How to make a cardboard carousel

Well, it’s been a while! We left Gulf Town over a year ago, and now live in Brick Town, UK, where at the moment there is very little sand or dust, but a great deal of mud and water. Dustyfeet is now a schoolgirl – but it’s half term, the weather confines us to the house, and this morning she set me a new challenge: she wanted to make a fairground. We settled for a carousel.


I couldn’t find instructions online to make the carousel I had in mind, so I thought I’d better write them.

First, you need two circles of cardboard – I drew around a dinner plate. And you need two tubes that fit inside each other. I had a toilet roll tube and a kitchen paper tube. It doesn’t matter if one is shorter than the other.

Take the first circle of card and cut a hole in it, the same size as the wider tube. Insert the tube a short distance and hot glue it on both sides (I’m sure you could make this carousel without a glue gun, but I can’t remember how I lived without a glue gun – I highly recommend them!). This will be the base of your carousel.


Take a long strip of card and glue it around the underside of the base, to raise it off the ground. You might want to add another circle of card underneath (I didn’t – I should have done).


Take the other circle of card and cut a hole for the thinner tube in the same way. This will be the roof of the carousel, and will carry the horses.


Insert one tube into the other. See, it rotates!


Now make holes in the roof and insert straws. These will be the posts for the horses.


If you use bendy straws, it’s easy to secure them with a bit of tape on top.


Meanwhile, your child is decorating the base with bits of torn wrapping paper. She has also been colouring in some cardboard horses (no, it’s not summer, and we are not in Gulf Town – Dustyfeet just likes to dress as if we were).


You can cover up the ugly ends of the straws with a nice decorative paper plate, or embellish however you fancy.


Tape the horses onto the straws, decorate with twirly pipe cleaners, sticky stars and anything else that comes to hand – and you have a carousel!


We found some tiny dolls in my sewing basket. I’d been hiding them for a while, but they were just right for a ride at the fairground.


Well – in a hanging-off-the-horse’s-neck kind of way.

Dustyfeet was slightly disappointed that the horses didn’t go up and down. I told her that was an engineering feat too far for Mummy, and she soon discovered that the whole carousel would take off from it’s base and fly around the room instead, which was much more fun. But does anyone have any ideas how the horses could be persuaded to go up and down?

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2 Responses to How to make a cardboard carousel

  1. MARY HENRY says:

    I used your carousel idea for my child’s school project – A happy mum – Thank you !

  2. Jo says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. We have spent all weekend making this for my daughter’s school project. It looks fab. You saved us xx

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