Elder four wheeler
A step-by-step guide to making your own four wheeler – enjoy the ride!
Age Range: all ages
Duration: 1-2 hours
Time Of Day: any time
Category: * what's new * tool use & traditional crafts
Consider the environmental impact of preparing, carrying out & completing this activity. Could the impact be reduced? Specific considerations for this activity could include:
- source wood responsibly – see our tips for foraging
Health & safety considerations
Follow your usual operating procedures and carry out appropriate risk benefit assessments. Some considerations particular to this activity include:
- tool use
What you’ll need
- Length of elder with inside pith the diameter of a match
- bypass secateurs or small saw
- lollipop sticks
- masking tape
Step 1 – cut your elder
Using by-pass secateurs or a small saw cut off a piece of elder about the diameter of your forefinger and about 5cm in length.
Ideally the pith in the centre of the elder should be about the diameter of a match stick (If the pith is thicker than a match then you could use a thin piece of dowel or similar.)
If you want smooth wheels rather than ‘off road’ wheels then peel off the bark at this stage.
Step 2 – wheels
Cut your length of elder into 4 equal pieces (these will be the wheels).
Step 3 – insert match sticks
Remove the striking end of 2 matches.
Push each match stick approx. half way into the pith of 2 of the ‘wheels’. Hopefully it will be a tight fit to hold the match in place.
Ta da … a fairy lollipop! If you want to stop at lollies, go no further!
If you want to complete the wheels then carry on – insert the other end of each match into the pith of the other 2 wheels.
Step 4 – axles
Create a tube around the match (axle).
This can be done by taping a piece of card around or, in our photo, we used masking tape – sticky side up first and then another layer sticky side down.
The aim is to create a cylinder that moves around the match – for the axle to rotate within.
Repeat with the other set of wheels.
Step 5 – chassis
Create a chassis.
We used two lollipop sticks taped together, but please share any other engineering designs with us!
Step 6 – build your vehicle
Connect the chassis to the wheels.
Have a go your way and experiment with different fixing ideas. but once finished the chassis should be attached and the wheels should turn freely.
Take it further
Pimp up your ride! Make a seat, decorate it, test out its load bearing or have a downhill race!
(don’t forget a seat belt!)