Modarri Printable Race Track!

Print this great PDF race track and assemble it with scissors and tape! This track works for any type of toy car that is 1:32 scale or smaller! Once assembled the track can be folded or rolled up for easy storage.

Make sure to choose the “Print to fit” option in your print setup! We recommend covering all the joints with packing tape so they don’t lift up during play! If you want a really durable track, you could cover the whole thing in packing tape!

Click this link to download your PDF racetrack! (this is a large file, for good print quality)

printed toy car race track layout




5 Great Educational Toys for Kids

5 of Our Favorite Educational Toys for Kids

Here is a short list of educational toys that we love. To make the list, the toy has to be open ended, teach kids while they play, and it can never feel like learning for the kid!

1) Modarri (

We couldn’t resist. We truly believe that Modarri cars are one of the absolute best educational toys for kids. Why? Modarri cars fuel creative, open-ended play where kids are constantly using their imagination to design new cars and drive them in awesome new ways. They also teach the foundations of mechanical engineering because all of the parts are easily exposed and kids can see how the linkages and mechanics work for the suspension and steering. Furthermore, Modarri cars are an excellent introduction to using tools and developing fine motor skills, there 9 retained screws that won’t fall out, which allow your child to change 11 pieces in whatever way they can imagine – resulting in millions of possible car designs.Design Build Drive Infographic (1)modarri delux singles cropped_1080

2) Legos (

This is about as open ended and creative as toys get, every kid can benefit from legos because it opens up their willingness to let go of “how things should be” and just start building from their imagination. They are also a great intro into the fundamentals of building, and mathematics. The only draw back with these toys is the amount of pieces, choking hazard with small pieces (or hazard to parent’s feet!), and long build process. star wars lego

3) Elenco’s 6-in-1 Educational Solar Kit (

Here is a cool one, teach your kids about solar power with this six-in-one educational solar kit from maker play. Let them discover the invisible forces that surround them while learning to build using motors, mechanics and electricity. 

4) Snap Circuits Jr. Select (

Educate your child on circuitry and electricity at an early age with this awesome snap-grid set. This is a great logic learning toy that will also encourage creative exploration. There are 130 unique experiments for your child to explore and learn from. ee094

5) Fort Magic (

Because what kid doesn’t love to build their own play environment from their imagination? Forget the cardboard boxes, chairs, and sheets, fort magic takes your child’s fort building abilities to a whole new level. The kit comes with 354 pieces that kids can use to build unlimited amounts of fort designs, or sculptures. This is a great kit for encouraging creativity, and imaginative play – while also teaching fundamentals of framework construction.


Rare Modarri Tiger On the Prowl

The tiger’s arrival has been traced to Laurel Bushman, a highly respected artist residing in Santa Cruz, Calif. She allegedly painted a Modarri DIY car and added teeth.


An acquaintance stated, “I know Laurel for her remarkably beautiful canvas paintings and murals… a flower-bedecked elephant for a child’s wall, a cheery painting for Peet’s Coffee. She’s not the sort you’d expect to turn a tiger loose in the city.”

Share your Modarri designs and special car modifications! Tag your Twitter , Facebook or Instagram pictures with #ModarriDIY for a chance to have yours featured here.

The Speediest Slug in Town

Ever seen a banana slug? These slow-moving mollusks are beloved members of Modarri’s Santa Cruz community. In fact, they’re the official mascot for our local University of California campus. Banana slugs live in redwood forests, hang out in our gardens, crawl our sidewalks…. and have actually inspired some amazing art. Check out this modified Modarri toy car!


Doug Ross Banana Slug Modarri Car


Modarri X1 Slug

Local artist Doug Ross contributed the banana slug Modarri to our miniature art car collection. The car features a beautifully streamlined aluminum body complete with antennae!

We’re calling it the X1 Slug because Doug’s custom car body is wrapped around a Modarri X1 Dirt Car. Conveniently, the car already had a banana yellow frame and seat.

The X1 Slug is especially dear to Modarri’s toy inventor and CEO David Silverglate, who is a graduate of UCSC. Thank you, Doug!

banana slug

You can see how well Doug captured the essence of a Banana Slug!

About Doug Ross

Doug Ross is best known in the art world for his high quality illustrations: He designs beautiful graphs and draws corporate art as well as children’s art. Forbes, The Harvard Business Review and McGraw-Hill are among the many famous names on his client list. Doug also makes fine art prints, which can be seen by appointment in Santa Cruz.


Banana slug art bus – See how Santa Cruz students and their bikes get to school.

UCSC article about banana slug mascot – The university chancellor insisted that sea lions were a more distinguished mascot, but students let the banana slug triumph.

Modarri shop – Check out the Modarri X1 Dirt Car, the T1 Track Car and more.

Share your Modarri designs and special car modifications! Tag your Twitter , Facebook or Instagram pictures with #ModarriDIY for a chance to have yours featured here.

Road Trip! Modarri DIY Trailer Hitch

Going on a road trip with the kids? Here are some survival tips and a trick for making your Modarri cars road trip ready.

The Modarri S1 Street Car is perfect for everyday travel, but let’s face it: There’s not much room for suitcases. Ryan of Santa Cruz saves the day! He recommends adding a trailer hitch with hot glue.



Says Ryan, “I was going to make a plastic hitch on a 3D printer, but then I found a metal one in a Revell model kit.”

Way to think outside the Modarri box, Ryan! Thanks for sharing your creativity.

Share your Modarri designs and special car modifications! Tag your Twitter , Facebook or Instagram pictures with #ModarriDIY for a chance to have yours featured here.

Modarri Miniature Woodie Car by Tiffany Wells


We love woodie cars. When it’s true love, you can’t explain why… but maybe it’s the sheen of the lacquer. The hyponotic swirl of the wood grain. The feeling of yesteryear.

Woodie cars first appeared in the 1930s. The originals feature real hardwood frames. For safety reasons though, many woodie cars on the road today only have wooden exteriors; steel replaces the hardwood construction.

This picture of a 1937 Ford Deluxe Station Wagon is courtesy of Lars-Göran Lindgren Sweden:


Thanks to Santa Cruz artist and animator Tiffany Wells, there’s a woodie in the Modarri fleet!

Wells began with the blank canvas of a Modarri DIY Car. Her acrylic artistry extends from the hood to the boot; she even painted the wheel wells to match.


Modarri DIY Car shop

Share your Modarri designs and special car modifications! Tag your Twitter , Facebook or Instagram pictures with #ModarriDIY for a chance to have yours featured here.

Leopard Print is the New Black

Leopard print is our new favorite color. This one-of-a-kind Modarri DIY Car is the work of Beth Allison Gripenstraw, a professional artist from southern California who’s made her home in Santa Cruz.

Share your Modarri designs and special car modifications! Tag your Twitter , Facebook or Instagram pictures with #ModarriDIY for a chance to have yours featured here.




We love the detail of the autographed customized license plate.

Did you know each factory Modarri license plate is unique? Register yours in your Modarri Garage now.


Hybrid Modarri Toy Cars

Rebuilding Modarri cars is half the fun of ownership! Swap parts among the cars; they’re all compatible! Literally millions of combinations are possible.

Shown here are hybrids made by combining two classic Modarri car models. Can you tell which cars were used? Choose from the S1 Street Car, T1 Track Car and X1 Dirt Car. (See the originals below and in our shop.)

Thanks to fan Ron G. for the builds & photo session.

Share your Modarri hybrids and special car modifications! Tag your Twitter , Facebook or Instagram pics #ModarriDIY.






Durable AND Trendy! Modarri Fits Top Toy Trends of 2015

New York, NY — The Toy Industry Association (TIA) has announced their list of top trends for toys in 2015. In a seminar for toy industry media and buyers on Sunday, TIA stressed three trends that are second nature to Modarri: open-ended play, smart play and the Maker Movement. These trends are based on TIA’s interviews with hundreds of toy companies around the world. Here’s a look at the toy trends and how Modarri fits in.


Open-Ended Play

Adrienne Appell, TIA’s trend expert, announced that “Open-ended forms of play will reign supreme in 2015, with an abundance of toys and games that allow kids to build, customize, create, and develop important skills through play.”

Modarri is all about open-ended play: Build a Modarri toy car, break it down, build it a new way. Each car is at least five-in-one. With the addition of our new tires and new cars this spring, tens of millions of combinations are possible!


Smart Play – Art & Science

Smart play refers to playing with toys in the STEAM category. These teach science, tech, engineering, arts and math. Some examples are preschool learning toys, toys that teach second languages or coding skills, and Modarri cars!

In addition to engineering our toy cars, Modarri owners can paint them for a custom look. The Modarri DIY Car model is meant especially for this purpose. A classic “art class example” is this Mondrian DIY car by Margo Mullen.

DIY & the Maker Movement

Play is preparation for life – and life is better when you can do stuff yourself! The Modarri hex tool helps provide a great introduction to tinkering. Modarri is also excited about the increasing affordability of 3D printers. Ultimately, fans will be able to 3D print customized Modarri toy car parts and accessories.

When the recession hit awhile back, grown-ups increasingly chose do-it-yourself options whether they wanted household repairs or were giving gifts. Now DIY is a way of life for more people, even when not doing yourself is affordable. This trend is reflected in sales of kids’ toys. TIA reports that the “Building Sets” and “Arts & Crafts” categories of the toy industry grew by 13% and 3% respectively in 2014 according to sales data.

More Toy Trends for 2015

Another trend named by TIA this year has been dubbed Mini Madness. This trend encompasses tiny toys that are perfect for on-the-go play. Modarri can relate!

Other toy trends for the year are aquatic-themed toys, tech toys, and a longtime favorite: dinosaur toys.

Coverage of TIA’s presentation can viewed at ToyFairNY.orgSome of Modarri’s favorites from this year’s NY Toy Fair can be seen on Pinterest.

Car Party! Modarri Night at the Children’s Museum


Modarri was honored to take a spin with the Santa Cruz Children’s Museum of Discovery (the MOD) for Family Fun Night last Friday. Highlights included Modarri toy car assembly, car decorating and special test drives. Check out the fun & get inspired!

Building the Cars

The evening began with car assembly. The parts for different Modarri toy cars are interchangeable, so we let participants get creative: We broke cars down beforehand and prepared buckets of tires, frames and other components. Children built hybrids of Modarri Street Cars, Track Cars and Dirt Cars.


Each person received a Modarri hex tool for building. Many participants were younger than our suggested 8+, but that wasn’t a problem. We loved seeing young scientists using hex tools for the first time!

Wild Rides: The Racetrack and Volcano

Kids had some supercool options for driving inside the museum. Here are the MOD–Modarri Racetrack and a glowing volcano! Both paper mache structures were built for the car party by museum volunteer Mike Maraldo.


City Driving: The Miniature Santa Cruz

If you build it, they will play! Art class participants at the museum built foam board buildings to represent homes and some classic local businesses in Santa Cruz, such as O’Neill Surf Shop and Gayle’s Bakery. Some buildings thank sponsors for the evening, including Couch Potato of Soquel and Whole Foods Market of Capitola.


And Everyone’s a Winner

Kids were SO proud of their cars. Santa Cruz photographer Priscila Morris lent her services to take photos in the black-and-white-checkered Winners Circle. Visit her website to see the happy makers!

Host a Car Party

Contact us about hosting your own Modarri car party! Party packs are available for museum events, scout troops, birthday celebrations and so forth. We’d also be happy to share some planning tips.

It Works! 3D Printed Toyota Transmission

Maker genius strikes again! With access to a 3D printer and shared files, now you can print a working five-speed transmission and engine. This video from maker and car aficionado Eric Harrell shows a transmission for a Toyota 22RE engine printed to about 1:3 scale.

Full-scale, the Toyota 22RE engine was produced from 1981 through 1997. It’s found in vehicles such as the Celica, 4Runner and Corona.

Of course, this plastic version can’t handle gasoline. Go green! We suggest patented Modarri finger-steering.


Download the files The Toyota transmission file can be downloaded from MakerBot as Thingiverse item number 713815. The engine is file number 644933.

3D Printed Modarri Gear Rack How about 1:32 scale? Check out a Modarri fan’s 3D-printed car modification!

3D Printed Board Rack for Modarri Cars

Modarri drivers tend to live the adventurous life style. Sometimes it’s hard to get all that gear into a sleek high performance vehicle.

Rodney of Santa Cruz solved that problem with 3D printing. He designed an printed a custom rack to carry for his Santa Cruz Skateboard on his Modari S1.

Share your Modarri designs and special car modifications! Tag your Twitter , Facebook or Instagram pictures with #ModarriDIY for a chance to have yours featured here.




Cars Write to Astronaut Dad

Stephanie in Houston, TX missed her dad a lot in January. He was floating in a tin can, the International Space Station. That’s outside of Verizon’s service area… but with help from 11 cars, she messaged him in a new old-fashioned way.

On January 18, a fleet of Hyundai Genesis cars hit the Nevada desert. Writing Steph’s message in the sand, they made her dad’s day!

The cars also broke the Guinness World Record for “the largest tire track image.” The note measured 59,808,480.26 square feet.

Inspired by the big cars, we’ll test our Modarri toy car handwriting (tirewriting?) next time we hit the beach!

A History of “Hacking”

Hacked_Modarri_toy_car_by_Colby_PhillipsAny word sounds funny after you repeat it a few times.  “Hack, hack, hack. Hack.”

Here at Modarri, we talk a lot about hacking our cars — modifying them with headlights or maybe a propeller as Colby Phillips did here…

But where did we get that term? Let’s take a quick spin down Etymology Lane.

Old English Hacking: Chop Chop

The word “hack” has been in use for at least 500 years. Speakers back then basically defined it as we sometimes do today: “to cut with rough or heavy blows,” as when chopping wood.

According to and similar sites, earlier versions of the word are tōhaccian (Old English) and hacken (Middle English). It’s of Germanic origin.

Hacking at MIT: Making Mischief

According to a writer for MIT, a new definition involving trickery was coined at the university and first written in the minutes of their Tech Model Railroad Club, recording the words of graduate student William Eccles. This happened in April of 1955, sixty years ago this week.

Apparently “hack” was slang for any tech-based practical joke. In 1959 it was noted, “Hacks was the term applied to all manner of technology-based practical jokes at MIT, such as thermite welding a stopped trolley car to the tracks on Massachusetts Ave.”

Oh, sure,.. the ol’ thermite welding gag.

The practical jokes from 1955 sound a bit Mr. Burns-ish, but MIT students’ “hacks” from the 1960s are more relatable. In one example, students tampered with phone systems to assign long distance charges. From there it’s easy to imagine the word evolving to apply to computer hacking, whether as a practical joke, for malicious purposes, for curiosity or even the general good.

Hacking at Modarri: Modifying Toy Supercars

Here at Modarri headquarters, “hacking” involves artistic and scientific toy car modifications. Straight from the box, our cars can be built millions of ways — but what if you thought outside the box?

Add LEDs here, a motor there, a 3D-printed convertible top… Now we move from millions of options to infinite potential. Stay tuned for maker tutorials!

Art can be hacking too. Professional artists have contributed some very cool modified Modarris to our toy car museum. For example, Doug Ross wrapped a custom aluminum car body around a Modarri X1 Dirt Car. It’s shaped like a banana slug, which is our local university mascot. Another example comes from Laurel Bushman, who added fierce teeth to an amazing Modarri Tiger.

How would you hack a Modarri? Check out our online shop and drop us a line!

Thanks to Colby Phillips for giving us some very cool Modarris! Colby and his father sell their skate & surf graphics at

Best Free Apps for Road Trips (Part One)

Here at Modarri toy car headquarters, we generally recommend that drivers unplug-and-play. “Feel the road!” Even so, apps are handy when you’re cooped up on road trips. For entertainment and getting useful info, here are some favorite free apps for the road! Each app mentioned here has earned four or five stars in overall user ratings. Plus, we tested them all for user friendliness.

GasBuddy_free_app_for_driversGasBuddy by GasBuddy Organization

It’s crowdsourcing for cheap gas! GasBuddy is a free community app dedicated to finding the cheapest gas possible.

How it works: Users update gas prices in real time. Using this info and your GPS data, the app will suggest where to fill your tank.

Win fuel: For each gas price that you report, you’ll earn points toward prize giveaways. A $100 gas card is given away every day.

Google Maps by Google

An obvious choice for most lists of road apps, the free Google Maps app rarely lets us down. Google Maps offers turn-by-turn navigation plus route previews and maps showing traffic congestion.

Google Maps will also make local restaurant suggestions — now tailored by cuisine — and can display the weather forecast for any destination.

The download links: Google Maps Android & G
oogle Maps iOS


The License Plate Game by Joseph Levine

Family fun! Keep track of which US license plates you’ve seen. Sure, you could do that with paper and pencil – but license plate apps offer lots more. Of the free options, The License Plate Game by Joseph Levine is our favorite for iOS.

The License Plate Game app lists the fifty US states and shows a sample license plate from each. Tap a plate to check it off. Besides that you can:

  • Add photos of “special plates” that you spot, such as those from outside the US or from Native American tribes
  • See how common each plate is. Each state gets a difficulty rating based on how many plates are on the road. For example, California license plates have a difficulty rating of “Easy.” There are supposedly 32 million CA plates. Hawaiian plates, on the other hand, are rated “Very Hard” to find. There are only 959,000 of them on the road, according to the app developer.
  • Get statistics about the percentage of US plates you’ve seen.
  • Pin the location of each sighting. This option can be turned off if you’re not a fan of geo-tracking.

The screen is cluttered when you first open the app, but after you clear the simple instructions it looks great. Unlike other license plate game apps we tried, it’s easy to use and not full of distractions.

HotelTonight_-_Free_app_to_find_hotel_discountsHotelTonight by Hotel Tonight Inc.

Didn’t plan ahead? Find hotel discounts anyway! Hotel Tonight is a free app that lists last-minute discounts. Also, now the service lets you book up to seven days in advance too. It’s useful whether you’re booking a fancy vacation or just need to pull over already…

The tag line for HotelTonight is “We are HotelTonight. And we want you to plan a little less. And live a little more.”

HotelTonight is free for Android and iOS.

Audible by Amazon

Love books? Audible is an audio book app for people with Amazon accounts. You’re prompted to log in with your Amazon info, but wait! In the upper corner there’s a “Try It” button. Click and you’ll see a selection of free samples to download, each about 30 minutes to 45 minutes long.

When we checked it out, some free downloads from Audible included excerpts from the bestsellers The Girl with the Dragon TattooThe Kite Runner, and Stephen King’s 11-22-63: A Novel.

This app is free but designers hope you’ll pay down the line. A free trial gives you access to freebies like the aforementioned, plus two full audio books from a list of more than 150,000. After that, a $14.95/month membership gives you an additional audio book per month.

Your Favorite Road Apps

What are your favorite apps for the road? Drop us a line and maybe contribute to the next installment, “Best Free Apps for Road Trips (Part Two).”

Feel the Road! – Modarri

Stone Age Toy Car

It’s the world’s oldest known toy car!


Toy cars seem to be as old as the wheel. This miniature car, probably meant to be a chariot, is made entirely of stone. It was unearthed during excavations in Kiziltepe, Mardin in southeastern Turkey. Archaeologist Mesut Alp estimates that it’s 7500 years old.

Stone dolls and whistles were also found in the area. We love imagining the old-time toy inventors!

Other wheeled toys from the Stone Age have been found, but this is the first with four wheels like a modern car. It’s not all that different from a 2015 Modarri! Here it’s alongside our ready-to-paint Modarri DIY Car.

The Stone Age toy car is now on display at the Mardin Museum.


Cute Chick in a Custom Car

Almost ready to hatch! This oversized egg holds a very special car and driver.

The miniature car is a hybrid of the Modarri S1 Street Car — which provides the shiny blue body — and the Modarri X1 Dirt Car, which adds the red frame.

And the orange? According to our toy expert David Silverglate, “That’s a custom design achieved with spray paint.”


As for the driver, ornithologists refer to him as a “milk chocolate Lindt.” And he’s delicious.

Happy spring! – Modarri

Name That Flag! Modarri World Distribution, March 2015

Did you know? You can drive your Modarri in the US, the UK or anywhere with ease! Forget the old left/right paradigm… A Modarri driver steers from the middle of the car with comfort and a clear view.

Nine countries now have Modarri distributors. Their flags are shown here. Can you identify the places? Scroll down for the answers.

Flags of Countries with Official Modarri Distributors


Answers: Countries with Official Modarri Distributors

1. United States
2. Mexico
3. Canada
4. Russia
5. Japan
6. Germany
7. United Kingdom
8. Switzerland
9. Singapore
Exports to many more countries are coming soon! To sell Modarri toy cars in your shop, call or email our team.

– See more at:

Fun DIY Fact: Modarri Parts Fit REAL Cars

Who knew? Modarri toy car wheels are compatible with full-sized vehicles. Ty Ricklick made this discovery when his radio’s volume knob wandered off.


Ty, thanks so much for sharing. Sorry somebody stole your volume knob… but your DIY thinking saved the day!

How to Build a Modarri Car – Watch a thirty-second video demo.

Road Trip Music! – Turn up the volume for our first Spotify playlist.

– See more at:

Mysterious “Pirate Surfer” Drives the Modarri Shark

Modarri_Shark_handpainted_toy_carSanta Cruz, CA — A mystery man recently rolled into town. Cruising down Highway 1 each morning, he and his custom-painted Modarri DIY car are the newest local attraction.

This driver was born for the sea: His sleek car has shark teeth. His hair has waves. He’s permanently attached to a telescope.

But is he a pirate? A surfer? He’s a mystery wrapped in a Modarri.

His one local connection is artist Heather Robyn Matthews, aka Heather Glass. She created his Modarri Shark in early February.

“I’m not sure what to make of him,” Matthews told us. “He’s a surfer, but he’s a pirate too. He’s an unusual mix of laid-back and really intense… He wanted his Modarri DIY painted rather quickly for a toy fair in New York.”

The car is part of a miniature DIY car fleet created by artists in the Santa Cruz, California area. The collection of about 10 vehicles was recently displayed at the 112th annual North American International Toy Fair in New York City.


Matthews generously painted the stranger’s car for free. It’s not her usual sort of work. Professionally she’s worked as a glass artist since 1979 — hence her business name Heather Glass.

And the driver’s name? The artist told us, “I call him Pirate Surfer Steve, but that’s just because he resembles my neighbor Steve. I really don’t know his name.”

See the artist’s award-winning glasswork at! Get your own Modarri DIY car at

New Modarri X1 Camo Car Can’t Hide at Toy Fair

New York, NY – A new Modarri toy car has just hit Manhattan! The modular X1 Camo Car, set to ship in May 2015, is being shown off this long weekend at the North American International Toy Fair. The easy-to-build toy comes with real suspensionpatented finger-steering, and a camouflage print to spark the imagination.


Modarri car designer Brian Gulassa explained, “Here our X1 Dirt Car gets a camo paint job. The finger steering puts kids in the driver’s seat, which really encourages imaginative play. Take a jungle safari, be a forest ranger, go undercover as a spy!”

Demonstrating the product to Toy Fair attendees, Gulassa showed off the car’s unique steering and bouncy suspension. Then he broke it down – literally. Using a color-coordinated hex tool, he released the wheels, seat, and other components from the Camo Car’s chassis. “Now we can rebuild the parts several different ways, or combine them with parts from other Modarris.”

Tens of millions of hybrid cars will be possible when the new X1 and other Modarri products are released in May. The X1 Camo Car, the new S1 Beach Cruzer, and a special accessory pack are now under production. The X1 Camo Car will sell for $19.95.

Feel the Road! –

New Modarri S1 Beach Cruzer Unveiled at Toy Fair

New York, NY — February 14, 2015 — The finish on this new Modarri is barely dry, but the car is already being test driven in New York. ThoughtFull Toys unveiled the new S1 Beach Cruzer this morning at the 112th North American International Toy Fair.


Set to hit shelves this May, the S1 Beach Cruzer is a summery ride inspired by Modarri’s hometown of Santa Cruz, California. It boasts real suspension, patented finger-steering, and a racing stripe of Pacific Coast hibiscus.

Recommended for Drivers 8+

A Modarri spokeswoman stated, “The car appeals to drivers with a style that’s laid-back yet hints at success — living the California dream! Still, at $19.95 it’s attainable to those ages 8 and up.”

The STEM Connection

The car not only encourages imaginative play, but is also an introduction to science and building. It arrives with a color-coordinated hex tool. Break down the car and rebuild it different ways! This toy alone can be rebuilt into five cars. Combined with the entire Modarri collection, it helps make millions of hybrids possible.

Part of the Modarri S1 Collection

The Beach Cruzer builds upon an award-winning S1 series. Electric blue and black Modarri S1 Street Cars hit streets in 2014. The gray Modarri DIY Car for artists is also an S1.

Feel the Road! –

Mermaid Sighting in California


Are mermaids real?

While navigating the Caribbean, Columbus reported seeing three “female forms” that “rose high out of the sea, but were not as beautiful as they are represented.”

Like most historians, we think he was mistaken. Mermaids are as beautiful as the legends say!

Mermaid Drives a Modarri

Shown here is a mermaid relaxing at Cowell’s Beach in Santa Cruz, California. She drives the Treasure, a Modarri DIY custom painted by local artist Tiffany Wells.

Said the mermaid, “I really connected with Tif. Just like me, she has roots in Hawaii and Santa Cruz. We first met ages ago when she owned a tattoo parlor. I chickened out of my appointment and we lost touch, but recently I saw her paintings at Artisan’s Gallery. I was drawn to her color palette: lots of turquoise and aquamarine.”

About the Artist & Her Car

The driver’s words resonated with Wells. She told Modarri, “I feel a deep connection with the water spirit. I was born in Hawaii and was a Nirvana baby — like on the Nirvana album cover, just throw me into the water! I grew up across the street from the ocean.”

Wells, who has a degree in animation, added, “Mermaids show up in lots of my art, not only for their connection with the sea, but for the anatomy. You can feel energy with anatomy, with the poses in a painting.”

“For the car, I wanted to create something that a girl would love to drive. When I was a kid, my dad gave me a Tonka truck instead of a doll. I really think that was a benefit. And these days, it’s even more important for girls to play with trucks or Modarri cars. Girls need to learn what boys are learning.”

The car name “Treasure” has a double meaning. First, the one-of-a-kind creation has sentimental value to the artist. Second, there’s a connection to cash: Renaissance-style filigrees and cross-hatching on the Modarri DIY are inspired by designs on the US dollar bill.

Tiffany’s Treasure will be on display at the New York Toy Fair from February 14-17, 2015 in booth 1974.

See more art by Tif Wells on Behance! T-shirts, album covers, animations and more.

Fan Car Photos #2

This week’s Modarri fan photo highlights come from charming Chadlington, Oxfordshire and our beachside hometown of Santa Cruz, California.

The Chadlington Collection

Jasper Eaton, age nine, maintains an extensive Modarri collection in Chadlington, Oxfordshire, England. In his collection we saw two versions each of the S1 Street Car, T1 Track Car and X1 Dirt Car.

He’s grateful to his grandpa for the holiday gift of cars! And we’re thankful for these fan photos.


Modarri Combo Pack

Here at Modarri, we love to see where fans are driving. We crave a drive on the Chadlington cobblestone. Talk about “Feel the Road!”

Chadlington is more than 1000 years old. It has Gothic architecture from the 1400s, which you can see in the background. Scholars figure the village was named for Saint Chad, who’s been nicknamed the patron saint of political disputes. He did have a dramatic political life. Fun what you learn in the car biz…

Santa Cruz Beach Cruiser

Sara Birns is a UI/UX designer in Santa Cruz. She designed the graphic layout for Modarri car packaging! She also surprised us with a very beachy art car.

Mini art car by Sara Birns

Miniature art car

Birns painted the fender with opalescent nailpolish, which can’t decide if it’s green or purple. She added bling in seafoam and sparkly greens.

This customized car is yet to be named. When asked what ideas she was considering, the artist said, “Hulk, Sparkle Clover and Reptar.”

Thank you, Sara and Jasper! Happy driving.

Share Your Modarri Toy Car Photos

Share your Modarri designs and special car modifications! Tag your Twitter , Facebook or Instagram pictures with #ModarriDIY for a chance to have yours featured here.

DIY Toy Car Track Ideas

Construction is underway at Modarri headquarters! Soon a miniature freeway for Modarri cars – the M1? – will run through our office. Here are some clever DIY toy car track examples that we found while planning.

1. Removable Tape Car Tracks
Washi_tape_toy_ car_track_ -_ LeJardinDeJuliette

Tape tracks are brilliant. They can be semi-permanent yet aren’t space-hogs like 3D tracks. Plus, nobody will stumble over these in the dark.

The example here comes from a Dutch blog, We like how the road merges with architectural drawing on the wall! A removable cardboard tunnel, shown at the link, was added too.

Types of tape to use for toy car tracks

Painter’s tape is an inexpensive and easily removable option. You can usually adhere it to wooden floors without causing damage. This tape is most commonly seen in about 1” wide blue, but there are lots of colors and widths.

Washi tape is used in the example here. It’s usually more expensive than painter’s tape, but it’s a pretty option. If you want brightly colored tape or tracks that complement your décor, then this option is for you. This removable tape is sized like Scotch tape and is now sold at places like Walgreen’s and CVS in addition to craft supply shops.

Civil engineer tape for toy car tracks_0

Civil Engineer Tape, or any printed road tape, looks like lots of fun. Just be sure to test the removability. We first spotted this on Amazon. Also seen for sale online: removable decals that come in different partial road shapes, letting you and the kids build curves and straightaways on floors, windows and walls.

2. Rocky Roads

DIY outdoor toy car track - Rocks and chalkReal rock, some chalk to mark lanes, and toy cars can brings hours of outdoor fun!

In this example from Dyan Robson’s blog, the writer used weighty paving stones to set up a track. Chalk lane dividers are handy and are easy to remove.

With smaller stones, little ones could easily rearrange the road systems over and over. Make miniature road signs too!

And if roads are built in a sandbox, kids can add landscape with mountains, flatlands, and rivers with bridges.

An even simpler option: Forego the rocks and simply draw chalk roads on the sidewalk, driveway or patio. We saw this idea in a parent’s Modarri car review at

3. Fabric Car Tracks

Soft tracks are best when baby’s on board. The intricate felt blanket shown here depicts a zoo, a farmhouse and other great details for imaginative play with toy cars and other miniatures. See for a tutorial.

DIY felt car track tutorial

A simpler option: Prepare thick fabric roadway pieces that fit together in different ways, letting your toddler make DIY toy car tracks over and over again. You can cut fabric pieces that form straight roads, roundabouts and curves.

Your Ideas & More Ideas

Does a freeway run through your living room? We’d love to see it — especially with a Modarri car in the mix! Send pics to

For more examples, check out our Pinterest board DIY Toy Car Tracks.

Fan Car Photos #1

What do toddlers, gamers and grandpas have in common? Modarri! Here are selected fan photos from the past week.

Modarri at Mythic Games in Santa Cruz, California

Mythic Games is the place to play Warhammer, Infinity and other role playing games in Santa Cruz. Turns out, our toy cars are perfectly scaled for Infinity miniature soldiers and their terrain!

These photos from Mythic Games owner Reuben Timineri show a Modarri S1 Street Car. It was handpainted by local artist Joe Lai.

Modarri S1 Street Car at Mythic Games


Modarri toy car painted by Joe Lai

The Rainbow Car

A toddler requested a rainbow Modarri from her dad. Here’s the pro result!

Rainbow car paint by Mike Maraldo - Modarri S1

The artist, Mike Maraldo, is a volunteer art teacher with the new Santa Cruz Children’s Museum of Discovery (SCCMOD) at the Capitola Mall. Obviously this guy has skills to share!

Grandpa’s Auto Theft

Dorene Dawson tagged us in this Instagram picture. She wrote, “Very happy Grandpa with his first #Modarri car. He stole it from Tyler during the white elephant exchange at our reunion tonight! Haha! My dad is hilarious! He can’t wait to build it and play with it.”

Instagram DMamaDawson - Grandpa steals toy car in white elephant gift exchange

Love that look in his eyes. Sure, he stole from a kid… but he has a Modarri.

Submit Your Photos

Add your Modarri pictures! Tag pictures as #ModarriDIY in social media or email your files to press @

For more of our fans’ toy car photos, visit Modarri on Pinterest and Instagram.

Five Great Ways to Encourage STEM Curiosity

Inside a baby’s mind: “Blocks have no flavor. Cats are soft. Colorful leaves crunch.”

Babies and toddlers are naturally scientific explorers. Without guidance, they will form hypotheses, run experiments and reach conclusions — all day long.

Toddler scientist - From How to Encourage STEM Curiosity

Some will keep tinkering with the world and become adults who confidently make basic household repairs, maintain their vehicles, and make clever ideas become reality.

As kids grow up though, not all will remain tinkerers without a caregiver’s influence. Here are five ways to encourage STEM curiosity while respecting your child’s interests.

Provide a Workshop
Screwdriver home workshop - From Great Ways to Encourage STEM Curiosity

As Virginia Woolf observed, a creative person needs “a room of her own.” Any man cave owner would agree.

Ideally a workshop area is especially reserved for tinkering; it’s not the same space used for homework or other activities. A single purpose helps encourage STEM curiosity and a project-focused mindset.

Key design elements though are good lighting, ventilation, a child-sized table and bench, and easily accessible materials.

What sorts of materials? Professional kits are handy but not necessary. Kids can accomplish a lot with odds and ends from the recycling bin, especially when they’re young. For all ages, look through our Pinterest board “Fun STEM Projects for Kids.” More ideas about kids’ workshop materials are below too.

Organization is important, so provide bins, desk drawers or the equivalent – yet resist the urge to keep this area supertidy. Putting everything away could seriously interrupt the flow of genius!

Some households should also keep fire extinguishers nearby. You know who you are.

Stock a Tinkering Box

unlikelyhomeschool tinkering box

Materials and tools can be stored in a well-organized way, but it’s great to also have a hodge-podge tinkering box. The randomness helps encourage creativity.

A tinkering box for very young children might include objects such as pipe cleaners, safety scissors, glue, empty cereal boxes and cardboard tubes.

As older children become more capable and safety-conscious, you can provide better quality materials and tools such as a hammer and nails, copper wire, chisels, saws and drills.

It’s also excellent to provide objects to dissemble and rebuild, such as cassette players, computers and radios. Modarri cars are great for starters!

Include manuals with exploded diagrams when possible and appropriate.

Support Brainstorming & Documentation

Einstein Modarri - How to Encourage Curiosity - STEM_0

Providing a large space to write and sketch is a great way to support a budding scientist. A large chalkboard or whiteboard for the workroom wall can be very handy for capturing “Eureka!” moments, making calculations or organizing long-term plans.

Journaling is important too; it helps people to reflect, to plan and to become inspired. Sometimes we don’t know what we know until we write it.

With younger children, help start a journal by asking them to draw what they built. To extend this, have them draw the object in use — perhaps by their favorite friend or book character — or to draw the item with a creative modification. Add a quote and the date for annotated records!

Older children can take serious notes and follow the scientific method with rigor. They might document their genius online too, but the benefits of maintaining a private paper journal are irreplaceable.

BE the Scientist You Wish to See…

Cat with STEM skills - From Great Ways to Encourage STEM Curiosity
Adults can encourage STEM curiosity and scientific thinking by modeling a scientific approach to problems. Even around pre-verbal kids, it’s valuable to narrate your everyday troubleshooting. Whether you’ve burnt toast or are fixing a computer, you can say “Now I’ll try ____________ because ________________________.” Your child will pick up on advanced problem-solving skills, plus your pets might learn a thing or two.

Modeling your scientific curiosity can help make it contagious. Working together on DIY projects is a great time for this!

There are lots of STEM questions to ask when playing with Modarri cars. Use scales and compute how many cars would make a pound. Test the speed of various hybrids, and try out different tires and terrains to explore friction… Turn a car into a hovercraft!

Check out our Pinterest board for classic toys that parents and children can make at home!

Follow Your Child’s Interests

Rube Goldberg machine cartoon - From How to Encourage STEM Curiosity

Rube Goldberg machines… a fantastic STEM genre to explore with kids!

Whatever your child’s interests and goals, they have something to do with science… because science is everywhere. How did famous artists make their oil paints, for example? What’s the best arc when hitting a baseball? What’s inside a TV?

The better you understand your child’s interests, the better you can help fit STEM into their life. Here are a few more ideas:

  • Make engineering challenges. Incorporate favorite toys or a friend. “Build a newspaper bridge that can hold five of your dolls” or “Build a tower that’s as tall as your sister.”
  • With more advanced kids, together build a Rube Goldberg machine using their favorite toys and/or to accomplish something related to one of their passions. (Feed the dog?) This is a great way to apply Newton’s laws and explore simple machines such as wedges and pulleys.
  • Get interesting STEM-related books. Most STEM books are nonfiction, but STEM fiction is a quickly-growing genre. Links to book lists including fiction and non-fiction are at the end of this article.
  • Find local events and extracurriculars that might be of interest to your child.
  • Provide STEM-friendly toys like wooden blocks and LEGOs, age-appropriate chemistry sets, and DIY Modarri cars!

How do you nurture STEM curiosity? Logged-in Modarri users can comment below.

Links to STEM & STEAM Book Lists

Consider books from the following lists to encourage STEM curiosity.