the pram base, attaching the two with nuts and bolts.

  3. 3

    Cut the lid of the box in half so that it covers the box halfway, leaving a space for the child to fit in the other half. Use the section of the box that you cut away to make a seat inside, fixing it in place with brackets, nuts and bolts. The seat or bench should be positioned so that the child can sit on it and put his or her feet down through the hole in the bottom of the box to the floor.

  4. 4

    Use sections of the cutaway lid to make a cabin, standing it up at right angles and using brackets to attach it to the remaining lid. Cut a strip off the top and use brackets to reattach it at right angles to make a roof. Cut out holes for windows.

  5. 5

    Cut out a cardboard circle for the front of the train and a cylinder for the steam funnel. Attach these in the appropriate places with glue. From a large sheet of cardboard, cut a rectangle large enough to wrap around the front of the box between the cabin and the circle of cardboard on the front. Cut a hole in the centre to fit it over the funnel and score the sheet across the back.

  6. 6

    Slip the sheet over the funnel. Form the cardboard into a cylinder wrapping around the train, gluing the narrow edges onto the underside of the train and the long edge onto the circle at the front.

  7. 7

    Paint everything with metallic paint --- silver for the wheels and edges, green or red for the large areas. Allow to dry. Paint controls and dials inside the cabin and, if desired, use a stencil to paint the child's name on the outside in gold. Allow it all to dry before taking it for a spin.

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