• Today is: Monday, October 19, 2020

Maker Monday: Paper Plate Marble Run

maker monday
Sally Quinn
October01/ 2018

Here’s a new way to play with marbles and experiment with gravity. This week’s Maker Monday shows how to create a Paper Plate Marble Run with a few simple supplies. This STEM construction project will challenge your engineering skills while considering how speed changes with the degree of the slope.

Use paper plates with a deep rim to keep the marbles from skedaddling out of control across the room.

maker monday


Cardboard tube, mailing tube, wrapping paper tube or paper towel tube

Paper plates with a high rim

Duct tape, packing tape or glue gun



maker monday

Begin with five plates for a 12-inch tube. If you’re ambitious enough for a taller run, you’ll need to use more. Trace the end of the tube onto the center of each plate.

maker monday

Cut from the edge straight into the center, then cut the circle out of each plate.

maker monday

Stack the plates together with the cut edges at the same place. Begin to tape the plates together, attaching one of the cut ends of the top plate to the cut edge below. We tried packing tape but found that duct tape worked best. Continue through on each level, creating a spiral track. The bottom cut edge is taped onto an uncut plate to catch the marbles.

Attaching the spiral track to the tube is a little tricky. You might need an extra two hands to put it together. Slide the tube through all layers and attach to the bottom plate. After a bit of experimentation, we found duct worked best. But maybe you have a better glue gun than us! Scooch each level up to create a gentle slope. Tape each level as you go to the top.

Ready to race? Experiment with other objects besides marbles — like ping pong balls or Matchbox cars and see what happens.

For more Maker Monday projects and other fun stuff for kids, visit the Kidsburgh Activities page.

Sally Quinn

Sally Quinn is an award-winning writer and editor who has been covering her favorite city for more than 30 years. She appreciates all that Pittsburgh offers families and has a blast guiding her 10 grandkids to new discoveries. Sally welcomes your comments and story ideas for Kidsburgh.

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