Tube Pendulum Process Art: Discovery at Home


  • Toilet paper roll.
  • Yarn or string.
  • Markers.
  • Tape.
  • Paper.
  • Scissors, pencil, pen, or hole punch to poke holes.


  1. Poke 4 holes in your toilet paper roll. Poke them on the top edge of your roll.
  2. Thread a 6 inch piece of yarn through the holes criss-crossing to form an “X” at the top.
  3. With a second piece of yarn, approximately 2 feet long, double it so that it is half its length when tied to the “X” on the top of your pendulum tube.
  4. Tape 3 or 4 makers to the side of the pendulum body. Uncap the markers.
  5. Suspend the pendulum above the page. Lower the markers until the tips touch the page and leave a mark.
  6. Create motion and watch what happens next!

Ways to expand:

  • Try to use the tube with the markers attached as your drawing tool. Hold in your hand and draw with it.
  • Experiment with different kinds of motion. Spin, push, pull, and see how your art changes.
  • Go on a pendulum hunt! Can you find examples of a pendulum in your house?

What kids learn:

  • Process art is an artistic movement as well as a creative sentiment where the end product of art and craft is not the principal focus. Process art is about the journey, not the destination!
  • The bob is the weight on the string
  • A pendulum works by converting energy back and forth, a bit like a roller coaster ride. When the bob is highest (furthest from the ground), it is moving the slowest and has maximum stored energy (potential energy). When it is lowest (closest to the ground), it is moving the fastest and has kinetic energy. So as the bob swings (oscillates) back and forth, it repeatedly switches its energy back and forth between potential and kinetic.
  • Pendulums swing with a reliable pattern and operate with the invisible force of gravity. Earth’s gravity attracts the pendulum. When the pendulum is hanging still, the yarn and weight are straight and at a 90-degree angle to the Earth as gravity pulls the string and the weight to the Earth. Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) made use of this early work as he developed the laws of motion.