You can turn an old action figure toy into a neat new acrobat that can do flips and somersaults.
This project is easy to make using materials you may have around the house. If you don’t have them they’re easily obtained at any hobby or hardware store for little more than pocket change.
- 2 15-inch-long pieces of wood (each about 1/2-inch thick but the thicker the better)
- 1 4-and-1/4-inch-long piece of wood
- 2 1/4-inch-thick screws long enough to pass through the short piece of wood laid on top of one of the long pieces of wood
- 2 bolts thick enough to secure the screws
- 2 8-inch-long pieces of string
- 1 action figure toy
- 1 drill and drill bits slightly bigger than the bolts you use
- Adult permission or help
STEP 1: Lay the 15-inch-long sticks side by side. They don’t have to be exactly 15 inches, but they must be the same length. Make a pencil mark in the exact middle of each stick. (If the sticks are 15 inches, the middle is 71/2 inches.) Drill a hole for one of your screws.
STEP 2: Draw a dot 3 1/2 inches above the drilled hole, then another dot 1 1/2 inches above the first dot. Drill narrower holes at those two points, wide enough to pull your string through.
STEP 3: Stop and check: You should have three holes drilled in each stick. Lay the 4 1/4-inch piece of wood across the two sticks so that it covers the first hole you drilled in the middle of each long stick. Make pencil marks on the 4 1/4-inch piece of wood at the points where it covers those holes. Drill holes there.
STEP 4: Screw the pieces of wood together to form an H. Secure the screws with nuts. Don’t screw them too tightly; they need to be able to move a little.
STEP 5: You’ve completed the base. Now make holes through the action figure’s elbows and hands.
STEP 6: Thread one piece of string through one of the lower holes in your sticks, and secure it with a knot. Then thread this same string through both hands of your action figure and into the lower hole of the opposite stick. Tie a knot there, too. Now thread the second string through the upper hole and tie a knot. Then thread the same string through the figure’s elbows and through the upper hole of the second stick. Tie a knot.
STEP 7: Stop and check again. When the action figure hangs by its hands, the strings should crisscross near each stick.
NOW IT’S TIME TO PLAY
To make the toy work hold the sticks close to their bottoms with one hand, or two, and gently squeeze them together. Your action figure should do a somersault.
It takes a little practice, but once you get the hang of it, you can make your toy acrobat do multiple flips. Some somersaulters spin six somersaults in seconds.