Soda-Bottle Tractor

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Soda-Bottle Tractor
Total Time 1 to 2 hours Ages school-age

Thanks to its jumbo rear wheels made from cardboard disks and old CDs, this green machine is surprisingly speedy. A seat cut from the corner of a soap box makes the perfect perch for toy tractor operators.

Download Soda-Bottle Tractor Template

What you'll need

  • 8 (3-3/4-inch diameter) cardboard disks
  • Yellow duct tape
  • Black tape
  • 6 CDs
  • Pushpin
  • 3 wooden skewers, cut into two 5-inch pieces and one 3-3/4-inch piece
  • Glue dots
  • Fabric measuring tape
  • Clean plastic 20-ounce bottle
  • Scissors
  • Straw, cut into two 3-inch pieces
  • Milk-jug caps (we used 2 yellow and 1 green)
  • 5 small hex nuts (we used 7/16-inch)
  • 3 yellow soda-bottle caps
  • Empty soap box
  • Large black bottle cap
  • Black marker cap

How to make it

  1. Soda-Bottle Tractor - Step 1

    For each rear wheel, cover one side of a cardboard disk with yellow tape, then use black tape to cover one side of a CD. With the pushpin, punch an axle hole in the center of each cardboard disk, then use a skewer to widen the openings. Stack 4 cardboard disks and 3 CDs, as shown, lining up the holes and using glue dots to hold them together.

  2. Soda-Bottle Tractor - Step 2

    Using the tape measure and starting from one of the bottle's vertical seams, mark the axle holes as shown in the diagram. Mark the steering column hole about 3 1/2 inches from the bottle's nose. Use the pushpin to punch the holes, then widen them by inserting the point of the scissors and twisting (a parent's job). Push a straw piece through each set of axle holes. Insert a 5-inch skewer piece in the steering column hole.

  3. Soda-Bottle Tractor - Step 3

    To attach the rear wheels, push one wheel stack onto a 5-inch skewer piece and insert it through the straw. Use a pushpin to punch a hole in each yellow milk-jug hubcap. Press one onto the skewer, then use a glue dot to add a decorative hex nut. Add the opposing wheel, hubcap, and hex nut. Make sure that both wheels touch the ground and neither grazes the bottle.

  4. For the front wheels, use a pushpin to punch a hole in the center of two yellow soda-bottle caps, then use the point of the scissors to widen them. Push one cap onto the 3-3/4-inch skewer piece. Insert the piece through the straw. Add the opposing wheel, then use a glue dot to attach a hex nut to each.

  5. Soda-Bottle Tractor - Step 5

    Cut a seat from the corner of a soap box, cover it with yellow tape, and secure it with a glue dot. Use a pushpin to punch a hole in the black bottle cap and widen it with the scissors. Push it onto the steering column and attach a hex nut with a glue dot. Use glue dots to make the exhaust pipe from the marker cap and green milk-jug cap and to attach it to the tractor. Screw the last yellow cap onto the bottle opening.

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