Is life a little different than it was a month or two ago? I know things are different for me here at the studio. With the closures and social distancing that Covid 19 has brought, I’ve still spent a lot of time in the studio, but it’s been quieter without you guys, my beloved customers, to create alongside me. I suppose you’re finding yourself at home more too. Kids have been out of school almost two months. Playgrounds are closed. I’m wondering how many times you have heard, “I’m bored.” There’s a lot of art ideas going around social media, and maybe you’ve done some of them too. But without access to specialized supplies, you may find you are unable to do some of the fun activities you’ve seen online. That’s why I’m bringing this post to you today: a cool art project you can do with stuff you already have that also doubles as a toy. What is it? A recycled cardboard marble maze!
How to make a cereal box marble maze
The supplies for this project are minimal and flexible. You will need:
- one recycled cereal box or other recycled cardboard
- tape (duct tape or packing tape are idea, but really any kind will do. You can also use glue)
- a marble or small ball
Almost every kid likes a good maze, but how much cooler is it when you can crate your own? Let your kids get as tricky as they want with a marble maze made out of an empty cereal box.
To start, cut the back off your cereal box and tape the top closed. This should give you the floor of your maze as well as walls to keep your marble from running away as you work it through the maze.
Take the back (the piece you just removed) and cut it into strips about two inches wide. Use some strong scissors or get mom and dad to help. Then cut those strips into short sections. These will be the walls of your maze. Make them whatever size you like. It’s best if you have some medium length ones and a bunch of short ones.
You could set these walls in place as is, but they won’t hold up all that well to your marbles if you do. So let’s make them a little stronger. Fold your strip in half lengthwise. Now you will have the same length strip but it will only be an inch wide. Press your fold really well and then fold each side up to fold it in half again. If you let go, your cardboard piece should look kind of like a w. Let the outsides drop down until they are perpendicular to the center fold. If you put it on a table, it will look like T turned upside down. If you like, add a staple to the middle of the center section to give it a little strength. Make these folds with all of your cardboard strips.
Now you are ready to assemble your maze. Set your walls into the empty box wherever you would like them. Use tape on each side to tape it in place. Leave about one and a half inches between your walls so your marble has plenty of room to move around.
Label the bottom left corner start and the bottom right corner finish and you are ready to play. Hold your box in two hands with your marble at start. Then tilt your box back and forth and move your marble along the path until you reach the finish.
If a complete marble maze is too much of a challenge, try this bit by bit challenge. Once you have all your walls made but not taped in place, label your bottom left corner start and your bottom right corner finish. Add only one piece of cardboard to your made. You should line it up against the bottom of your box letting it divide block the straight path between start and finish. Put your marble in place and navigate it to the finish.
You have completed level one. Great job! Now add one or two cardboard walls to make the path to the finish more complicated. Put your marble in and make your way to the finish. Add one or two more walls at a time, stopping after each addition to move your marble through the maze. Stop whenever it becomes too much of a challenge or you have filled your box with walls.
Once you have mastered your maze and you want to make it even more difficult, try a hands-free version. Attach two long strips of cardboard to the underside of the box’s top. Tape two more the underside of the bottom of the box. Picture an H with your marble maze in the middle. Grab another person to play. One of you should hold the strips on the top of the H. And the other should hold the strips on the bottom of you H. Move your strips up and down to navigate your marble through the maze. Don’t get discouraged if it’s hard. This is tough!
If you want to make your marble maze even more difficult, add 4-9 holes along the maze path. The more holes you make, the harder your maze will be. You will want each hole to be a little bigger than a half inch – just big enough for a marble to fall through. If you are using a different kind of ball, make your holes big enough that your ball can fall through. Decide where you want them then get a parent to help you with making the holes.
I hope you have lots of fun creating your very own marble maze. No two will be the same. And they can be as easy or as difficult as you like. You can even take them apart and move the walls around or let siblings challenge each other with their maze masterpieces. Happy arting!