How to Make Carousels Out of Paper


Carousels began as training tools for warriors, combining elements of the quintain, a pole-mounted jousting target, with "riding at the rings," a skill contest in which mounted knights tried to catch small brass rings on their lances. People usually picture carousels with horses or fantasy animals, but you can also make them with bicycles, motorcycles or race cars. You can paint, draw or assemble a paper carousel as a fun craft project.

Things You'll Need

  • Clear plastic overhead sheets
  • Images of carousel horses, dragons, fantasy creatures
  • Images of bicycles, motorcycles, race cars
  • White or light-colored construction paper
  • Tape
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Pack of 9- by 12-inch sheets of bright-colored paper
  • Paper clips
  • Colored pencils, markers, acrylic paints or crayons
  • Metallic cord and satin ribbon
  • Paper punch
  • Bag of rhinestones, variety of colors
  • Metallic chenille stems
  • Clear silicone adhesive or a hot melt glue gun and clear sticks
  • Fill your printer with plastic overhead projection sheets instead of paper. Print images of carousel horses, dragons and other fantasy creatures or bicycles, motorcycles and race cars onto the sheets in black ink. All these images are your "horses."

  • Tape the four corners of a 9- by 12-inch sheet of white or light-colored construction paper to your desk or table, with one long side facing you.

  • Choose three to five of the images you printed on the clear plastic overhead sheets to serve as the "horses" for your carousel. Match the corners of one of the overhead sheets to the corners of the paper on the table.

  • Trace the image onto the first white or light-colored sheet of paper with a pencil. Repeat all previous steps until you have traced three to five carousel animals onto sheets of white or light-colored paper. Cut each image from the paper, taking care to keep corners and other details sharp.

  • Select as many sheets of bright-colored paper as you have "horses." Glue them to one another at the short ends, by overlapping the sheets 1/2-inch to 1-inch. Apply glue along the overlap and press the sheets together. Secure the overlapped pieces with paper clips at the top and bottom, allowing the paper to dry overnight before proceeding.

  • Paint or color each "horse" as desired. Embellish them with rhinestones, dots of punched paper, metallic cord and satin ribbon.

  • Arrange your "horses" at different levels, evenly spaced, on the connected sheets of construction paper.

  • Lift one "horse" at a time from the paper and position a metallic chenille stem in its place, to serve as a pole. Glue the stem to the paper before you glue the "horse" over the stem.

  • Glue the right and left ends of your "horse" arrangement together to make the body of your carousel. Secure the glued portion with paper clips at the top and bottom, until the glue dries. It should now stand upright like an oversize can.

  • Trace around the base of your carousel with a pencil, on a sheet of white or light-colored paper. Place one end of a ruler on the outer edge of the resulting circle and move the other end around the circle until you find the longest arc, which is the diameter. Draw a line across the circle, along the ruler.

  • Move one end of the ruler 90 degrees along the outer edge of the circle. Move the other end of the ruler around the circle until you find the longest arc again. Draw a second line. Use the point where the two lines cross as the center of the circle.

  • Draw a circle 2 inches larger in diameter than the base of your carousel, using the center point of the carousel base as the center for the new circle. Mark two points along the outer edge of the circle, two inches apart. Draw a line from the first point to the center of the circle, and a second line from the second point to the center.

  • Cut along both lines from the outer edge of the circle to the center, and remove the resulting wedge. Overlap the cut edges of the wedge and glue along the overlap. Secure the overlapped edges with a large paper clip until the glue dries. This creates a peaked top for your carousel.

  • Use bright and metallic acrylic paints, rhinestones and other embellishments to decorate the top of your carousel. Use clear silicone adhesive or a hot melt glue gun and clear glue sticks to attach your carousel top to its base.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have trouble finding the center of the circle using the method above, try using a compass along with a ruler and drawing two arcs anywhere along the outer edge of the circle, then using each end of each arc as center points to make two lines. The intersection of those lines is the center of the circle.

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