Introduction: Climbing Gorilla Necklace

About: I'm all about Making and Mental Health. Reach out if you need a chat .

More than five years ago, I recreated a traditional wooden toy in cardboard.

Hanging in my hallway, that toy, a climbing gorilla, has been surprisingly resilient, seeing regular use since then.

Since I got my laser cutter, I've been intending to make a new gorilla, but I didn't just want to make exactly the same thing over again.

Then it struck me - it would make a cool piece of jewellery!

Step 1: What You'll Need

I've attached the SVG & DXF files for those of you able to access a laser cutter yourselves.

For those working by hand, I have also attached a PDF file with the outlines on it.

I cut the gorilla from 3mm laser ply, and strung it on 1.3m (about 4 feet) of thin (1mm) black leather thong.

It's fixed together with normal PVA wood glue.

However you cut the gorilla out, be very careful not to lose the fingertips of the middle layer!

Step 2: Construction

The gorilla is built up in layers.

  • Start with the plain torso + arms, and add a generous layer of glue.
  • Lay the cut-off, fingerless torso on top, lining up the edge.
  • Balance the finger-tips in place.
  • Add the legs.
  • Press the layers firmly in place.
  • Add another layer of glue.
  • Add the torso with extra details (thumbs and belly button), press it firmly in place and clamp until the glue is dried.

It is especially important to use plenty of glue on the finger tips, and clamp them firmly, because they take all the load of the gorilla's climbing action.

  • Glue the face onto the front of the gorilla, and glue the small wheel-shapes together in two pairs.

Step 3: Threading

Thread the leather thong down through the top of the hands, through one of the wooden beads you have made, and tie a simple stopper-knot to keep the bead* in place.

If the thong is too smooth to hold a decent knot, or you don't trust your knot-tying skills, you might want to add a drop of super glue to the knot.

*You don't have to use the cut bead, you can always use any bead you prefer.

Step 4: Wearing and Playing

Obviously, the gorilla is worn around your neck - it should hang somewhere around belt-buckle/navel height.

To make it climb, just tug on each bead in turn, and the the gorilla will shuffle its way upwards towards your chin.

Slide back down, and repeat until somebody else asks for a turn.

Step 5: The Spammy Bit

So, laser cutters are expensive, and most people don't have one.

That doesn't mean you can't make your own Climbing Gorilla, of course, but maybe you'd rather just buy one?

Easy - just pop over to my Etsy store, and in a few clicks you can have a Climbing Gorilla necklace all your own...

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