Introduction: Cardboard Arm Extension

I made this grabber with cardboard because it is easy to get and fairly light. It works fairly well at picking up empty two litter bottles. I picked up a gallon container that weighed a little more than four pounds with this version. The one drawback is that you cant lift small things, but the grabber can be made to a smaller to scale.


  • A cardboard box
  • A four foot PVC pipe
  • One plastic straw
  • A role of string
  • A hot glue gun
  • Plenty of hot glue
  • A roll of cardboard big enough for your arm to fit in
  • Knife
  • Cigar lighter
  • Scissors

Step 1: Making the Fingers

If you do not have double thick cardboard then I suggest you make some by hot glueing two regular piece of cardboard. To make the fingers we will cut out four piece of of cardboard 1" wide and 8" long. Next take the fingers and mark a line across them at a little less than half way. This line will mark how far out the fingers will stick out from the hand. Now cut out a 1/8" strip width wise out of the top layer on the line you made. You also need to cut out two more notches equally apart on the larger half of the line.

Step 2: Ataching the Straws

With your scissors cut sixteen small pieces off the plastic straw. Next put a small blob of hot glue in between two of the cracks that we cut in the last step. Then stick a piece of straw in the hot glue so that the hole is facing up and down the finger. Proceed until you have put four on each finger.

Step 3: Making the Hand

To make the hand you need to cut out two squares of cardboard about 5" in both directions. Next lay down a strip of hot glue and put one of the fingers in it. Now put another finger down with enough room for a third finger to fit in between. Once you have done the proceeding instructions to the other hand then you are ready to move on. But be sure that the two sides of the hand are exactly the same.

Step 4: Attaching the Hands With the Middle Support

For the middle support you need slice off two double thick
rectangles of cardboard 3" by 5" and glue them together. You want it to be extra strong.

To attach the hands you need to hot glue the middle support in between the hands like in the pictures above. I made mine at a 40 degree angle. Before you hot glue it you should make sure that the finger can move in between each other easily.

Step 5: The String Hole

When making the string hole you need a very sharp knife or a prodigious amount of strength because cutting through four layers of cardboard is hard. Try to make it in the middle of the back but it does not matter if you don't.

Step 6: ​Tying the Strings

Insert the strings though the big hole and all the little ones in the straws. Cut the stings at about four feet so that you can have enough to reach your hand. If the knot will not stay tied then use hot glue to hold them in place.

Step 7: Cut Your Pipe

Place the the grabbing part on the pipe to get an idea of where the hole needs to be and mark the pipe a few inches away from the grabber. Put your hand against where the pipe and measure out where your fingers are and put the mark at the ends of the fingers. Using a hack saw cut out a small wedge of the pipe on both marks for the string to go through.

Step 8: Glue the Pipe

Next take the pipe and squirt on one strip of hot glue place the grabber on the strip so that it is lined up with the pipe. to make it stronger turn the contraption upside down and put more hot glue on the crack between the pipe and the grabber. Do the same to the other side and make sure that the arm support is also parallel to the pipe.

Step 9: Strings

You can use many things to get the strings through the pipe but I used a tool made for pulling electrical wire through conduit and it work very well. Insert whatever you plan to use in the hole on the arm side and pull the end out the other hole you cut with pliers. Tie the strings on to the end of the wire and draw them back through the pipe. Once all the strings are coming out the side where your arm will be tie the ends of the strings into loops that fit on each of your fingers.

Step 10: Finished

Your arm extension is now finished. This is my first instructable so I hope you like it and go have fun with it.

Cardboard Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Cardboard Speed Challenge