Marble runs are brilliant for developing your child's spatial thinking, problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination. And there are some lovely marble-run sets to buy. But if, like us, you seem to get through mounds of kitchen and loo roll, you can make use of the cardboard inner tubes to make a simple, home-made marble run game – for free!


One of our MadeForMums crafters, Abi Walker, has been busy with her daughter Maisie, creating this colourful cardboard marble run. She didn't have marbles, so used pom poms instead – which, she says, work really well.

Here's how to make a loo roll marble run

You will need:

  • Paint (optional)
  • Cardboard loo rolls and kitchen roll tubes
  • Scissors
  • Sticky tape or masking tape
  • Marbles (or pompoms)
  • Paper or plastic cups (optional)

Step 1: Paint the tubes

painted loo rolls for homemade marble run
Pic: Abi Walker

Start by painting your cardboard tubes in lots of different colours. This is an optional step but it’ll make your marble run stand out once it’s been put together. You could also use pens, crayons or stickers to decorate them once they're dry.

Step 2: Cut most in half

partially cut loo rolls for homemade marble run

Cut some of the tubes in half to make the tubes for your marbles to run down. If you’re doing this with younger children, we’d suggest doing this part yourself or keeping a continuous eye on them while they’re cutting. Leave a few of the tubes whole as these make good tunnels.

Step 3: Assemble the run

marble run game

Pic: Abi WalkerTape your tubes up against a door or wall, positioning them in a way so the marbles can slide from one tube into another. This is the fun bit as you might have to do a few test runs to make sure the tubes are positioned in the best way and you don’t have marbles sliding off into all directions!

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You could also, if you like, place paper or plastic cups at the bottom of your run to catch the marbles as they fall.

You’re ready to play! Get your child to drop a marble (or whatever small round object you have to hand) from one of the top tubes and watch as it slides down the different tubes to reach the bottom.


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