How to Use Straws to Make a Tower

    by Juliet Myfanwy Johnson

    About the Author

    Juliet Johnson is a produced playwright and the author of "Somebody's Always Hungry." She's been published in "The Imperfect Parent," three anthologies, and is a regular blogger for and Haydenburri Lane. She graduated from NYU, and studied at the University of London and at Padua Hills Playwriting Workshop.


    Here's a fun thing to do if you want to explore basic engineering or just work at a fast food restaurant late at night. Build a tower out of straws. You'll have to bring your own tape and scissors. A straw tower is actually a pretty stable structure if you take your time and build it right. Plus it gives you something to do instead of eating leftover french fries. Here's how to get started.

    Things You'll Need

    • 55 plastic straws
    • tape
    • scissors

    Unwrap 55 plastic straws. Take 5 straws to form the base of the tower. Tape them together to form a pentagon shape.

    Make 6 long, single-straw posts for your tower. For 5 of the posts, you'll use use 7 straws connected together, and for the sixth post, you'll use 6 straws connected together. Connect the straws together by making a 1 inch vertical cut up the end of each straw. Pinch the cut end and stick it into the bottom of another straw. Repeat with each straw until you've completed your 6 single-straw posts. Reinforce each straw-to-straw connection by taping around the straws where they connect.

    Tape one end of each of the 5 longer posts to a corner of your pentagon base. Use enough tape to make a solid connection.

    Get 5 new straws and cut 1/4 of the straw off each one. Set your leftover post vertically in the middle of the pentagon. Take the 3/4 straws and attach one end of each to the middle post with tape, about 6 inches up from the bottom of the tower. Tape the other end to each of the outer posts. Take the leftover 1/4 straw pieces and tape one end of each to the middle post, about 4 inches from the top of the tower. Tape the other ends to the outer posts.

    Take 3 more straws. Cut them in half. Find the center of your middle post. Take each straw half and tape one end to the middle post, and the other end to the outside posts. This will secure your tower in the center. Tape over every connection again, to make the tower extra-secure.

    • See how heavy an object you can balance on your tower, for fun.
    • Experiment with other tower designs. Set up a competition to see who can make the tallest tower or whose tower holds the most weight.

    Photo Credits

    • Hemera Technologies/ Images