Thursday, 12 July 2012

Making a crane


There is a construction site near our house with a huge crane – we like to watch it. I have been thinking about how we could make our own crane... and I finally came up with a solution.

I stored up two thick cardboard rolls (from cling wrap packs) – these are very sturdy and do not bend. I also found a narrow box from amazon which is made from thick, strong cardboard. I hunted around for another cardboard roll, this time it needed to be slightly wider (not longer) than the cling wrap rolls. The only thing I could find was a toilet paper roll, the width was perfect! I would have preferred something a little sturdier though (see design note at the end of this post).

The toilet paper roll needs to fit tightly in the box so I cut the hole slightly too small
Inside the box: I weighed the box down with rocks for stability
I cut a circle in the top of the box so that with a bit of pushing and squeezing, the toilet paper roll fit tightly into the hole. Because of the tight fit I didn't need to secure the roll to the floor of the box but you could apply a little sticky tape or use hot glue. I filled the box with rocks (to weigh it down) and sealed it up. Then I slipped one of my cling wrap rolls into the toilet paper roll and it rotated very nicely.

Folded down edges of the thick cardboard roll to create a nook
For extra strength I taped the rolls together

For the top of the crane I joined the two cling wrap rolls together. With a sharp knife I cut four shallow incisions at the top of the vertical roll. This enabled me to push down the edges and create a little nook for the horizontal roll to sit in it. It also gave me more surface area to apply glue. I used my hot glue gun to apply glue to the pushed down bits and then held the horizontal roll in place while the glue dried. For extra strength I also taped the rolls together with packaging tape.

Because one end is short and one long I decided to glue (with the hot glue gun) a rock into the short end to act as a counter balance.


The rock wasn't enough so I made some little weights using my little concrete blocks. I also made a bucket for the crane by skewering some holes into one of the kids stackable cups. I made a small cut in the top of the horizontal roll for the bucket's string to sit in..... and so, reduce the chance of the bucket flying off as the crane gets swung around.

The kids really like our toy crane... and I will show you how it got played with next week...

Design note: The toilet paper roll succumbed to the pressure of play so I have now replaced it with a paper towel roll instead – it is longer and thicker. I have hot glued the roll in place and I am going to add a layer of sticky tape too. I suspect that this area of the crane will need repair from time to time.

Repaired crane – I replaced the tp roll with a paper towel roll, it is held in place with hot glue.
The new paper towel roll was smaller than the tp roll so I used hot glue to plug the gaps

If this is your first visit to at home with Ali – welcome. If you like it, you can follow along through our facebook page or subscribe via email or RSS. Cheers Ali

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Linked to It's Playtime, The Sunday Showcase and The Kids Co-op

19 comments:

  1. That must be a huge hit with kids. I was so thinking of making a crane myself. Glad I got an inspiration!

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    1. Thanks Mansi, I would love to see it if you do. I wish I had included a little house for a driver on top.

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  2. This is so awesome! I bet the kids just loved it. Thank for linking up to the Weekly Kids Co-op. I've pinned this to the Co-op's Pinterest board.

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  3. I am such a fan of your blog and your simple, creative, fantastic ideas are a huge hit at our house. This crane idea will be our next project in the heat of the day!
    I am nominating your blog for two awards. The Versatile Blogger Award and The Lovely Blog Award. http://curlybug.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/blog-love-it-feels-good-to-share/
    My boys thank you as much as I do for all the fun we are having making a mess!

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    1. Oh thank you, thank you, thank you. That is so kind of you to nominate me for two awards. :)

      I am so glad our ideas work for you and your kids too.

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  4. How incredibly fun! This is a fantastic idea.

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  5. Awesome!!! I'm pinning this and writing on the cling film box to save the tube! Thank you. I would never have thought of this.

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    1. Excellent, I hope it works - you need loads and loads of hot glue!!!

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  6. Fantastic idea. I was looking for activities to make with kids at a summer camp. I can hardly wait to see the cranes they create. Thank you so much for the inspiration.

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    1. oooh, I bet you will get all sorts of wonderful cranes. Feel free to load up any photos on my facebook page.

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  7. This is a great idea, my son loves all that construction stuff. This would be something fun to make out of PVC pipes. Going to have to have to try this. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Wow! Ali this is so clever! We love watching cranes too, and I know if Dino Boy sees this he will want to make it!! Pinning :-)

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  9. This is great. I can just imagine this being played with in sand pit :)

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  10. Wow this is such a fab idea! This will be a big hit with the boys!

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  11. This is such a fabulous idea!!! My daughter would love this! Thank you for linking to the Sunday Showcase!

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  12. Hi Ali. Yay. Your blog is fantastic! I particularly love this crane. And I know my little guys will too ღ Aleta

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  13. Great ideas! My little guys would love this! We'd love to invite you to join us at Saturday Show & Tell on Cheerios and Lattes! I know everyone will love your great kid-friendly ideas! Have a great weekend!
    Mackenzie :)
    http://www.cheeriosandlattes.com/saturday-show-tell-20/

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    1. You've been featured on Saturday Show & Tell on Cheerios and Lattes this week! Thanks again for sharing! :)
      Mackenzie

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