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DIY wind-up racing spool car tutorial

These wind-up wooden spool cars are simple to make but will provide hours and hours of fun and entertainment for both the young and old. These little vehicles go together very quickly and easily, and move on their own — with a little wind-up and the power of the rubber band.


  • 1 (7/16 inch) wooden dowel — cut into 4 (3 inch) lengths
  • 4 wooden spools — available at most hobby and craft stores
  • 4 rubber bands
  • 4 paper clips
  • 4 washers
  • Decorative washi tape, vinyl, paint or markers (optional)
  • Sharp scissors or a mini hacksaw (to cut the dowel)


1. Decorate your car

Use paint, washi tape, vinyl or markers to decorate your spools as desired. Be sure not to cover up the top or edges of the spool.

2. Assemble the motor

First, hook the paper clip onto the end of the rubber band. Next, using the paper clip as though it were a sewing needle, thread the paper clip/rubber band through the middle of the spool, taking care to prevent the other end of the rubber band from pulling all the way through.

Placing the paper clip on the wooden spool

Situate the paperclip as shown.

Tape the paper clip onto the wooden spool

Tape into place.

Thread a rubber band through the center of the spool and washer

Flip the spool over and thread the tail of the rubber band into the middle of a washer.

Thread a dowel through the loop of the rubber band

Thread a dowel through the loop. Your rubber band should be snug, to hold the dowel into place. If it’s not, you may tie a knot into the rubber band.

3. Challenge someone to a race

You can create a race track using washi tape, a piece of foam core board and a marker — as shown. To make the car move, simply spin the dowel until the rubber band is wound tight, set on its side and let it go. The rubber band will unwind, spinning the paper clip that is taped to the end of the spool — causing the spool to spin and thereby power the car. The car goes faster the tighter you wind the dowel. (The dowel will not spin.)

Spool race car

This simple project will provide hours and hours of fun for everyone. Make the race track, gather the simple supplies and have a fun car race at your next family gathering.

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