Giant DIY Spirograph Art

My kids are crazy about spirograph art (a.k.a. those teeny tiny sets with two plastic gears, where you put a pen in the smaller one and revolve it inside the larger one to make really cool spiral pictures.) So i thought - wouldn't it be cool if we could make a HUGE one? There was nothing on pinterest to help me out, which was really surprising, so my son and i went to the craft store looking for things to make our gears from and voila! an easy hack was born:
Get a hula hoop and a few frisbees (we have loads in the house, so i chose these two), plus a drill / bits, and a hot glue gun.
And some craft paper with as large and as strong corrugation as you can find. Cut it into strips about 1.5-2in wide. Set it aside for later on.
Next, you'll want to drill some holes in your frisbees that will be big enough to hold a marker snugly. I started with some pilot holes, spaced out over the frisbee.
(put some wood or other scrap under here)
I kept enlarging the holes till they were just big enough for some thin markers we had on hand. Pro tip: if your frisbee is made of a brittle plastic, you can put a little dish soap down on the drill bit to keep the plastic from cracking. (Most frisbees won't need this though).
Now hot glue the corrugated cardboard strips to the inside of the hula hoop, and to the outside of the two frisbees and you're ready to go!
here you can see the frisbee with holes.... I'm gluing the paper to the outside of it.
Now the fun begins! Start to draw your spiral art by putting a marker in the hole and moving the frisbee around the perimeter of the hula hoop, holding the hoop steady while your kid draws. Watch the crazy pattern..... and repeat with another color, from a different hole in the frisbee. The innermost holes draw more even circles and the outer holes draw flower shapes.
after two colors it looked like this.....
The baby tried to get in on the action.....
And here is one after a few more colors. Cool, huh?
I'm pretty sure we'll be doing this again lots of times :-) so I would've liked to find a more durable material than the corrugated paper for making our gears, but this was all we found. Anyone have any ideas? thanks!

Suggested materials:

  • Hula hoop
  • 2 frisbees
  • Drill
See all materials

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Eraina Pope-Moller
    Eraina Pope-Moller
    on Jul 21, 2016

    How do you keep the hoop still on the floor whilst drawing with the marker & frisbee? The original Spirograph, you pin the bigger circle to your surface so that it doesn't move when you create your designs.

  • Rmccarthy
    on Dec 19, 2016

    How about corrugated garden edging? It comes in plastic or metal. Would love to try this as a summer activity with chalk. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Shawna Bailey
      Shawna Bailey
      on Dec 20, 2016

      It'll make much bigger ones with that. Think of the size of the ridges on the cardboard vs. the size ridges on the corrugated garden edging. It would make a really cool very large one.

  • Deb Kalil
    Deb Kalil
    on May 25, 2017

    Might be fun to us a hole cutter in frisbee to make it large enough to do sidewalk chalk outside

Join the conversation

2 of 52 comments
  • Kim Houston Hyman
    Kim Houston Hyman
    on Jul 21, 2016

    Check your hardware supply store. I am fairly certain that I saw some corrugated materials that was metal. It was flat strips.

  • Wendy
    on Aug 19, 2016

    What about using corrugated tubing , I'm not sure whether it comes in many diameters but if split lengthways it should fit both the hoolahoop and the frisbees. On the hoop you'd have the seam on the outside so that it didn't interfere with the motion of the frisbees...?

    , CF615 Black Plastic 20mm Inner Dia Flexible Corrugated Conduit Tube 5Ft found on ebay
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