Introduction: Climbing Cardboard Gorilla

Picture of Climbing Cardboard Gorilla

This is a cardboard version of a traditional wooden toy, with a small modification to give it swinging legs, "just because".

Step 1: Materials and Tools.

Picture of Materials and Tools.
You will need a number of easily-obtained materials.

  • Corrugated card - enough to draw three copies of the template - maybe one and a half sheets of A4?
  • plain paper for templates.
  • Glue - I used PVA craft glue, but anything that sticks card will do the job.
  • String - three or four metres of slightly-rough string. Not the hairy stuff, but slightly rough.
  • A drinking straw.
  • A cocktail stick or bamboo barbecue skewer.


  • Cutting tools - scissors, craft knife etc. If your card is thick, you will need a large sharp knife like a Stanley knife (I believe Americans call them box-cutters?)
  • A drill - it is far easier to drill through several layers of corrugated card than it is to poke a hole.
  • A piercing tool - something to make a small hole in the card, such as a sharp pencil, a nail etc.
  • Printer or drawing tools.

Step 2: The Gorilla Template

Picture of The Gorilla Template
To make a gorilla climb, you need a gorilla.

I hand-drew the original (see the scans), and you can do the same, or you can print off a copy of the scanned-and-drawn-over version I have attached as as a PDF. If you cannot see the full-size scans, don't worry. They are mainly an archive of the design process - the PDF file contains everything you need.

Notice that you need several layers of card - the torso and arms are made of three layers, the legs are one layer and the head is an added piece.

  • I tilted the different layers of the torso at different angles compared to the ridges in the corrugated card. This made the finished model stronger than if all three layers were at the same angle.

Of course, you don't have to use a gorilla, almost any shape will work, just make sure the angle of the straw is 45o (more on the straw later).

Step 3: Construction (1)

Picture of Construction (1)

Cut the various parts out of the card, and pierce a hole through the, er, delicate parts of the gorilla to hang the legs from, and a similar hole through the centre of the single leg-layer. The legs will swing better if the hole in them is slightly larger than the cocktail stick or skewer you use.

Step 4: Gluing.

Picture of Gluing.

Glue the three layers of the torso & arms together. Make sure the layer with the missing lower section, and the slots missing from the hands, is in the middle of the three layers, and that you have laid a cut piece of straw in the palm of the hand, in the slot missing from the middle layer.

Don't be mean with the glue - like a composite material, the glue provides a lot of the strength of the finished toy.

Depending on the type of glue you use, lay the torso pieces under a book for a suitable time (overnight for the PVA).

Step 5: Construction (2)

Picture of Construction (2)
When the glue is dry, slot the legs into the gap in the lower part of the torso, then slide a short piece of cocktail stick or skewer through the layers to fix it in place whilst letting it swing from side to side. A drop of glue front and back will hold the stick in place, but be careful not to glue the legs to the stick, or they won't be able to swing.

Glue the head onto the front of the torso, in an aesthetically-pleasing position.

  • You will need to add features to the head - you can draw them directly onto the card, or onto the plain paper and then glue that onto the front of the head.

Step 6: Something to Climb.

Picture of Something to Climb.
You can't have a climbing gorilla if the gorilla has nothing to climb!

With the remains of your corrugated card, make a simple beam, about as long as the distance between the gorilla's hands.

Drill two holes near the centre of the beam, and and a hole near each end.

Tie a loop of string through the centre two holes to hang the gorilla up.

Cut another piece of string about four metres long, and thread each end down though the holes in the ends of the beam. You could use two separate pieces, but using one piece removes the chance of knots pulling through holes. To stop the string slipping, I glued and wedged short pieces of bamboo skewer into the holes with the string.

Thread one end of the string through each hand of the gorilla, and then tie a large knot in the end of the string to stop it pulling back through the straw. You could, if you want, add a large bead.

  • I made "beads" by cutting short lengths of the corrugated card, gluing along their length and then rolling them around the knotted ends of the string.

Step 7: Climb!

Picture of Climb!
Fasten the centre loop to somewhere high, such as the top of a door (or the centre of your shed roof), and slide the gorilla to the bottom of the string.

Pull each string in turn (left, right, left, right), and the gorilla will climb the string, legs swinging.


(Adding the video was gmjhowe's idea)

Step 8: Improvements?

When I first made this, I was planning to somehow disguise the corrugated card. Paint, maybe, or a thin layer of papier mache.

You could do these, of course, but after spending three days looking at his ugly mug, Gorilla kind of grew on me.

I like him the way he is, and I'm not going to change him.

If you, however, make him differently, or make a different animal climb the string, then please post pictures of your creations in the comments. I'd love to see them.


PS for non-pro members, I have added the PDF to this step.


Kiteman (author)2011-07-23

Climbing gorilla merchandise is now available!

argha halder (author)2013-07-13

great one. i made one too and my small 8 yeared cousin plays almost the whole day with it.thankssssssssssssssssss!

Kiteman (author)argha halder2013-07-13


PattrenKate (author)2012-05-06

Thanks Kiteman! I was inspired by your instructable to make a simplified 'Migrating Monarch' toy for a 250+-kids-in-3-hours craft activity. Printed the monarchs that kids colored on stiff cardstock, had them tape the short lengths of straw to the back, used household twine, and a 3-inch length of straw for the top cross bar. They tied knots at the ends of the string, and voil√°! Not all of them worked, given the angles and lengths of some of the short straws, but some did and the kids (and grown-ups) loved them!

Kiteman (author)PattrenKate2012-05-06

That's brilliant!

Have you got photos? Or an Instructable?

Derin (author)2010-03-30

um...can you put the skewer somewhere else?it might be a lil disturbing...

freeza36 (author)Derin2012-01-24

wow perverted a bit?

Kiteman (author)Derin2010-03-30

You, sir, have a mucky mind - that's his navel!

famo99 (author)Kiteman2010-11-14

unrelated story time! i used to think that a navel was behind your nose, but now i am wiser and more like Gandalf, so i know better

The Jamalam (author)2009-08-18

Kiteman typo'd!

Close-up of middle-layer. Notice the hole pierced ijn the legs.

Kiteman (author)The Jamalam2009-08-18

I djon't kjnow wjhat yjou mjean!

The Jamalam (author)Kiteman2009-08-18

Wjait, njor djo Ij. Ij thjink thjat Ij cjan't rjead.

homestuck (author)The Jamalam2010-10-24


Alex Dee (author)2009-09-17

the video was very funny I'm amused hehehehe

ODDJOBS (author)2009-08-31

Excellent. My five year old is most amused. He's now on his second. Well Done.

Kiteman (author)ODDJOBS2009-08-31

That's great - how about posting a picture of his work?

davethescubarock (author)2009-08-24

I used to have a wooden one of these things in the shape of Humpty Dumpty stuck to the side of my pantry in my kitchen.. Havent seen him since we had the room re-fitted, but i remember him so well from when I was a child! The top beam cant have hung more than 5' off the ground, but I remember thinking how high he got and having to crane my neck to watch him climb to the top! And then the fun little jerky slide back down to the bottom.. Aaaaahhh.. Childhood :D - and i'm only 16 now!

Kiteman (author)davethescubarock2009-08-24

LOL - the simple toys seem to have the greatest impact, don't they?

Karroo Oakey (author)2009-08-10

Well, this is just sickening. Look at all these people worshiping you Kiteman. I mean just look around ........... oops I seem to be standing on the wrong side of the line. Oh dear, I guess it's official - I am also one of the worshipers! Maybe we can form a groupie club and hound you whenever you are online! Drive you crazy by jumping out from behind websites and taking unauthorised screen shots.
Absolutely brilliant Instructable BTW. KarrooWife is seriously ticked off with you 'cause I laughed so hard at myself while practising your self mutilation instructable in the mirror that I woke the baby!

Kiteman (author)Karroo Oakey2009-08-15

LOL, thank you for the positivity.

After I posted that video on YouTube, I discovered that there are hundreds just like it...

swimmer95 (author)2009-08-10

what did you use to cut the cardboard

Kiteman (author)swimmer952009-08-15

A strong craft knife, because scissors squished the corrugations. If I had one, I may have used a coping saw or scroll saw.

Bartboy (author)2009-08-03

Someone should make a machine to pull the strings for you! Then you could leave it running non-stop!

Kiteman (author)Bartboy2009-08-04

I don't need a machine, I have sons - this is currently hanging in the hall of my home, and the boys have been using it non-stop for two days.

spock155 (author)Kiteman2009-08-13

To tell you the truth it creeps me out! But, then again, most things do that to me :|

Bam95 (author)2009-08-12

Very good !!! nice job best wishes for the contest

BraisedDuck (author)2009-08-01

how does it work?

Gr82Bake (author)BraisedDuck2009-08-10

the string that goes through the hands is at a 45 degree angle where it passes through. when you pull the string you force the string straight, and then the gorilla is forced into a 45 degree angle, which lifts the other side of the gorilla a bit higher. when you pull the second string the same thing happens and the first side goes up, etc. by the way, great 'ible

jet h (author)2009-08-08

Hi thanks for sharring I love it. Awesome and will make one!

Kiteman (author)2009-08-07

Zoom? I don't know that - it's a traditional toy, pre-Victorian in origin.

netsi1964 (author)2009-08-06

I followed your instructions - thanks, now my daughter has another funny thing to play with. I have added an image of her looking at my Gorilla.

Kiteman (author)netsi19642009-08-07

That is excellent!

Creativeman (author)2009-08-07

This is cool Kiteman, good instructable. Cman

mike153 (author)2009-08-06

love the music to the video :)

mbudde (author)2009-07-31

This is cool. I've never seen these before.

Kiteman (author)mbudde2009-07-31

Really? They've been around for ages.

mbudde (author)Kiteman2009-07-31

Well, I haven't been around for ages. Only 14 years actually. But I'm definitely going to make one.

cupojoe999 (author)mbudde2009-08-01

I saw some thing like this in the tv show "zoom"

but they made different animals not just gorillas, and the episode aired in like 2000, i made one right after i saw it

Bartboy (author)cupojoe9992009-08-03

Zoom is so.... bizarre. You can't help but wonder what age of audience they try to appeal to...

cupojoe999 (author)Bartboy2009-08-05

they try to get younger kids but it looks like only pedophiles really watch it

Yerboogieman (author)2009-08-03

That is some creepy music kiteman, this would keep my sntertained for hours.

Kiteman (author)Yerboogieman2009-08-04


Close your eyes and picture clowns while you listen to it - that is creepy.

Yerboogieman (author)Kiteman2009-08-04

I didn't even have to close my eyes. Can you say It?

full_metal (author)2009-08-01

To get a good surface to work on even the edges, use filler or plaster of pairs then sand down to a good finish, this is how I get my creations a smoother look and it gives more strength to the product.

Kiteman (author)full_metal2009-08-01

Thanks, I never thought of filler.

noahh (author)2009-08-01

Only eight more 'ibles till you have one hundred!

clemens94 (author)2009-08-01

I make one for my sister' birth (7 years old). She is very enjoy ! Thank very much Kiteman !

Rotten194 (author)2009-07-30

The dark kite is in the background! Cool, now you just need a Mario climber to chase him.

Kiteman (author)Rotten1942009-07-31

There are the remains of at least four past projects in the background.

penguingirl12 (author)2009-07-31

if you enter this in the gorilla glue contest it'll matches perfectly! its made out of cardboard and is a gorilla!

About This Instructable




Bio: The answer is &quot;lasers&quot;, now, what was the question? If you need help, feel free to contact me. Project previews on Tumblr &amp; Twitter: @KitemanX
More by Kiteman:Fallen Astronaut 2Custom laser cut metal business cardsDashboard Phone Stand
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