Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Summer Sun Marble Run

Here's something to do with the kids on a hot summer day - make a marble run!  It's fun to make, and fun to use, very relaxing, and a good "tilt table" for fidgeters.  You can use my pattern or create your own, make a maze, or try writing out a name.

For this project you will need:

  • Creative Paperclay® modeling material
  • foam core, wood, or cardboard in the size and shape you want (my pattern calls for a 16" x 16" square)
  • a marble
  • pattern
  • pencils
  • tracing paper for transferring pattern
  • stiff round brush; a stencil brush will work well
  • rolling pin
  • plastic wrap
  • paint

If you are making your own pattern, you will also need

  • dial calipers - OR circle gauge - OR toothpicks, tape, and a ruler
  • paper large enough to draw out your pattern

If you are using my pattern, skip ahead to the pattern transfer picture.

If you are going to make your own pattern, first measure the size of your marble.  Use either the gauge, calipers, or toothpicks taped to a ruler lifted to the midway point of the marble as shown,

Write down that measurement, then tape two sharpened pencils to a scrap of cardboard so that they match that distance.  I'm using two different colored pencils in the photo so you can more clearly see how drawing the pattern works out.

Draw your pattern either freehand or over a sketch, using these two pencils as a guide to indicate how much room the marble will need.  Try to hold them straight up and down while drawing, to keep the lines the same distance apart.

This would be the first step for a maze - beginning, squiggly path, and end.

Add more lines, without crossing over any of the ones previously drawn

Once you are happy with your pattern, cut a piece of cardboard, foamcore or wood to the desired size.

Cover board with a thin layer of clay on both sides and on the edge; set aside to dry.  When the clay is dry, sand if necessary and then transfer the pattern you've chosen.

Roll clay out to about 1/8" thickness and cut into 1/2" wide strips.  If you have a strip of wood or cardboard in that thickness, you can use that as a guide.

Leave the strips in place and only work with one at a time, keeping the remainder under wraps so it will stay moist until needed.

Brush water a few inches along one of the pattern lines, then brush some water onto the edge of one strip of clay.  Apply that edge of the clay strip to the moistened pattern line by holding it in place then pushing down with your thumb and forefinger as shown.  Repeat this process a little bit at a time along your pattern line until you have about 6" applied then, using a wet brush, blend both sides of the clay onto the board.

Use your marble as a guide to make sure you have applied the clay walls properly.  Smooth clay with wet finger or sculpting tool to make a smooth path for the marble.

When you've finished adding clay to your pattern, allow the marble run to dry completely, then test it out, sand or add clay as necessary until the marble rolls smoothly, then paint as desired.

Thanks for joining me here again!  As always, play, experiment, and have fun!

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Sandee Setliff said...

This is a fabulous project!

Tori West said...

Thank You, Sandee