Make your own Marble Run!

Paper Engineers Week Challenge No.5!

Engineers Week Marble Run

Of course our marble run is book themed and so named the ‘Wonky Shelf Marble Run’.  We have decorated the cardboard with collages of book stacks, our pendant lights, other library features and a couple of mice!  There are four marble entrances at the top and four boxes for the marbles to land in below.  Let gravity and a few uneven shelves work their fun! Here is a basic plan of our marble run.  

All you need is a few cardboard boxes (large flatpack was used here, but you can go smaller scale) and something to stick with (we used a glue gun, but whatever you have will do), ideally we’d all want it to be recyclable so it is possible to slot in the shelves without glue or sticky tape…now there’s a challenge!

You can create any theme of your choice!  You could make the ‘shelves’ shorter and more varied so the marble could go in any direction, the boxes at the bottom could have different point values to turn it into a game, i.e.  5 points, 10 points, -5 points, -10 points!  Total your score after 5 marbles and who is the winner?

Here is a quick clip of our marble run in action!

Here are a few more images showing close ups of the run and in particular the back of the run, where there is a hidden tunnel. You will find that marbles may not do what you want them to do, so you will adapt parts, add walls, put card images in front of various places to stop the marbles flying off the shelves and causing injury!

This is a kitchen roll cut in half and stuck together (pasted over with a photocopy of books), there is a wall inside to make it go just one way, you can leave it open , so it could go both ways!
The tunnel at the back was made using paper cups cut in half with the bottoms cut out. Kitchen roll tube would do the same or the leg of an old pair of tights!
Here you will see a small wall had to be added in front of the tunnel exit, to stop the marble flying off the shelf! Also a sellotape roll cut in half (on the left) changes the direction of the marble.
This shows the back of the marble run, you can see slots are cut into the cardboard and the shelves slot in place. We have secured them with a glue gun as they needed to be sturdy for frequent use, but it isn’t necessary if you make a tight fit.

Take a look at Pinterest ideas, there are so many great ideas using a mixture of materials.

If you want to create a wonky shelf marble run, here is a sheet of images to print off for decoration.

A Registered Charity: RCN 20000752, CHY509
Creative Commons License Governors & Guardians of Marsh's Library