Amy’s Free Ideas

Paper Towel Tube Marble Chute

Use cardboard tubes and cereal boxes to create a course for marbles or wooden beads, or even ping-pong balls--just test the balls in the tubes to see if they fit before you spend a lot of time constructing it!!

  1. 1.Start with a box or container (such as an oatmeal container as shown in the photo above) to fasten the marble pathways to. This will provide stability for the whole structure so it won’t topple easily. It will also provide a hidden section to redirect marbles, so you are not sure where the marbles are going to come out.

  2. 2.If you want to decorate it, it may be easiest to paint the various tubes and boxes before you assemble it. A less messy option is to glue colored paper to the tubes and boxes--construction paper or wrapping paper, etc. Or just leave it plain as in the photo above.

  3. 3.Cut several holes in the box for tubes to enter and exit.

  4. 4.Inside the box, connect some of the tubes so the marbles go out a different tube than expected.

  5. 5.Cut some of the tubes in half lengthwise to form an open path so you can see where the marbles are traveling.

  6. 6.Cut more tubes to form braces under the chutes for the marbles.

  7. 7.Try out a few marbles to see if you like the way the marbles run. If not, rearrange the tubes before you glue them in place.

  8. 8.Glue the tubes in place. A glue gun is the easiest way to glue them, since the glue hardens so quickly. If you don’t have a glue gun, use all purpose glue, and use various items from around the house to prop up the tubes until the glue dries.

  9. 9.If you did not paint or decorate the pieces before assembling, now is the time to do that.

Optional--you can make some of the tubes interchangeable if all the tubes are the same diameter. Cut some of the tubes down the length of the tube so that when you squeeze them a little, they will fit inside the uncut tubes. Glue these cut tubes inside a few of the uncut tubes so they are half way sticking out. The part of the “inner tube” that sticks out can slide into more uncut tubes to hold them in place.

Paper Towel Tube Marble Chute for the Refrigerator

Use cardboard tubes and various boxes to create a course for balls on the refrigerator. They can be rearranged over and over again.

  1. 1.Cut some cardboard tubes in half lengthwise. (paper towel or toilet paper tubes)

  2. 2.Glue magnets to both ends of all the tubes. Glue the magnets near the edge, then put it on the refrigerator to make sure it hangs at a good angle. A glue gun is the easiest way to glue on magnets. If you don’t have a glue gun, use clamps to hold the magnets in place until they dry. Another option is to crumple up tinfoil to hold the tubes in place until the glue dries.

  3. 3.Cut holes in boxes--one in the top for the ball to go in, and one in the bottom for the ball to go out. Make sure the bottom hole is all the way at the end of the box, or the ball might get hung up on far side of the hole, and not fall out.

  4. 4.Decorate the tubes and boxes--glue paper over them, or paint then.

  5. 5.Be creative with the kinds of containers you use--the top of  a clear plastic bottle can make a really fun addition since the ball rolls around and around in a spiral before exiting through the mouth of the bottle. Just don’t try to glue the round surface so it is flat against the magnet, because the force of the plastic is trying to revert to it’s curved shape and can make the bottle pop off the magnet--so glue it with more glue on the sides where it naturally curves away from the magnet.

  6. 6.Use wooden or plastic beads or balls. If you use glass marbles, they will be too heavy--they will knock the chutes onto the floor instead of rolling along them.

  7. 7.Try rearranging the course to make the most interesting course.