How to Make Structures of Tooth Picks

Making structures out of toothpicks is relatively easy as long as they do not have to support anything. With just some simple items from your kitchen and plenty of glue, you can build tall toothpick towers, toothpick houses or other intricate items. If you have a physics project that involves the toothpicks' ability to support weight, then you may need to use some additional high school or college-level equations in order to determine your architectural design, but for the purposes of this project, we will assume a simple, standing structure is all that is needed.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Toothpicks
  • Craft glue
  • Wax paper

Instructions

    • 1

      Measure a toothpick. You will need to make sure that all of the lines in your structure are evenly divisible by the measurement of a single toothpick so that you do not have to cut any toothpicks.

    • 2

      Draw a design. Make a simple line drawing using the ruler and a pencil. If you are making a tower, then it should be one side of the tower. For example, you might draw a large rectangle that is the width of a toothpick and the height of 4 toothpicks. Then you could draw diagonal lines the length of 2 toothpicks up the middle of the rectangle. This would make one side of the tower.

    • 3

      Trace your pattern. You will need a separate pattern for each side of the tower. Trace your original to make them all identical.

    • 4

      Lay a sheet of wax paper over each pattern. You should be able to see the design clearly through the wax paper. If you cannot, then go over the pencil lines to make them darker.

    • 5

      Lay the toothpicks over the pattern. The toothpicks should be on top of the wax paper. They should fit all lines evenly.

    • 6

      Glue the toothpicks together. At each joint where one toothpick touches another toothpick, place a large drop of glue. The glue should cover part of each toothpick. Once you have glued all the toothpicks together, you will need to let the glue set for 24 hours.

    • 7

      Glue the sides of the structure together. In the case of the tower, you will peel the sides of the tower off the wax paper, then glue them together along the length of each adjacent side. You may need to hold the sides together, in place, for as long as 20 minutes while the glue sets. When you are done, you will have a tall, rectangular tower.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can speed the setting process by using fast-drying glue or a glue gun.
  • Add a top to the tower by placing a toothpick at each corner and angling them so that they meet in the middle to create a point. You will need a helper for this so that one of your can hold the toothpicks in place while the other does the gluing.
  • If a young child wants to build with toothpicks, use gumdrops or marshmallows instead of glue.
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References

  • Photo Credit Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images

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