Roger’s park scenery

Here’s the next installment for Roger’s paperclip park.

You can see the pictures of the finished product here.

Big thanks to Roger for this ‘how to’!

“Here’s the roundabout for Paperclip Park, Al. Incredibly simple to make and absolutely cost free (unless someone out there can work out the price of four paperclips). It’s modelled on the old fashioned corporation roundabouts I played on as a child – but of course you can easily update the design for modern layouts. PLEASE – PLEASE – PLEASE – take care with the craft knife. More on that later. All you need is: –

– A plastic milk bottle top. A few maybe – for repeat attempts. I save hundreds of these for painting, mixing and applying glue.
– Four paperclips.
– A piece of scrap card.

(1) You’ll notice that the milk bottle cap has vertical ridges to assist your fingers as you turn it. Join up the TOPS of the ridges (Fig 2) – so that you mark all round the cap. I used a fountain pen.

(2) WARNING – VERY IMPORTANT – You are about to cut down into the cap with a craft knife. ENSURE THAT YOUR FINGERS ARE CLEAR OF THE KNIFE. GRIP THE CAP FIRMLY MAKING SURE THAT THE BLADE OF THE KNIFE FACES AWAY FROM YOUR FINGERS. CHECK OUT (Fig 3). AT ALL TIMES DURING THE CUT BE AWARE WHERE YOUR FINGERS ARE. Sorry to sound all health and safety but I would be mortified if someone was hurt trying out one of my designs.

Cut down into the cap at your mark. IT WILL GO THROUGH THE CAP LIKE BUTTER – hence the warning – so minimum pressure required. Cut all around the cap AWAY FROM YOUR FINGERS (Fig 4).

(3) It’s the top half of the cap you will use (but keep the offcut – you never know!). Place the cap on your scrap card and draw around it. Find the centre of the circle you have drawn. Draw two diameters, crossing at right angles (Figs 5 and 6) – that will find it.

With a compass – the point on the centre spot – draw a circle around your last – an extra .25 centimetre between your first circle and this one (Figs 5 and 6). Cut carefully round it with scissors.

(4) Find the centre of the inside of your cap – same technique. Stick the compass point through it – then push through with a ballpoint (Fig 7). Push outwards, raising the centre of the cap. Don’t worry if it looks out of shape. All will resolve in the end (Fig 8).

(5) You’re now about to make a spinning top! You need the central hub. I used a little piece of wicker – but you could shape up a section of matchstick. The roundabout should clear the ground so a tiny part of the hub should protrude beneath it. And about half a centimetre above it.

– Push the hub through the hole you have made in the cap – (Fig 9).

– Then through the centre of your card cut-out too – (Fig 10).

– Glue the rim of the cap to the card. Unbelievably UHU general adhesive did the job – (Fig 11).

(6) With wire cutters or pliers, cut your ‘hand-holds’ from the paperclips – as in (Fig 12). So now you have made four ‘staples’. Before you cut, notice that you have have a choice of ‘bends’ at each end of the paperclip and that one is wider than the other. Use the wider end and make sure all four are identically cut.

(7) Now a huge slice of luck. Notice that you can SEE THROUGH the polythene of the cap to the marks you have drawn on your card beneath – the crossing diameters. These give you the lines upon which to set your ‘hand-holds’ – or ‘staples’ – see (Fig 13).

Position a ‘staple’ over the line and press down to make marks in the polythene. Push through the marks with a compass point and widen to accept the staple. Position and mark the others identically around the roundabout. Fit the staples (Fig 14) but do not glue. Remove them and refit after painting the main body of the roundabout. They look excellent unpainted.

(8) Paint in ‘corporation colours’. All the the old playground apparatus was in matching paint.

(9) Fit the ‘hand-holds’. Push them through so that they protrude a tiny bit beneath the roundabout and secure with blobs of glue underneath it.

(10) Both polythene and card are flexible of course – so you can bend the completed model into perfect shape. But it must be said – few of the roundabouts I risked my life upon as a boy were, in any sense of the words, ‘in perfect shape’!

BAZINGA! Tis done.

And best wishes to everyone.


A big thanks to Roger – loved it.

Still getting comments on the ‘ebay cheat sheet‘ so thanks for those. Keep ’em coming – makes it all worthwhile :-)



PS Got a comment? Post it below!

14 Responses to Roger’s park scenery

  1. 1st Law of the sea; always cut towards a friend!
    Well done, very nice accessory.

  2. Brilliant – but where did you get your figures from. Have been looking for some for the playground?

  3. its brilliant

  4. Brilliant!

  5. Very cool design for a park scene. It’s amazining how many people have come up with some of the most simplest design’s for our layouts. Keep them coming. Well done.

  6. Hello Alan

    You asked about the figures for the park. After the last Paperclip Park post I’ll be mailing Al an article on ‘populating layouts for very little cash’ ! Only one of the figures in the completed Park is an expensive Preiser.

    So do stay tuned and thanks to one and all for the kind comments.


  7. Great idea as good as it gets. Thanks Al. Keep them comming.
    Look forward to more. Like the park secne.
    Best Al. The Rookie

  8. Brillant idea!

  9. That is outstanding. I am planning on doing something like this, I work in an office and have tons of paperclips. Thanks and have a great day. Austin.

  10. I’ve enjoyed every one Roger. They’re absolutely brilliant. Are you Biddy Baxter’s son? (Blue Peter fame)

  11. I like it, wish I had some space to do the same on my layout.

  12. A-OK

  13. Simple.

    Simply Brilliant!

  14. Do it for N scale!

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