How did I make the Ferris Wheel?

Zoe April 22, 2011 40

Hi Everyone,

My post for the blog hop was so long already I didn’t want to go into too much detail about how I made the Ferris Wheel, however with a number of you asking about it and especially asking how long it took I thought I would write up another post about the Ferris Wheel. 🙂

I know many of you know my love for colouring and that is what you see most of, however my absolute passion is in creating these types of creations that are ‘real’, that you can play with, that do something more than look pretty on a shelf for a little while. 🙂

I have been creating stuff with my hands ever since I can remember. I used to create prototypes of products we were designing and would cut it all by hand with a ruler and knife, I joined a wood working group many years ago and learned to use a lathe to create my own bowls and all sorts of things, I even had a job for a little while at an architectural model firm which actually led me to taking an engineering course in mechanical engineering. However, I had always wanted to do something crafty because I am naturally drawn to the creative side of life and all these experiences have helped form who I am today. AND now that I finally have my BIG Toy laser I can design and create ALL of my ideas without having to spend hours cutting out everything with my trusty ruler and knife!

So with that explained I am hoping you don’t think I am insane any more! hahaa Ok just a little – enough to keep me creative!


So I did mention in my post that I had wanted to make a Ferris wheel for a long time – I have also wanted to make a carousel but that is MUCH harder – so I did opt for the easy option!

I only finally made the decision to make the Ferris Wheel at the last minute on Saturday just gone as I thought if I didn’t make it now then it would just continue to be put off and never get made. 🙂

So the first step was to look at some photos of Ferris wheels, grab some ideas and then go from there.

I used a graphics program to design and create all the little pieces. I had to imagine how everything would come together and insert slots that would connect pieces together. Designing pieces that are flat to bring together as a 3D object can be confusing at times but it is a great way to exercise your brain! It’s like a puzzle! 🙂

Here is what all the pieces are to build the ferris wheel.

Some of the hardest parts are taking the thickness of the material into consideration, deciding on the size, spacing between moving objects so they don’t rub against each other, and of course working out how to make the mechanism work so it will turn.

I spent a few hours designing all the pieces and was ready Saturday night to make my first prototype.

My first prototype was pretty close! But I had to go back and make some adjustments to a few areas I hadn’t realised would collide with each other.

My second prototype was great but I had this problem that it was a little top heavy. Everything worked and here is a photo of it in it’s raw state.


I had added extra pieces in to try an make it sturdier but the fact of the matter was the material for the sides was just too thin.

So I decided to use much thicker board and had to go back and recalculate all the sizes and width of items to account for the new thickness in board. I thought I had it right but it turned out that I missed just one piece which put the whole thing out of whack. So again back to change that and by Sunday night I had the finished design. 🙂

Then over the next few days I painted all the pieces. Fortunately my OH highly recommended using an undercoat which really helped to bring out the brightness in colour. But the weather was terrible and raining and so drying time was bad and the DOGS! I could have throttled em I tell ya. They just have to be part of everything and walked over it and come up sniff it and drop their hairs everywhere. But I love em…  just didn’t love em right then!! lol

So after picking out all the dog hairs..  lol I began putting it all together for the last time. I had chosen a gloss paint and boy do I wish I had have gone with a matt paint! My fingers would get all stained from the staining of the cuts and because I had left the pieces in the sheet to paint when I pulled them out I would get charring on my fingers that would then go straight onto the glossy yellow paint. argh!! But I was running out of time by this point and I didn’t have enough time to make another one. I still had to colour all the images!!!

So… whilst part of the ferris wheel was drying I began to colour the images. It was good actually as I am not very patient waiting for glue to dry. hahaa

And you have seen the end result but I’ll show you again…  🙂



So all in all, I think it took about 6 or so hours to design it and iron out all the kinks.

And then probably about the same amount of time on and off to paint it, put it all together and colour the images.

Was well worth the fun though. And maybe some day I’ll offer the Ferris Wheel as a kit you can make yourself!


Big Squeezes


Zoe xxoo


P.S – If you haven’t checked out the fabulous Carnival Blog hop – Click Here!


  1. Lil April 23, 2011 at 12:51 am - Reply

    This is so amazing. Your project turned out beautifully!

  2. Anonymous April 23, 2011 at 12:56 am - Reply

    My godness! Is this even possible!?!?
    I…. I… I don’t know what to say! WOW! Totally incredible! Gorgeous. Amazing. Fabulous. Perfect. Awesome. Stunning. I could go on for ever!

    wish you a happy easter Zoe!

  3. Leanne April 23, 2011 at 12:57 am - Reply

    that is absolutely amazing…i sit in awe of your talent!!! I would certainly buy this if you made it easy for us regular folks!!

  4. Carole of Brum April 23, 2011 at 1:10 am - Reply

    Well, Zoe, I was speechless at seeing this on the blog hop, but I have had a lie down now and I’ve recovered and able to talk again, hee hee.

    I’ve never seen crafting taken to this level before, it’s a stunning make. Do you have a video clip of the wheel being turned? That would really finish it off so nicely.

    I guess I’d always thought that being artistic was a different type of skill to being mechanical, but I suppose there is mechanical creativity as well. My brain doesnt do mechanical at all, it just doesnt have that sort of wiring and I got lost just reading about how you made this! But you are clearly able to merge both sorts of creativity. Really well done, you wowwed us all today. coB

  5. Anonymous April 23, 2011 at 1:29 am - Reply

    Wow, that is absolutely amazing! I am absolutely speechless.

    And tell me about pets. I have 2 cats and they are just like you described your dogs. They have to be a part of everything, always right in the middle and all. And they have the must fluffy, baby fine hair, it’ so annoying. All other cats I know have much thicker hair, but noooo, I had to go for the cute, fluffy ragdolls *doh*
    But you are right, we just love those pesty little critters, don’t we?

  6. Karen April 23, 2011 at 1:43 am - Reply

    saw it on face book had to check it out closer. That is way awesome. Dont like hights so I dont ride them but I do admire a nice looking ferris wheel.

  7. Shirl April 23, 2011 at 2:52 am - Reply

    You definitely had everyone speechless today Zoe, I made sure I read every single word you wrote so that I don’t miss a thing! Awesome, absolutely awesome… I still need to pick up my jaw from the floor, LOL!

    Hope to see you soon!

  8. Janette April 23, 2011 at 3:32 am - Reply

    It’s no so often I am speechless…..I just don’t know what to say to you, other than your amazing, omg, that is just The Best….your so very clever and so talented, it’s fabulous Zoe…xxx

  9. Shazza April 23, 2011 at 4:50 am - Reply

    gobsmacked I am!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Zoe, you are amazing x

  10. Mote April 23, 2011 at 5:19 am - Reply

    great work! Great result!

  11. uptrot April 23, 2011 at 5:25 am - Reply

    OMG Zoe!! Utterly speechless its wonderful! You are definitely a genius! Jill x

  12. Anonymous April 23, 2011 at 6:38 am - Reply

    Zoe, thank you! That is all.

  13. Debbie Pamment April 23, 2011 at 8:40 am - Reply

    All I can say Zoe is OMG YOU ARE FREAKIN’ AMAZING!!!!! Totally incredible – that’s all for now – don’t need your head getting too big – LOL

  14. Marlene April 23, 2011 at 1:00 pm - Reply

    If I was impressed before – I’m wow’d and knocked on my arse now!

  15. Rufus April 23, 2011 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    As I said yesterday I bow to the master! Thanks for telling us the process behind the marvelous creation. My mind just doesn’t really work that way. It would take me way more than 3 try’s to get it right! As somebody else suggested it would be really cool it you could post a short little video of it in motion!

  16. Christy/Tiddly Inks April 24, 2011 at 11:22 am - Reply

    Oh, now I am even more impressed….I can’t believe you designed it from scratch (well, actually I can LOL) and then built it all in 6 hours…wow,….and wow! 🙂

  17. Ingrid April 24, 2011 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    Zoe, you have excelled yourself with the ferris wheel.
    It is so gorgeously fabulous.

  18. Donna Mikasa April 24, 2011 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    Oh-my-word! Amazing project! Have to pick my jaw up from the floor…again! i love Mo’s images sprinkled here and there. Just fabulous!

  19. Dee A April 24, 2011 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    Oh my goodness! That is just awesome! TFS!

  20. Cami April 24, 2011 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    Oh. My. Gosh! This is drop-dead gorgeous! I am awestruck. I don’t know how you ever dreamed and engineered something as awesome as this! Goodness gracious, you are so talented, creative, and inspiring! It’s just beyond me, but this project of yours is just incredible. I love how you put everyting together and the fantastic scene you created with all the images! YOU ARE AWESOME!!! My jaw is still on the ground!
    Hugs, Cami

  21. judy williams April 24, 2011 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    You certainly have some amazing skills, and the determination to keep going when you hit a snag. What an amazing example you set for crafters like myself who all too easily ditch a project just because, say, the colour doesn’t look quite right. I wish I had a fraction of your willpower to see things through. The overall effect is a stunning work of art and provides a superb backdrop for all those little digi people we’ve come to love so much. What will your next project be I wonder? Your public awaits…..
    Congratulations Zoe, you are a star xx

  22. Bonnie O'Clair April 24, 2011 at 11:21 pm - Reply

    OMG Zoe!!!!!!!!!! You are so talented and must have the patients of a saint to create such an elaborate design such as this. Awesome cool job hun.
    Hugs Bonnie

  23. Shirley Swoope April 25, 2011 at 12:00 am - Reply

    This is absolutely incredible and love your engineering mind. I want whatever lasercutter you have. This is totally the neatest thing I’ve seen.

  24. Janet B April 25, 2011 at 12:38 am - Reply

    Wow–you are totally amazing. A papercrafter extraorinaire. Wow!

  25. Sue S. April 25, 2011 at 2:03 am - Reply

    This is awesome. I can’t believe you actually designed and built that from paper. Beautiful, ingenious project! A kit? I’d love to give it a try if I can ever pick my jaw up from the floor 🙂
    Sue S.

  26. KimberleyG April 25, 2011 at 2:35 am - Reply

    You truly are a talented lady. I wouldn’t even attempt such a project.

  27. LINDA W. April 25, 2011 at 2:41 am - Reply

    OMGoodness I can’t belive that this is paper
    you just amaze me with your crafty goodness
    hugs Linda

  28. Louise April 25, 2011 at 3:31 am - Reply

    Wow!! this is totally amazing.
    What a showcase
    Louise 🙂

  29. Maz April 25, 2011 at 8:30 am - Reply

    Okay Zoe you are one talented gal. Your Ferris wheel is amazing. My hubby is a cabinetmaker and was very impressed. By the way he loves your coloring too.
    I could never make anything like this. I just never was any good with working measurements out.
    Back to the coloring..I love how you colored the clown. I have tried to color like you do but to no avail. The shading and pleating is fabulous.
    Hugs Maz

  30. Barb F April 25, 2011 at 11:08 am - Reply

    You are one surprise after another! No wonder I connected with your videos! I was a mechanical designer until I retired and worked on 3d systems called CADD. Actually I worked on a lot of different ones. I am in awe of your talents with the copics, but this ferris wheel is really spectacular! I have wished so many times that I had my Pro-Engineer at home but it is not worth going back to work just to be able to use it!! Thank you for the coloring videos and the digital stamp videos. You have opened up lots of doors of fun for me!!Lots of hugs!!

  31. Cabio April 25, 2011 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    Super cool project Zoe. Love it!!! Thanks so much for sharing :o)

  32. cathytkalc April 25, 2011 at 10:19 pm - Reply

    Gee Wizz what else can I say! I’m totally speechless and your Ferris wheel is AWESOME along with all the little characters. Marvelous work!!!!!
    Hugs, Cathy-Lynn

  33. Ronda A. April 26, 2011 at 2:50 am - Reply

    Zoe…you are one amazing artist/engineer/designer/etc/etc. The kind folks in the UK have the only word I can think of to describe my state after viewing this and it is “gobsmacked”! You deserve an award for this…I used to create sewing patterns so I understand the way your brain works and I’m just floored at your abilities. Thank you for making this great set to share with all of us and Make A Wish!

  34. Jenn Borjeson April 26, 2011 at 6:50 am - Reply

    Good Lord – my jaw is on the floor. This is just… wow. Amazing. Gorgeous!

  35. mapowska April 27, 2011 at 8:39 am - Reply

    That’s amazing!!!!

  36. Mick Pepper April 27, 2011 at 11:48 am - Reply

    holy cow is all the hubby and I could say. amazing!!!!

  37. Gab April 27, 2011 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    Wow, wow, wow! You are so clever to design and make that ferris wheel. Love it

  38. reina April 28, 2011 at 10:14 am - Reply

    where can u get that type of board?

  39. krati December 21, 2012 at 6:33 am - Reply

    cant see the pictures on this blog as there is a broken link, would love to have a look at it though as it would be very usefull for my process. pls let me know how i could do so..

  40. Jeanette March 2, 2016 at 5:12 am - Reply

    Hi! I would love to see the pictures in this blog to see your process and the end product, the pictures aren’t showing… would you be able to show them? Also, could this template be used for 1/4″ mdf?

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