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How to Build Mini Racing Cars

By Grahame Turner ; Updated April 18, 2017
Making a small model car out of household items allows you to race them against a store-bought one, like this.

When it comes to a race at home on a rainy day, there are few things better than a matchbox car. However, you can also make your own out of household materials. Having your own mini race cars allows you to have a race indoors, and can make an interesting set of competitions--make your own designs for speed or distance, or compare one of your cars to a store-bought mini toy car.

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Draw three 1-inch by 2-1/2-inch rectangles on a piece of cardboard.

Streamlined surface, curved corners, and a sleek look. You can make your car look however you want.

Draw the top of the car on one of these rectangles. You can add rounded corners or other features on this. Draw a wheelbase onto the second rectangle that looks similar to the upper first rectangle. Make the remaining rectangle into the middle layer of the car, copying any curves or changes in shape between the other two pieces.

Cut the layers of the car out of the cardboard.

Place glue on the bottom layer of the car, then glue the middle layer in. Repeat with the top layer of the car onto the middle. Leave the glue to dry for a few minutes.

Cut two pieces of straw to 1-inch lengths.

Glue and tape the straws to the underside of the car. Place them 1/4-inch from the front and back of the vehicle.

Cut the dowel to two 1-1/2-inch lengths.

Stick the dowel through the toy wheels. Glue the wheel in place. Repeat with the other dowel and another wheel. Leave the glue to dry for a few minutes.

Slide the dowels through the straws.

Glue the remaining wheels onto the exposed ends of the axles. Make sure the glue doesn't get on the straws, or they may get stuck.

Decorate the car, painting it any color you want. Draw on features like headlights, a windshield, or doors. Leave the vehicle to dry for a couple of hours before playing with it.

Things You Will Need

  • Cardboard box or Styrofoam meat tray
  • Marker or pencil
  • Scissors
  • 8-inch drinking straws
  • 8-inch wooden dowels or skewers
  • 4 wooden, plastic or toy wheels, bottle caps or anything that can act as a wheel
  • Glue or masking tape
  • Paint
  • Construction paper
  • Glue stick (optional)


Make a ramp out of a plywood plank and rest the vehicles at the top. Let two vehicles go at the same time to race them against each other.

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About the Author

Grahame Turner has worked as a freelance writer since 2009 and a freelance reporter since 2010 for Wellesley Patch and Jamaica Plain Patch in Massachusetts. He also works part-time as a bookseller at the Northeastern University bookstore. He is a Northeastern University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English.

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