Making a popsicle stick sled

When I was a wee child in need of cash to fund my plans for world domination and Star Wars Action Figure collecting, I turned to a variety of interesting vocational experiments. One such project was the popsicle stick sled affair. I manufactured boatloads of little runner-sleds out of popsicle sticks and sold them as Christmas tree ornaments at local craft shops. I was seven, I think. Maybe six.

I mentioned this in a blog entry a while back, and ever since then I’ve been getting google hits from people searching for popsicle sled making instructions. Hello, google searchers! I have heard your cry! Today, I shall post said instructions.

Step 1: Prep Work

You’ll need six popsicle sticks, and something capable of cutting them. A small craft saw, wire cutters, something along those lines should do the trick. You’ll also need some craft glue, and a bit of red paint and a brush if you want to get fancy.

Step 2: The Cutting

Take two of the popsicle sticks and cut off the rounded ends at a 45° angle. These two sticks will serve as the sled’s runners. Grab another stick, and cut it into two pieces as indicated by the dotted lines in the picture. The longer of the two pieces will serve as the crossbar, and should be rounded on the cut end. The shorter piece will be used as a crossbar underneath the sled, to keep it together.

Step 3: What You’ve Got

You should now have three unmolested popsicle sticks, and four cut-up pieces to serve as the runners and crossbars. If you’re the fancy-schmancy sort, paint the runners and crossbars red for a Christmasy look and let them dry.

Step 4: Assemble the Frame

Line up the three uncut sticks so that the middle one is sticking out a bit. This forms the classic flying wedge of a runner sled, favored by boys worldwide for running into inconveniently placed snowmen. Take the long crossbar and glue it in place near the front of the wedge. When it dries, flip the sled over and glue the short crossbar to the underside of the sled to give it more stability.

Step 5: The Runners

Once both crossbars have dried properly, your sled’s ready for its runners. Run a line of glue along the edge of each runner, and carefully set it in place. Each runner should butt up against the short crossbar on the sled’s underside – that helps keep them in place while they’re drying.

And that, friends, is it. There are more elaborate designs floating around on the web, some that result in a much wider sled appropriate for decorative painting. The advantage of this design? It’s dirt simple, and it’s just the right size for a Hasbro-sized action figure to take s cruise down a snowy hill. Yo Joe.

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