Although my milk carton cars were not Indy 500 worthy, someone out there may want to try to make one. Here are a few simple steps to get you on your way. Keep in mind that you may have to make adjustments depending on the resources you have available to you.
- Drink milk (or juice or whatever comes in a carton). I sprayed some bleach inside the empty cartons to make them a bit cleaner.
- Spray paint your cartons in advance of your project, perhaps the night before.
- Find axels. I used wooden skewers (like for shish kebabs). For safety’s sake, I cut the sharp end off before letting the kids handle them.
- Find some wheels. We used canning lids. I drilled holes in them to allow the axel to slip through. I tried paper plates also, but they seemed too flimsy. Drill the holes just slightly larger than the axels.
- Let your kids put stickers or color on the cartons before assembling the car.
- Poke holes in the carton where you want to stick the axel through. I used a little awl. Just don’t hurt yourself or someone else. The wheels tended to wobble, so it seemed best to put the hole toward the middle of the carton to allow the side of the carton to stabilize the wheel.
- Put a rubber band on one end of the axel, put a wheel on and stick the axel through the carton. Put the other wheel on and wrap another rubber band around the other end. (See the photos below.)
- Fill the carton with stuff. Our cartons have threaded plastic caps, making it easy to open and close them. I gave the kids washers, bolts and nails to fill their cartons with. Now that the cars have been used for a couple hours, the holes where the axels go through the cartons have started to enlarge, allowing nails to fall out. Thus, I’m thinking that it would be better to find less dangerous “heavy stuff” to fill your cartons with.
- Build a ramp with cardboard or wood or just find a hill. Play with your cars. You can use tape to mark how far each person’s car rolled.
Here you can see the red rubber band wrapped around the axel to hold the wheel on. This axel is attached almost too high because there is very little clearance under the car.
We did smaller wheels in front and larger in back.
Open the carton and add fun stuff–rocks, marbles, nuts, bolts, etc.