How to build a spaghetti and marshmallow tower (and win the science prize)

Building a really tall spaghetti and marshmallow tower is a bit trickier than you think - small tower: quick and fun, tall tower: labour of love!

The single biggest problem is ‘slippage’ - the sheer weight of the tower causes the marshmallows on the lower layers to slide down the spaghetti strands. So if you are planning to go huge, don’t build it on a hot day!

Here’s the winning tower I helped my son to make, below you’ll find instructions for building your own.

Science prize winning spaghetti and marshamallow tower
Tall and proud – our winning construction!

How to make one

The diagram below shows how we built our tower, beneath it I’ve included some additional ‘power-tips’!

Spaghetti and marshmallow tower: how-to illustration

Power tips

1) If you’ll be taking your spaghetti and marshamallow tower to school, build it on a tray or piece of wood – the marshmallows tends to stick to surfaces, so don’t build on the table top and try and move it afterwards.

2) Build your tower in two parts. One of the biggest factors that limits the size of your tower is the size of your car. Unless your have a lorry it will be difficult to build a tower more than 4ft tall (don’t try lying it on its side). My solution was to build my tower in two parts, both around 3-4 ft tall.

3) Build your tower from lots of small pyramids, never cubes. The base of our tower consisted of 12 pyramids arranged in a 4 x 3 fashion, but to get some serious height you will need 5 x 4 or even 6 x 5 for the base.

4) It’s good to keep the structure light and strong, so don’t use too much spaghetti, but ‘doubling-up’ the spaghetti strands for the bottom two levels (two strands side by side) can add extra strength.

5) If the weight of the tower starts to cause slippage, build the top section as a narrower spire (as shown above).

5) Don’t try burning or cooking the marshmallows in order to ‘strengthen’ them. This doesn’t work. It’s best to use fresh marshmallow straight from the packet as they are very sticky and grip the spaghetti really well. I also preferred to push the spaghetti strands deep into the marshmallow, rather than halfway-in, this meant the spaghetti was more rigidly gripped.

Do your own thing

Building a spaghetti and marshmallow tower doesn’t have to be the preserve of school science projects, it also makes a great kids’ activity for rainy days and summer holidays!

Left illustration
Right illustration