Elder four wheeler

May 22, 2019

A step-by-step guide to making your own four wheeler – enjoy the ride!

plastic toy hare riding a skateboard with elder wheels
Author: Muddy Faces

Age Range: all ages

Duration: 1-2 hours

Location: anywhere

Time Of Day: any time

Season: any

Tags: car, elder, natural materials, secateurs, stick, vehicle, wheels

Category: * what's new * tool use & traditional crafts


Turn four simple elder beads into a set of wheels and then design and create your own skateboard/go-kart/miniature car!

Environmental considerations

Consider the environmental impact of preparing, carrying out & completing this activity. Could the impact be reduced? Specific considerations for this activity could include:

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
  • matches
  • 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.

piece of elder next to finger same diameter

Step 2 – wheels

Cut your length of elder into 4 equal pieces (these will be the wheels).

four beads of elder and 2 match sticks

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.

two elder wheels connected with a match with masking tape tube axle

Step 5 – chassis

Create a chassis.

We used two lollipop sticks taped together, but please share any other engineering designs with us!

two lollipop sticks taped together with masking tape

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.