Our colourful little steam train is a slightly more advanced project than our farm animals, so be sure to set aside a few hours to spend with your kids as you all help with the painting and sticking.
And when the train is ready, you can fill the carriages with fruit, nuts and sweeties!
We’ve created three carriages for our model, but you can make as many as you like to build a super-long ‘snack train’, so don’t throw away those yoghurt tubs!
What You’ll Need
- NutriDay yoghurt tubs from a six- or eight-pack. Wash them out first in hot soapy water, rinse, and allow to dry.
- Plastic bottle tops. You’ll need four big tops (from milk or juice bottles) for the wheels of the engine, and another lid for the front. For the carriage wheels, you will need smaller tops (the white tops from 1-litre fruit-juice boxes are ideal).
- Glue. A good contact adhesive such as Bostik Clear is best (see also Tips, below).
- Acrylic or poster paints in bright colours, plus black paint for the chimney.
- Paint brushes.
- A pencil and scissors.
- A pair of plastic ‘googly’ eyes, which you can buy in any craft shop.
- A cork.
- A craft knife or sharp kitchen knife.
- A length of fabric ribbon about 2 cm wide. Look in your local fabric shop for black-and-white striped ribbon. If you can’t find this, use black ribbon and draw on the white stripes using a correction-fluid pen.
- Spread several sheets of newspaper on your table to make cleaning up easy.
- You may need more than one coat of paint to cover the NutriDay tubs. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly before adding a second coat.
- When you’re using contact glue, it’s best to apply a thin film to both surfaces. Leave to dry for a minute, until the glue is ‘tacky’, then firmly press the surfaces together.
- You can also use superglue or a hot glue gun to make these models, but these must only be handled by adults. If you’re using glue gun, don’t let it get too hot, or it may melt the plastic tubs.
- Rinse your paintbrushes well under cold running water and dry thoroughly on a paper towel before switching colours.
1. Paint All the Tubs. You can put them outside in the sun to dry between coats of paint, or use a gentle blast of warm air from a hair-dryer.
- For the engine: paint the outsides of two tubs blue, and be sure to paint under the rims. Paint the outside of another tub red (this will form the ‘cab’ of the engine).
- For the carriages: paint the outsides, insides and the areas below the rims of three or more tubs, using bright colours.
2. Make the Engine
- Apply glue to the top edge of the two blue tubs, and stick them together, rim to rim, to form a ‘cylinder’.
- Spread glue on the rim of a big bottle top and stick it to the front of the engine cylinder. Stick on two plastic ‘googly’ eyes to form the face of the engine.
- To make the cab from the red tub, you’ll need a paper template that will allow you to cut an arch on both sides so the cab fits snugly on top of the ‘cylinder’. Here is how:
- Place any yoghurt tub bottom-side down on a piece of paper, and draw around the base with a pencil. Cut out this paper shape and fold it in half to form a rough half-moon shape.
- Put the red tub top-side down on your counter. Take your folded paper template and press it on to one side of the tub, its flat edge resting on the tub’s rim. Draw around the shape with a pencil to form an ‘arch’. Repeat this on the opposite side of the tub.
- Using scissors, cut away the entire rim of the tub. Now cut out the ‘arch’ shapes you drew with your pencil (see picture above).
- Apply glue to the uncut sides of the red tub, and position it on the back end of the engine cylinder, as shown in the picture at the top of this page.
- To make the ‘chimneys’, use a knife to cut off one-third of your cork. Paint the longer piece of cork black, allow to dry, and glue it to the top of the engine, up front. Paint the shorter piece of cork blue, and stick it to the top of the engine, behind the black chimney, as shown in the picture at the top.
- To attach the wheels, spread glue on the rims of the four bigger bottle tops, and stick them onto the sides of the engine cylinder, as shown in the picture.
- To make the ‘cow-catcher’ on the front of the engine, cut out two triangles of striped fabric ribbon, and attach them to the front, underneath the engine’s ‘face’.
- Stick a small white lid to the bottom of each carriage, to form a wheel. Repeat on the opposite side of each tub.
- Turn the engine and all the carriages wheel-sides up and arrange them so they are evenly spaced across your counter-top – there should be about 2 cm between each coach.
- Cut the fabric ribbon into 6-cm lengths. Place a blob of glue on both ends of each length of ribbon, and press these to the bottom of the tubs to link the entire train. Set aside to dry.