How To Make a Covered Wagon with Popsicle Sticks

Popsicle sticks have been used for a long time to create fun crafts and toys for children and students in the elementary grades. These sticks have proven to be very versatile in making small and big school projects. When your child is learning about history in school and has been asked to create a covered wagon that has been popular in the wild west centuries ago, don’t panic because below are simple instructions on how to make one. You can either opt to use plain Popsicle sticks or opt to buy a pack of skill sticks, which are Popsicle sticks covered with notches along both sides. Skill sticks can add a new dimension and creativity to the covered wagon and can also aid in gluing pieces of sticks closely and securely together. Please read on to view the instructions.

  • Look for an enlarged photo of a covered wagon on the web and make this your basis for the Popsicle stick covered wagon you and your child are going to create.
  • Gather all the materials that you will use for the covered wagon. You will need wood glue or glue gun and glue sticks, a pack of ordinary Popsicle sticks and a pack of skill sticks, thick cardboard for the wheels and a piece of cheese cloth or canvas for the cover.
  • Prepare the work table by covering it with an old sheet or towel or craft paper. This will protect the table surface from accidental drops of glue and make it easier to clean up after you are done.
  • Make the bed for the wagon by making a frame first. Glue four pieces of ordinary Popsicle sticks from end to end to form a square. Place two sticks on the top and bottom to form the horizontal part of the bed and glue the ends of the vertical sticks over the ends of the horizontal ones. Invert the piece and glue the flat side of the sticks horizontally and closely together to form a solid bed. Set this aside.
  • Get twelve pieces of skill sticks to make the sides of the wagon. Place a small drop of wood glue on the end notch on a stick. Use the thin side and place another piece perpendicularly to this. Add another piece to the other side, gluing them together. You will create a square with alternating horizontal and perpendicular sticks with two opposite sides higher.
  • Place the open frame over the bed, adding glue to the sides of the skill sticks that are touching the bed. Set this aside to allow the glue to dry.
  • Once the bed and the frame has been glued together and the glue has dried, it is time to add corner posts to the frame to keep the cover up and over the frame and bed. Take four ordinary Popsicle sticks and glue the flat side flush against the right-angle corners created by the skill sticks. Make sure that the two posts are placed in the same location as the ones on the other side. Allow the glue to dry.
  • Use a small jar cover or a coffee cup to trace small circles for the wagon wheels. Corrugated board will be ideal. It will look better of you glue two circles together to make the wheels thicker. Make four wheels. Mark the center of each wheel and poke it with the end of a pointed knife. Make it large enough to allow the end of the Popsicle stick to push through. Do not push the stick all the way through but allow at least a centimeter of the end to show on the other side of the wheel. Add a dab of glue to the place where the stick meets the hole to keep the wheel secure. Do the same for the rest of the wheels.
  • Position one wheel underneath the bed, giving at least half a centimeter gap between the wheel and the side of the frame. Mark this and do the same for the rest. You will now know how long the wheel axle that will be glued to the underside of the bed will be. Glue the axles to the underside of the bed, at least a centimeter inwards from the back and front of the bed. Make sure that the lower sides of the frame are on the left and right side of the wagon.
  • To make the top of the wagon cover rounded you can bend two pieces of wire to form half moons and glue the ends of the wires on top of the back and front posts. Measure the distance from one side of the frame to the other side and cut your fabric to size. Add at least half an inch allowance for the long sides of the fabric so that it will hang a bit in the front and back of the wagon cover. Glue the short sides of the fabric on the sides of the frame, near the wheels.

That’s all there is to it. You have just created a covered wagon reminiscent of the prairie wagons used during the pioneer years in the Old West.


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