Introduction: Cardboard 'Jacob's Ladder' - Tumbling Gorillas

One may have heard of a Jacob's Ladder, and thought; I want one!!! Well not having access to enough materials to go all the way to heaven, I made the toy! It's an extremely fun and intriguing toy, the 'gorillas' tumble and fall to the bottom when you tilt the top 'gorilla', following and flipping down each other.

Easy to make and quite fun, I'm sure you'll like it, and after showing your friends and work mates, you'll have people queuing for one!

Please don't forget to comment and / or rate!

The drawings on my Jacob's Ladder are not original, but impulse94 thought it would be a good idea to post them just in case others are interested in doing likewise.

Another Note:
You tube video coming hopefully soon thanks to recommendation from canida, but Windows Movie Maker doesn't seem to like my current video format...

Step 1: The Materials

For making something, it's quite hard if you don't have anything to make it with, so, for this Instructable you will be needing:


Cardboard, the layered or corrugated type is fine.
Thin (3-5mm) wide ribbon
Glue, preferably strong and will hold after a fair bit of playing around with.

Tools / Equipment:


Step 2: The Cardboard Pieces

The Jacob's ladder is made up of 12 cardboard rectangles, measuring 7cm by 8cm each. My cardboard was blank so I can add a design at a later date, about 2mm thick and came from a box which once had a bench rest in it.
Get your ruler and pen, and mark 7cm wide and 8cm long, or 2.8 inches by 3.2 inches, and cut it out, repeat 12 times.

If you want to decorate them then this is this time, if you do it later then it's just impractical with the glue or ribbon in the way.

Next is to lay the twelve out in two columns, length ways. Mark the left side so you can tell which side is the top and bottom, and the right side the same but differently, so you can tell which ones are in the left and right column. Flip each on upside down, if you flip it outwards I find it much easier, because when when you get to flip it inwards, it's all in the same position.

Finally is to mark the undersides so when you put the ribbons on, they're all in the right place. Mark 1cm in from both of the 7cm sides, and then half way between. Run a line all the way up. In the pictures I only marked in a bit, but I recommend marking the whole way through.

Step 3: Organising and Glueing

The next steps are quite hard to explain, but visually it's fairly easy, I'll give it a crack any way.

As before, the cardboard is layed out with the three marks on top, left side the "circle" side, and the right side as the "triangle" column. I will talk like this because that's how I have marked each column, and if you do the same you won't get confused if you swap which side.

Glue the top middle mark on column 'circle' half way down in a single, straight line and press down your 16cm long ribbon and leave the long end aiming upwards. Fold it under and with the last bit of tail over the second from the top in the same column, make sure it is straight (not twisted) along the cardboard, pull it down firm and glue it.
That's the first one!

Glue the next ribbon (pink in picture 2) in column 'circle' in the same simple method, and then the brown ribbon with the same two cardboard squares. As you may have noticed, in column 'circle', the 6 panels are glued together in 3 sets, and you have just completed the first one. Set it to one side and do the next lot in that column, then finally the bottom one in the same manner.

Column 'triangle' is slightly different, the top and bottom panel are not glued to anything, but the middle four are. Follow the color co-ordinated pictures again to see where to glue.

Step 4: Glueing Together

Lastly is to glue the notorious column 'circle' and column 'triangle' together.

Now you should have the two columns layed out as before, now get your top 'set' in column 'triangle', and the top blank card of column 'circle', smother the top side of the blank card with glue, and flip both inwards together, with the top card of the set of two, joined with the blank card. Then get the top set of column 'circle' and the bottom card of the set you just glued, lather with glue and join, repeat all the way to the bottom.

Step 5: Using & Free PDF Download

Believe it or not, some are mystified as to how to use it.

Grab the top card (either end) along the sides, half way. Tilt to one side so it's made a full 180 degree turn from where you were holding it, if nothing happens, start again but tilt the other way. Watch the video if any confusion follows.

Another thing, for free-to-use users there's a pdf to make making easier offline.

Gorilla Glue Cardboard Contest

Participated in the
Gorilla Glue Cardboard Contest