How to Construct a Screw Out of a Paper Towel Roll

You can make a model of a screw out of a paper towel roll.
You can make a model of a screw out of a paper towel roll. (Image: screw image by Alison Bowden from

A screw is defined as a simple machine. The function of a screw is to either hold two things together or to lift an object. If you are creating a science project on screws, or you are just looking for a fun project for a rainy afternoon, you can design your own screw using a paper towel roll and play-dough.

Things You'll Need

  • Play-dough
  • Paper towel roll
  • All-purpose flour
  • Water
  • Powdered drink mix

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Paper Towel Screw Assembly Instructions

Roll the play-dough to create a ball. Then roll the it between your hands, moving them forward and backwards only, not side to side, to create a long snake-like shape. The snake-like rope should be about 1/4 inch around and two times as long as your toilet paper roll.

Place one end of the snake-like roll at the top edge of an empty cardboard paper towel roll. Press the end of the roll against the cardboard tube.

Rotate the paper towel roll in a circular pattern to snake the roll around the cardboard tube, moving the play-dough downwards with each turn of the roll. This will create the ridges on the screw. Press the play-dough against the tubing to make it stick.

Leave the snake-rope to dry overnight. You will be left with a model of a screw.

Homemade Play- Doh

Mix 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 cup of standard tap water together in a medium-sized bowl.

Stir to combine.

Add dried flavored drink mix to the mixture to add color. Stir to combine. Model as you normally would.


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