About: A retired electronics engineer -motorola. delveing into new craft ideas and contest entries.

How to make an animated toy ballerina  that can dance and wiggle to music. These types of toys were used for years to interest children by dancing on a wooden shingle or table top. This one was made for a small child to get excited over by grampa who was baby siting her. You may need to know how to cut or carve some wooden figures which are really simple to do. I used a wooden marble for the head. The rest is straight forward to make. Two sliders are used to make the arms move independently.


Materials - Refer to the drawing which is on a one to one scale for ease of construction.

1-Hair-Urethane soft yellow foam  or what is available..Glue on.
2-Head-One  inch diameter wooden marble found  in craft stores or carve your own..187 dia.neck hole about 1/4 in. deep.
3-Neck-A rubber  joint  .elastic  cloth- covered hair band cut 1/2 in. long.{.187 in. Dia.} Use same bands for all joints  except  elbows.For those use .093 Dia. hair bands x approx. 3/4 in. long.
4-Shoulder Covers- Urethane foam . glued and  scissor formed.
5-Trunk-Pine cut from 2x4 x2-1/2 in. long.Traced figure is carved.
6-Hook-String anchor.can be a straight pin or brass wire formed into an eyelet. .06 x1/2 in. lg.
7-Upper Arm-Wood dowel 5/16 dia. x 0.9 in. lg. Top side .187 Hole, Bottom side .093 Hole drilled.
8.Lower Arm-Wood dowel 1/4 in.Dia.x 1.0 in. long. .093Dia. Hole .25 in deep for string. .
9-Upper Leg- Wood dowel 13/32 Dia.x1-1/4 Lg. .187 hole x 1/4 in. and bottom.
10-Lower Leg-Wood Dowel 13/32 Dia.x1-1/4Lg..187 hole drill top end only.
11-Shoes-.40x.70 in. craft stick.x .078 in. thick
12-Control Rod- Wood dowel 1/8 in.Dia. x 7.0 in. long.
13-Stop- Plastic 1/4 in. dia. x 1/4 in long. can be soda straw.glued in place s shown.
14-Arm Control-Right arm,1/4 in. dia. x 1.0 in. long.Punched  small hole for string attach.
15-Arm Control-Left arm - same as right arm construction.
16-End Hand Hold- approx. 5/8 x 5/8 x1.0 long . with drilled hole for  1/8 rod.
17-Control string- Nylon fish cord[ 10lb. size.approx .x 4-1/2 in. long. x two places.
18-Paint- White orsilver sheen  for trunk. Stain brown-maple. Permanent pens colors.

TOOLS- Carving knife.Hand drill- saw, Drill bits :.093[3/32], .187 {3/16} .,.156 {5/32} for control rod.
    Long nose pliers. Wire cutters.,Scissors,Goop glue{R}, ice pick.


  Arms- cut and form arm members as shown. Upper arm hole is drilled at a 45 degree angle so the arm will dangle down ward..Sand  all parts. Staining can be done after assembly.
     The critical anchor pin is inserted into the same hole as used for the rubber flexor. Next you can bend it into a small eyelet. The nylon is attached to this pin and passed through the holes to the sliding tubes on the Control rod. Use the Top View for drilling the .093 Dia. holes  through the body at the right angle.I used a hand drill here. The bottom of the arm has a .093 hole for the smaller diameter elastic band part  connecting to the lower arm.
Legs- Straight forward construction . Cut  to length and round the ends of the dowels. Drill holes as shown using  .187Dia. drill at about 3/8 inches deep.
Flexors.- After all parts are drilled and sanded, they will be assembled with flexable connectors made from Hair bands. cut to about 1/2 inch length. Insert a band  with a little Goop into holes and let all sit for about 3 Hours to cure. Start with Legs first. Then the Head. Finally the arms.
Control Rod- Place  rod into the hole in back as shown in the picture.. Insert a tube {item 13] to a spot as shown  2-1/2 in. from body. Glue it..
There are two arm controls- Cut them and punch a small hole  in ends. If using hard plastic tubing drill these holes witha .093 driull. Insert the tubes into the rod.
String Mount- Pass string through the back angled holes to the arm pits and tie a knot to the small eyelet and glue it. The other end is passed to the  item 14 and tied there and spot of glue is used. Same for the other  arm and tube.
Hair and Head. Glue any hair or the soft foam to head and arm pits .At the arm pits  glue the caplets only at the top end so as not to impede the pull of the strings.Paint  eyes, etc.
End Holder- slip the block of wood onto the end of the rod. Glue in.
Feet- Glue small flats of wood to lower legs.Paint.


 Manipulating the doll-
Hold the rod handle with the right hand and  pull back on the two tubes  on the rod. This should cause the arms to rise  slow or as fast as you pull on the control tubes.
At the same time you can make the doll ballerina dance  on a surface. You can put up a card- board  stage and have music play as she dances. I assure you the kids will  smile .

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    10 years ago on Introduction

    I looked at my Insstble and found that the MOV94mb0 ws posted just under the first picture.see ballerina 3-2-19-004 mov.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Love it.
    How about posting a small clip of the animation?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    sounds like an excellent idea, will do.


    13 years ago on Introduction

    thanks for  the input- this little toy was a breeze to design but i never did go the one step further  to automate it with solenoids and a cpr,  Well, next year.......