New and refurbished ideas for LDS Primary Music Leaders (a.k.a. Primary Choristers)

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Who doesn't like the thrill of spinning a wheel in a game and watching it go round-and-round in bated anticipation of where it will stop?????

Wheel Spinners
are wonderful ways to determine how to do something, how many moves you get, what your score can be, etc. So hey, it sounds like a perfect thing to us in Singing Time since singing games are a fun way to add variety to singing time especially for those choose and review times.

I'm sure many will not want to go through the effort in making the following type of spinning wheel, but if you have the desire and are able to, you and your Primary will surely enjoy it. There are other less involved ways to do spinning wheels if this seems a bit much. I'll give a few options later.  

Here is a great tutorial I found that I followed, of course, with a few variations I made to it. Here are some of the things I did differently that worked for me especially to save me time in my hectic schedule.

  • I purchased a precut 24" circle from Lowe's home center. It was made from MDF board. I didn't feel like taking the time to cut the circle out and sand it. You still have to measure for your pie shapes. Not all home centers carry round discs, so you may want to call around first.
  • I didn't have 2x4s, so when I purchased them, I had them cut to size for me at the home center to save me some time from hauling out my table saw and cutting my own and then cleaning up the sawdust just for a few cuts. Normally, I would have done it myself, but it was worth the 25 cents per cut to have them do it (they cut the first 2 for free.)
  • Instead of using the dowels that go around the circle, I just used some finishing nails I had on hand. That was easier and quicker for me. I also put the nails about 7/8" in from the edge since the widest I could make a circle on a poster board is 22" which would then fit perfectly. You could put them closer to the edge, but just don't go in more than the 7/8". Also, to make this more versatile for other games for more choices or points, I used 16 nails evenly spaced around the spinner instead of eight. The picture only shows 8 nails (I added the rest later for another game.)
  • I couldn't find a 3"x3" lazy susan spinner, mine was a 4" size, so I had to drill new guide holes in it for my screws so that it would fit on the 4" width of the 2x4.  (Finished wood you purchase is smaller than its named "raw size".)
  • Although I originally wanted to spray paint mine bright colors, I chose to go with brown since I thought it would coordinate more with many of the games I wanted to use it for, but of course, any color will do.
  • In the pictures I don't have my clickety-clacker flapper thingy on it yet. When I made this quite a while ago, I ran out of time to make it and haven't gotten around to putting it on yet. Although it works just fine without it, there is something to be said about the thrill of hearing the clickety-clack sound as the wheel spins around. Maybe I'll have to get to it today somewhere in-between the other zillion things to do, oh, maybe not, just remembered I have to drive north for a family wedding today. 
  • Because of the original lengths of my 2x4s, I went ahead and made both of the base feet 28" verses one of them being 20".
  • The overall height of my spinner is 5'. Not much shorter than me.  :-)
  • This is pretty sturdy and has held up well. It also has a pretty random spin—doesn't seem to get stuck with landing on the same thing all the time. LOVE IT!

I'm not really experienced in woodworking, so if I can make this, I'm sure you can too. This took me a few+ hours to make with other breaks here and there along with drying time. And yes, I did make a boo-boo or two. TIP: have a helper hold the 2x4s when you have to drill those deep holes down the post so you can get them in straight if you don't have a bench vice or clamps to hold it steady for you.

Of course, I did not want this to only be good for a Wheel of Fortune game.
It wouldn't have been worth it for me to make it for one game. I wanted it to be interchangeable so I would be able to do a variety of games so I use my good ol' favorite Velcro to post different poster wheel games on it. I will post the Wagon Wheel version, that's in the picture, next as well as others I have as I get around to it.

To make it usable for other games, I placed 16 square shaped pieces of the hook side of Velcro around the spinning board centered in each pie shape about 1" in from the nails so they will be hidden behind the poster or visual that is being used. Only some of the spinning games will use them all.  

Yes, the spinner is a bit clunky to carry around, but I'm fortunate to have a very strong manly—man who is always willing to help haul it around for me, not that I couldn't do it myself though—just so you know, I'm not some weak thing, cuz' hey, in this calling, there are no weaklings. ;-)

For now I store it in my guest bedroom since I rarely have many guests anymore with many of my family that have moved back here, but when I am released from this calling and don't need it for another calling or for games with the grand kids, I can quickly unscrew the base and store it under the guest bed.

If this spinner seems like a bit much for you but you would still like to make something similar, here are a few variations. Just adjust to the size you are wanting.

Other DIY Versions:
Lazy Susan Version
Large Wheel
Floor Version

Ones to buy:
Spin Zone Magnetic Spinners (I have one of these I bought at an educational store and it works pretty well. Sometimes they can get a bit out of whack and land in the same place frequently, but you can just remove and replace on the board in a different position or rotate your poster around a quarter turn every now and then.)
Jumbo Magnetic Spinner (looks cool, but a little too pricey for my pocketbook)

1 comment:

  1. I recently had a carnival themed birthday for my youngest kid, and we actually rented a legitimate Promotional Prize Wheel from a carnival company. Had the thought crossed my mind that I could actually make one of these, I would have saved myself a boatload of money. What a shame! Thanks for the great post anyway!