Child’s Play: How to Make Spinning Tops at Home

The only people who love our spinning tops more than collectors and first-class fidgeters are none other than kids! Can you imagine watching a top spin for the first time through their eyes? The speed at which it turns, the way it stays upright while moving so swiftly, the sound of friction being made between its tiny tip and the surface below—it all would be absolutely…mesmerizing. And the only thing that would make it even more alluring is if it were your dad, mom, or beloved grandparent’s favorite pastime.

More than the stress-relief and fun they provide, that’s what we at Bruce Charles Designs love most about our tops: the connections they forge between family, friends, strangers, and people of all backgrounds and generations—and the memories they help make along the way.

But what if you’re all about the mems but not quite ready to buy the kids first-class tops—or let them lose yours? How can you have the same kind of top-level fun with each other at home?

Our suggestion: Make spinning tops of your own!

And no, we don’t mean whipping out your welding tools. We’re talking homemade, paper, glue, and plastic-style tops that’ll introduce your kids to the culture of spinning while giving you plenty of time to bond with one another.

You in? We thought so! Find all the instructions you need below.

Materials Required: 

  • Plastic bottle cap or metal piece for a longer-lasting top (e.g. washer, CD, can, etc.)
  • Sheet of paper (regular or card stock)
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Thick piece of metal with a sharp tip (e.g. nail, utility knife, metal skewer)
  • Toothpick, wood skewer, or metal skewer when using a thicker or metal cap
  • Permanent markers for decorating
  • Other materials for decorating (e.g. sequins, colored fabric/tape/paper, pipe cleaners, etc.)
  • Fabric glue (recommended types: epoxy, hot glue)

Step 1: Grab your plastic cap (or metal item), and trace the cap’s shape on the paper using a pencil. The paper will serve as the decoration for the head of your top. If you don’t wish to decorate your top, skip this step and move on to skewering the cap in Step 4. 

Step 2: With scissors, cut out the circle you’ve drawn on the paper. You’ll want to do this slowly, keeping the perimeter smooth and being careful not to cut too far into the circle or outside it. This will maintain the original shape of the circle so that it can later fit snugly inside the plastic cap.

Bigger, more weighty tops usually spin longer, so feel free to experiment with larger caps and denser paper here as well. If you are planning on making more than one top, you’ll want to trace more circles at this time.

Step 3: Fold your cut-out circle in perfect halves and then in quarters, making full creases across the center/diameter with each of the two folds.

Step 4: Place the cut-out inside the cap. Then, using your sharp-tipped metal, poke a hole through the cap and paper. Hold the cap in place while you do this. If you opted out of using paper in Step 1, find the exact center of the cap by measuring its diameter, then poke your hole.

You may have to wiggle the metal to force it through or hit the back of it with a hammer or other tool. If breaking through the plastic is difficult, remove the paper for now. The metal tip may rip it.

Step 5: Once the hole is made, put your toothpick, wood skewer, or other skewer through the same hole, about a third of the way through. If you removed your paper in Step 4, you’ll want to fit that firmly in the cap now. If you are using a thicker cap, you’ll need to hammer the skewer through the center.

Step 6: Take out your pierced paper, and begin decorating it to fit your personality! Use permanent markers, colored tape, sequins, other items mentioned above, or whatever you would like that will stay on with glue! For some added pizzazz. pipe cleaners can be wrapped to decorate the top’s handle.

Step 7: Glue the paper inside the plastic cap with the decorations facing you. The best, cleanest way to do this is by spreading the glue on with a toothpick. After the paper is secure, set the cap down to dry with the inside facing up.

Step 8: Slide the toothpick or skewer through the cap (paper and plastic) again, pushing the skewer until it’s about a third of the way through. Check the decorated paper to see if it stayed in place. If not, fix it, or let it dry a bit more before trying again. Once the skewer is in place, touch it to make sure it fits snugly inside the hole. If it is too tight, remove it and widen the hole (preferably with a thick needle). If the fit is a little loose, spread glue around the skewer to fill the space.

Step 9: Allow the glue ample time to dry—ideally in open air—before spinning the top. The longer you wait, the longer the top will last, so be patient! For hot glue, wait an hour. For epoxy, wait 72 hours. (Epoxy will create the strongest bond!)

Step 10: Spin your top!

Just wait and see: Making these homemade tops is child’s play—a simple way to share interests with your kids and have a lot of fun doing it! Once your kiddo falls in love with spinning tops as much as you, be sure to keep Bruce Charles Designs in mind! Our handcrafted tops truly are remarkable in both spin and design. See all our current options here.