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Marble Maze

Loosely based on a popular old puzzle called pigs in clover, this toy’s changeable rubber band walls allow for almost infinite maze designs.

What you’ll need

  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Wood board (for a perfect square, we cut n 11 1/2-inch piece from a 1- by 12-inch select pine board)
  • Ballpoint pen
  • Foam brush
  • Acrylic paints
  • Hammer
  • Nails (we used 4D bright common nails)
  • Rubber bands
  • 3 marbles

How to make it

  • Marble Maze Step 1

    Use a ruler and pencil to measure and mark a grid of 1 1/2-inch squares on a wood board, leaving a blank border around the grid.

  • Marble Maze Step 2

    At each intersection, make a slight indentation with a ball-point pen or nail. This will help you find the intersections after the board is painted.

  • Marble Maze Step 3

    Use the foam brush to paint the squares with acrylic paint. We painted one square near the center black for the goal and created a small square inside a corner square for the start.

  • Marble Maze Step 4

    Using the marks you made in step 2 as guides, hammer a nail partway into the board at every intersection of the grid.

  • Marble Maze Step 5

    Stretch colorful rubber bands from nail to nail to form walls and corridors.
    To play: Put three marbles on the starting square. Tilt the board to roll the marbles through the maze, trying to get all three into the end goal.
    Did You Know? The first pigs in clover toy, sold in 1889, was a simple circular maze that players tilted to roll clay balls into the center. The toy became a national sensation; even President Benjamin Harrison was said to have been unable to put it down. Our version was adapted from a hands-on craft at the Eli Whitney Museum and Workshop in Connecticut.