Introduction: Cardboard Buzz Lightyear Jet Pack With Retractable Wings in 30 Minutes.

Picture of Cardboard Buzz Lightyear Jet Pack With Retractable Wings in 30 Minutes.

My 3 year old is a big Toy story fan. He has recently begun running around and acting like buzz lightyear. I thought it would be fun to make a quick cardboard cutout in the shape of buzz's wings. I got a little carried away. Overall, the project still only required a little string(or wire) a cardboard box, and a lot of duct tape.

Step 1: Obtain Cardboard for the Pieces.

Picture of Obtain Cardboard for the Pieces.

I took one box and cut 3 pieces to form the main body and wings.

I had intended just to do a simple cutout, but then I decided to do retractable wings.

Lay out the pieces and cut them into the following pattern. Make sure the wings are going to fit inside the folded piece.

Step 2: Reinforce Areas With Duct Tape and Add Hinges

Picture of Reinforce Areas With Duct Tape and Add Hinges

There are a few areas that will be weak points. Reinforce these with duct tape.

To make the hinges, put the wings in place (make sure they work first) and simply poke some scissors through. I made two holes in the main body and one in the wing. I threaded it through like the picture below.

Step 3: Add Stuff to Make It Look Cooler

Picture of Add Stuff to Make It Look Cooler

I didn't feel like spending much more time on it, so I just taped a piece of cardboard to it to build up some body. I covered the whole surface in duct tape and drew some stuff on it. You could go crazy and make it look super cool.

Step 4: Convince the Child That This Actually Cool.

Picture of Convince the Child That This Actually Cool.

My 3 year old, who is a fan of buzz lightyear refused to wear it. My 18 month old is modeling it here.

--update october 2 2007. Same younger brother still playing with it months later.


ethan1701 (author)2016-02-21

So how does the kid retract the wings? How do they stay up?

Great build, all together!

ameliaanne.smalley (author)2014-10-22

i was just wondering how did you make the rucksack type straps?

a_martin001 (author)2012-10-29

I just made these last weekend for Halloween. Overall they made a great impression.

some thoughts:
I made mine flip out using a rubber band assembly underneath the wings. It worked surprisingly well for a while but eventually the cardboard and rubber band lost strength so I taped them up/down depending on the situation.

Walking through doors/crowds of people is a huge pain, so making sure you can put the wings down is a must.

The wings will bend and take quite a bit of abuse, so I cut and attached wire from some old coathangers to the wings using duct tape in a "batwing" type of design. this was probably one of the best augmentations for aesthetics, durability and functionality.

I put glowsticks on the wingtips and jetpack to achieve a better effect at night.

When it is all said and done, these wings weigh about 3 pounds. That doesn't sound like much but to a little kid it might get tiring. Also, your back cant breathe at all through the duct tape so you sweat profusely.

Use duct tape to color them, since paint will chip off the cardboard easily. You can find most colors at target for 3 bucks a roll.

Also I got a cheap laser from a pet store in the bargain bin for about 2 dollars. It was the perfect size to attach to my arm.


Would you be able to share your rubber band assembly? I'm trying to get mine to flip out as well.


Sure. Essentially, I strengthened the rounded corners of the wings using coat hanger wire and duct tape and punched a hole in each of the corners. then I made a sort of hinge assembly by threading more wire through the holes I made in the top of the wings and jetpack. At this point, the wings could open and fold close, but not "spring" open. So, I tied a couple of strong rubber bands together, and then tied the rubber bands to the top corners of the wings within the jet pack, so they could not be seen. the rubber bands were VERY tight when folded down, so strengthening the cardboard with wire is a must here. Then I basically had a small pin holding them down attached to a string looped through my beltloops that I can pull to flip out the wings. It worked perfect the first 5 or 6 times, and then the wings started to break. So make sure someone is watching!

hargadd (author)2011-01-05

Here is a picture from the back of the wings. I used colored duck tape and permanent ink markers. I used pipe insulation to beef up the wing tips.

Miskui (author)hargadd2011-05-27

WOW - that looks really good! Do they still fold in all the way or do the pipes get in the way? Even if they don't - wow! These are really pro! :) Awesome job!

RocketPenguin (author)2011-04-03

my little brother has the same potty!!!

hargadd (author)2011-01-05

I made these wings with some adaptations from the tape sculpturing section and a pattern for the front portion. Here are some pictures of how it came out.

amcayanan (author)2010-10-20

Ready to fly kid?

genyoung (author)2009-09-07

You're a genius. My three-year-old was extremely happy.

pooboy (author)2007-03-08

i watched the movie twice a day like every day for 3 years when i was really small

Tobita (author)pooboy2008-04-11

lol, i loved the movie ALOT, i used to watch it sooo much(along with home alone(the first one)) the tape snapped when i was watching.

elescape (author)2008-01-13

Yeah I was thinking like get some white stick on sheets(like what avery has) and just put that on top of it all, just adding it would look pretty cool with some flames.....hehe good luck

Shifrin (author)2008-01-02

Haha, This is Cool!

Shifrin (author)Shifrin2008-01-02

You also can clean this up by making a cool paint job : )

Very Keri (author)2007-10-21

This is adorable! I don't have kids, but I know plenty of rug rats and I love to keep little hands busy when I'm baby sitting! (it's not that I'm super cool Auntie Keri, my house is just NOT child proof) I would spray paint this whole thing white and let the little space cadet color the details with washable markers.

c4l3b (author)Very Keri2007-10-21

great idea Keri! I would be careful using spray paint. It can flake of off the cardboard and have a hard time drying anywhere there is tape. Another quick cheap solution would be white duct tape, or white shelf topping sheets... it sticks on like a giant sticker.

Maxaxle (author)2007-09-19

Considering it's made of cardboard, that was incredibly well-working!

Tvman (author)2007-08-10

AHAHAHA !!!!!!!!!!! i thought you were crazy and had to much time on your hands at first when i was readin the instructions but on that kid LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG HE CAN ZAP ME AT ANY MOMENT AHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol.....VERY CUTE IN THAT OUTFIT LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! thats the funnyest thing ive ever seen a kid wear lol............................. but still kick ass on the job dude

PetervG (author)2007-03-05

Huh.. I thought it was Buzz Lightgear..

c4l3b (author)PetervG2007-03-05

believe me. Its lightyear. I've seen the movie 7 billion times now.

fishycracker (author)c4l3b2007-07-13

ya its lightyear

carlos66ba (author)2007-03-05

If I make it adult-sized will it let me fly or simply "fall with style" :-)

Aeshir (author)2007-03-05


Jezza Bear (author)2007-03-05

This is fantastic, have you got the measurements for adults between 5 ' 9" and 6' 0"......Why all the fun for the youngsters...To infinity and beyond :-)

c4l3b (author)Jezza Bear2007-03-05

I didn't measure this one. it would be just as easy for someone taller, but you probably want a stronger material. Cardboard wings that wide would probably bend very quickly.

Kiteman (author)2007-03-05

How do you actually make them pop out?

c4l3b (author)Kiteman2007-03-05

I just pull them out. Sorry for the let down. I actually thought of rigging it with a simple pull string. It just isn't permanent enough to put that much thought into though.

Kiteman (author)c4l3b2007-03-05

Rats. I thought you'd put a bungee across the top, anchor them with a pin (grenade style), and when you pull it, WHAM, instant wings, plus the added benefit of nearby small children getting clipped.

c4l3b (author)Kiteman2007-03-05

I could add weights on the ends and maybe it would actually lift the child in the air upon release. hmmmm.... methinks you have a good plan. I wonder if its even still in one piece. He's been home with it all day.

WesDoesStuff (author)Kiteman2007-03-05

magic... i assume you could use drawstrings or perhaps some type of hairspray comustion chamber driving pistons down forcing the wings to fly out at an iresponsible speed.

pinski1 (author)2007-03-05

Wow, get a duck-tape Woody hat, and your all set.

c4l3b (author)pinski12007-03-05

I wish you hadn't said that.

About This Instructable




Bio: married, 2 kids, 2 businesess. no time.
More by c4l3b:Hack mac laptop to be a mac tablet in 15 minutes or DIY Cintiq11 dollar collapsable monopod.Cardboard Buzz Lightyear jet pack with retractable wings in 30 minutes.
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