Whose heard of a Marble run? What’s a marble run? you may ask, perhaps a marble run is a mable running?

Nope, a marble run, could this be a travel agency? or something to do with a window runner?

Nope! sounds like movement, yes a marble roll? run, run, run, could it be a road or something to do with a road?

Ha ha marble on the road…look out!!!

So for those of you kids and adults out there that are savvy in this field, yes its a tubular, slidy, rolly construction that you drop or roll a marble or two, or three and they roll down these shutes, slides curly wirly round under over until they get to the other end!

What happened when I attempted to Make a marble run!

Believe you me, when I tried to contruct one of these contraptions, it took me many trial and errors before I was happy enough to roll my marbles down!

In so doing, I lost the only marble I had under the washing machine and decided the nearest thing to a marble was a malteaser!

A round malt chocolate ball, that rolls perfectly, just like a marble, but with less ferocity!

I had a good practice with the malteasers, before I found some more marbles to complete the marble run.


I would suggest this project would suit an older child, or a child that is very patient, keen and ideally who likes puzzles and building from the word go! Although with an adults guide and having breaks now and again, for those kids that just want to have a go, why not!

Let’s think, how to Make a marble run! well the most perfect resource to accomplish this are our friends the cardboard inner tube, (from toilet rolls or kitchen towels).

The only thing being they are tubes, you can’t see the marble roll, so my way around this is to cut them in half length ways, so you in affect get two out of one tube and they become more like slides.


What is it about the marble run, that gets so much attention?

Whilst working with children in a nursery setting and during free play, I have often found myself drawn to the kids that are having the most amazing time with their inventions, that being the faithful marble run!

I can’t help it, just like the kids in their eargerness to make these constructions and see where it takes their marbles.

So I would sit cross legged on the carpet adding piece by piece, tube, shute, ramp, discs you name it and by then I am just like the kids, enthusiastic to see if it all works!

A bit like this pepa pig video, have a look what I mean lol!

Ha ha! I wouldn’t go that far, but quite inventive and it goes to show you can extend it accordingly, you just need some imagination!

See how peppa pigs dad grabs hold of inner tubes to help with tunnelling!

The marble run is the kind of toy, as peppa pigs mum mentions that they haven’t played with it for ages!!! and that it’s always something you can fall back on!

A toy to have lots of excellent fun with and very challenging!


In my eagerness to make a marble run, of my own, I got carried away and started sticking tubes together as a dummy run, like a prototype and had run out of tubes to record the making of the marble run.

In hand I did manage to record it all taped up showing different angles, so as to give you an idea on how I constructed it.

It is pretty straight forward, although I must say challenging too. It’s all about taping tubes together and making sure there is easy transition from one tube, slide or shute to another and that it works correctly.

Heads up though you will need quite a bit of masking tape to help with the bonding, it won’t look that great as you will see in my collection of photo shots, but taping it up is the basic resource you will need to complete the connections.

There is a thought process here, thinking alhead, but having to do a few trial runs, then tape the next tube or shute as you go along.


Have you ever thought who actually invented the marble run?

Well he’s an inventor called Tom Karen, who invented the marble run in the 1960s. He also is the inventor the the famous bicycle the Chopper and the three wheel car better known as the ‘Robin’ and the inventor of the famous bug in a James bond film and much more, he is trully a inspiring man who found something as easy as a wooden marble run that his kids spent ages playing with triggered off the idea for him to explore and create the marble run we are familiar with today.

(His drawings and work are held in the Victoria and Albert museum.)

By checking out his work it may inspire you towards your own design, but also worth dropping in and viewing Tom Karens other inventions and ideas.

He is trully a genius, his love for children and a toy inventor with simple fun ideas and his love for the arts and clever querky inventions in the motor industry, has been  awarded an OBE for his contribution over the decades and his work in technical and nautical engineering.



  • Up to 30 cardboard inner tubes (preferably the longer kind)

  • Masking tape/wire (insulation tape)

  • 3 or 4 small cardboard boxes.

  • Acrylic paints (your choice of colours)

  • Cardboard (hand width)

  • A large opened box to put construction in.

  • 8-10 marbles or chocolate malteasers, or pom pom balls.

Finished marble run using malteasers.

There is alot of cutting, taping and hole making, if you observe in picture No/9 there is a hole in the middle of a small inner tube to accommodate the long slide and a piece of tube to stop marble and allow it to drop below into a long shute.

Also in pic/9 the three runners, slides or shutes, have a hole on either ends, so as the marble drops, it rolls to the end and drops down to the next slide, rolls and drops down to the third slide then rolls out and drops into a cup or larger box.

So there is one hole in each slide one on opposite ends to each other.

(Check out the video to see what I mean.)

Hey there, when you click on links in this post and you make a purchase, I may earn a small commission that l can use towards resources (other than throw-outs) for project making within my website😀

(affliate disclosure)

If marble runs are right up your street, but your child is all fingers and thumbs and struggles with the small pieces, attaching and joining parts together, then this might be of interest to you.

The Smart Max a mega-ball-run! available at KIDLY UK.

This is a 71 piece magnetic wonder, which is suitable for kids 3+ upwards.

It’s tough, durable and unbreakable! made easy to handle for those little hands which will give them hours of pleasure.

Colourful and chunky and very different. Lasting and has a robotic appeal to it.

Check it out and see for your self!

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  • In the making of this marble run, you have to have a top part where you can roll marbles down, so you need to construct tall pillars or poles to enable you to roll in a downward motion.
  • With the three smaller boxes you will need to make a hole to push the pillars or pole into them, these will hold and support the poles, then you will need to tape the poles to the base of the large box that will stop construction from dropping or caving in.
  • Once I made the cone and found a way to attach it, then I had to keep practicing rolling the marbles round and round adjusting the cone to make it curve just enough so that the marble will twirl in a circular motion.
  • To stop the marble pinging off the cone, you may need an edge around the plate, in this case snip all the way around and fold back the card to form an edge.
  • You have to improvise, it’s really a work in progress and there were some parts where I had to change and adjust it to make it work.
  • It took a few goes and changes to make the slides and short tunnels work.
  • Remember you will have to cut out holes to allow parts to fit in and they become your joints or angles.
  • When I was satisfied it worked properly, it still didn’t look that great, but painting it helped bring the whole thing together.
  • So don’t worry, a bit of paint will make a big difference.
  • The bonding tapes or wire tapes once wound around the tubes will hold the construction firmly, they also give a more finished effect.


I hope I have inspired you to grab your tubes and start sticking them together! Remember the longer tubes might save you time and loads of sticking with masking tape!

The idea behind how to make a marble run, is really to be inventive and have lots of fun, just like I did with the kids in nursery which simply enables them in building, connecting using their fine motor skils and in hand inspires cognitive development.

Wow that is quite a mouthful, but really that’s what it’s all about.

So please do have a go, I found it to be quite challenging and it did make me more tougher. I kept persevering with it until I got it right and it reminds me of those famous words…..

‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again!

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