×

On a Roll with Ryan’s Marble-Run Challenge

Clear some wall space and get creative with this DIY obstacle course.

Ryan's Mystery Playdate Marble Run

There are endless possibilities for fun here — all using items found around the house. Start with a basic structure of ramps and drops. Test, build, think big, roll those balls, and don’t stop until you’ve built the ultimate marble run. 

What You’ll Need

  • Paper tubes (from toilet paper, paper towel or wrapping paper)
  • Painter’s tape (or washi tape — a low-tack tape that won’t ruin your walls!)
  • Something that rolls (marbles, balls, rolled-up tinfoil)
  • Note: This is technically all you need to pull off the activity, but you can enhance your run by adding flair with the material below.
  • Paint 
  • Paintbrush
  • Paper plates and/or cracker boxes, plastic bottles, paper cups, egg carton
  • Scissors 
  • Utility knife
  • Hot glue gun

Instructions

Step 1: Use a scissor or utility knife to cut a few tubes in half lengthwise.

Ryan's Mystery Playdate Marble Run

Step 2: If you have paper cups, use a utility knife to cut an X in the bottom and fold down the tabs to make a hole in each.

Ryan's Mystery Playdate Marble Run

Step 3: Paint or decorate the outside of your tubes and cups.

Ryan's Mystery Playdate Marble Run

Step 4: To create a starting point for your marble run, use a plastic bottle that your ball can funnel through. Cut the bottle in half with a utility knife. Test to make sure your ball fits! 

Ryan's Mystery Playdate Marble Run

Step 5: Feeling ambitious? Make a zig-zag ramp for your run using paper plates and a hot glue gun. Cut three plates in half with scissors. In the center of the half-plate, cut a half circle the same width as your paper towel tube. Cut another half circle to the right of the first. Repeat, but this time make the half circles on the left. With a scissor or utility knife, cut the paper towel tube in half horizontally. Hot glue your cut plates to the tube in a zig-zag pattern, making sure the “exit holes” are always angled downward. 

Ryan's Mystery Playdate Marble Run

Step 6: Add additional shapes to your run using small cracker boxes. Cut off the top and add a hole on the bottom. 

Ryan's Mystery Playdate Marble Run

Step 7: Turn your run into a game by adding a finish line and a landing spot for the ball, like an egg carton or cups painted in various colors. Place it on the floor underneath your run and guess what color the ball will land in.

Ryan's Mystery Playdate Marble Run

Step 8: Here’s the best part — designing your marble run! Experiment with how and where to tape the tunnels, cups, and tubes. Arrange a few, do a test run, and rearrange until you are happy with the results. (This is why painter’s tape is key!) Keep building, testing, and playing around!  

Now you’re ready to roll!

Related