Cotton reel tanks

Here’s an ‘old-school’ friction toy that I have recently discovered. I reckon most of you, being a crafty lot, must have some old cotton reels knocking about so why not give it a bash?

All you need is an old cotton reel, a slice of candle, a couple of matchsticks and some elastic bands. Check out for a lovely little illustration explaining how to construct them.

There are all sorts of tweaks you can make to improve your tank. For example, if you cut notches in the rims of the cotton wheel you can get it to climb up obstacles. Sorted!

5 thoughts to “Cotton reel tanks”

  1. Yaaaaay! The little cotton reel made it up the stairs! I watched with baited breath.
    Fab post – I do indeed have a bejillion old cotton reels and I have been frowning my head off trying to find a good thing to do with them. Bob’s your uncle.

  2. Thanks Catherine – they are pretty cool eh! I’d never heard of them before but my hubby told me he used to make them when he was little. Old school indeed!!

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