Imagination allows you to turn such basic items as Popsicle sticks into architectural marvels such as skyscrapers, bridges and towers. Whether a person builds these things for show, play or just as a hobby is up to the architect; for any purpose, the structure should be strong enough to carry durability and longevity. Learn a few tips for building a strong Popsicle stick tower to ensure yours won’t collapse.
Foundation and Width
When first begin building your Popsicle-stick tower, start with gluing several Popsicle sticks together in a single layer: side-by-side, forming a square or rectangle for a foundation base. The number of sticks you use will be determined by how wide you want to build the tower. Towers with smaller widths will be lighter, stronger and easier to support, while wide towers will require more layering and reinforcement to keep upright. A strong tower should have equal width of the height of the Popsicle sticks you are using. For example, if your Popsicle sticks are 5 inches long, make a foundation base that is no more than 5 inches wide. Doing so will ensure that lateral crossbeams can be built without having to glue two Popsicle sticks together to make a longer beam, which can weaken your structure.
Reinforcing Support Beams
All towering structures, from massive city buildings to miniature wooden models, rely on support beams to withstand the structure’s weight, load and gravity forces for stability. This is even true of Popsicle stick towers. Instead of building off of four single, vertical sticks, stack and glue together three or four sticks directly on top of one another, lengthwise, and allow to dry completely before positioning vertically to build upon. Make four sets of these stacked and glued Popsicle sticks to use as the four corner foundation posts for your tower. As you continue to build your tower upward, the reinforced sticks will carry and distribute the weight with much more strength than a single Popsicle stick would have.
Lateral crossbeams are a major component of any structure; these help distribute weight, loads and forces evenly down to the support beams. Space the four vertical, reinforced Popsicle stick components into each corner of the tower’s foundation base, and glue into place. Then, position and glue a Popsicle stick horizontally across two of the beams; this will serve as a lateral support crossbeam to continue building upon. How you position your crossbeams will be determined by your design preferences, but you should have at least two crossbeams to build upon. Create an “X” shape by connecting two opposite vertical beams with one Popsicle stick and then repeating with the other two corners, or connect all four corners using four horizontally-positioned sticks, forming a square perimeter. Remember that the more lateral crossbeams you use, the stronger your tower will be and the more surface area you will create for building upward. For extra-strong towers, create a “floor” by gluing Popsicle sticks side-by-side as you would for the foundation base and glue it on top of the corner posts to continue building upward with ease.
Reinforcing the Tower
Continue to build and layer vertical support beams and horizontal lateral crossbeams or floors until your tower has reached a height you are pleased with. For best results, wait until each layer has dried completely before building on top of it. Once the tower is completed, reinforce adjoining pieces with epoxy glue at the connection points (where the support beams connect to the posts, for example). Apply a coat of clear spray sealant for extra reinforcement.