Why Build a Spinning Wheel?
For our recent reboot of the Elevate series, Berry Blast Theme Park, our staff and volunteers took time and effort to make a “point system” that would energize the kids and match the theme of our environment in FC Kids. The result: The Berry Blast Spinning Wheel! Our kids loved getting to come up and spin the wheel when their team won. It also gave them motivation to participate. Below are the instructions to make one for your environment, though you can adapt it for your own purposes.
Materials Needed (and found at your local hardware store):
1/2” Sheet of Plywood or MDF
BBTP Spinner Art (optional)
8 1/4” dowels
A Lazy Susan with the top removed
3/8” x 5” Bolt with a lock nut
Thin Piece of Stiff Leather or Plastic
Box of 3” Philips Wood Screws
Plastic Screw Head Covers
Nail Gun and Nails for Nail Gun (optional)
Paint and/or Print Pieces for the wheel
Paint for the base and trim
1. Use a 1/2” sheet of plywood or MDF to create a 30” circle, with a hole in the center of the circle for a 3/8” bolt.
2. Divide the circle into 20 ‘pie’ wedges, more or less, for the points. (Note: There are twenty wedges exactly on the BBTP Spinner Art). Mark with a regular pencil.
3. Drill twenty holes for the 1/4” dowels about an inch inside all around the edge of the circle and evenly spaced apart. They need to be aligned with the edge of each ‘pie wedge’.
4. Cut the 1/4” dowels to about 4” long and glue them in the holes you just drilled. We used wood glue. These dowel rods will be used as handles to spin the wheel, as well as the stoppers for the flapper.
5. Paint the circle and the stoppers the same color. We used Behr® Ultra, Satin Finish “Glidden Fresh Tangerine”.
6. Print the “BBTP_Spinner_Art.jpg” from the Environmental Graphics folder (available when you purchase the series) and adhere to the inside of the circle with screws. We used plastic screw head covers to disguise them. You can also create your own art. You can decorate your ‘pie wedges’ with different colors, different point amounts or whatever you are having the kids try to win. You can do this by painting, or by printing pieces, to adhere to the ‘pie wedges’.
7. To mount the circle to it’s stand, use a 4’x4’ post that’s at least 4’ tall. Mark a hole centered 20” down from the top the post, and drill a 3/8” hole all the way through the post. This is for the bolt that goes through the post and the center of the circle. We used washers to create space between the post and the circle so that the wheel can spin freely. We also used the base and ring with ball bearings from a lazy susan to help the circle spin. So the end result on the bolt went in this order (from back to front):
Bolt -> Washer -> Post -> Washer -> Lazy Susan base (with ball bearings facing the circle) -> Circle (with Art Attached) -> Washer -> Lock Nut
Note: Do NOT screw the Lazy Susan Base to the circle, instead, tighten the Bolt and Lock Nut just enough so the wheel spins freely and the ball bearings stay inside the Lazy Susan Base.
8. Use 2×4’s to create a base for the post and spinner. Screw the 2’x4’s to the bottom of the post first, in a radiating pattern. Then attach MDF around the edge in the form of a box. Then use the remaining MDF to form the top of the base. Finally, attach the trim with a nail gun, or other method, around the sides and edges of the base.
9. Use wood putty to fill the nail holes. When dry, paint the base and trim.
10. About an inch above the top edge of the spinner, drill a hole in the post for a 1/4” dowel that is at least 3 inches long. Using a jig saw, cut a narrow channel through that dowel and attach a thin piece of leather or plastic that hangs down. This creates the flapper that needs to be long enough to hit each of the dowels on the spinner.
11. Now you are done! Place your Berry Blast Wheel on your stage for the lessons and let the fun begin!