Introduction: Folk Art Robot

My parents are amazing contemporary folk artists, so when I decided to make an Instructables robot, decades of their influence were what led to this folk art robot.


I used a bandsaw, drill press and belt sander for this project, but you can use most any saw, drill and sander; even hand powered ones. You'll also need a pair of needle nose pliers to bend his antennas and a couple paint brushes.

Step 1: Step 1: Materials

For this project you'll need:

  • A small section (at least 1 1/2 inches) of 2" x 2" wood for the head.
  • A small piece of 1" board (at least 3 1/2" x 2 3/4") for the body.
  • About 10 inches of 5/8" dowel for the arms, legs and ears.
  • About an inch of 1/4" dowel for connecting the head to the body.
  • A few inches of black wire (I used 19 gage).
  • About a foot of white string.
  • Yellow, red and silver paint.
  • Wood glue, this is optional. I didn't use any.

Step 2: Step 2: Cut Out Your Pieces

Now it's time to cut out all your robot parts:

  • Cut out the head, measure 1 1/2 inches of your 2 x 2, and cut. You now have a 1 1/2" cube for his head
  • Cut out his body from the 1" board. I used a compass to draw a semicircle, you can use a paint can or any round shape. His body is ~3 1/4" tall and ~2 3/4" wide.
  • Cut the 1/4" dowel piece about 3/4" for mounting his head.
  • Cut the 5/8" dowel in four 2" sections for his hands and feet, and then cut a couple 1/8"-1/4" pieces of the dowel for his ears.
  • Cut 2 pieces of the black wire about 2 inches long.

Step 3: Step 3: Drill

Drill the following holes as shown in the picture:

  • A 1/4" hole about 1/2" deep in both the bottom center of the head and the top of the body (at the top center of the curved side, where his neck is).
  • 1/8" holes the the very top of the arms and legs as shown in the picture.
  • 1/8" holes in the front of his body for attaching his arms and legs. See the picture for location, they don't need to be exact, just make sure the arm holes are high enough that his arms will dangle a bit.
  • 1/32" holes in both the center of the ears and the middle of each side of his head. This is for the wire antennas.

Step 4: Step 4: Build His Ears

Build his ears by pushing your 2" sections of wire though the ear pieces, and then curl one end of the wire with a pair of needle nose pliers. Grap the very end of the wire and roll.

Step 5: Step 5: Base Paint

Now paint his head, arms, legs and body yellow. Go ahead and insert the 1/4" dowel into his head, it makes it easier to hold while painting. Next paint his ears red.

Step 6: Step 6: Finish Painting

Now it's time to paint the details, first paint the black areas as shown. Remember it doesn't need to be perfect, imperfection adds character! After the black dries add the silver dots to his chest and paint the bottom of his feet. Then finish his eyes with red dots and then yellow pupils (after the red dries). I use the back of the paint brush for the circles, just dip it in the paint and dab the circle.

Step 7: Step 7: Attach the Ears

Insert the antenna wires into the holes on the side of his head, you probably painted over the holes, so you'll need to find them. I used the needle nose pliers to help push the wire into the holes. If they are loose, add a little wood glue to the back of the ears.

Step 8: Step 8: String Him Up

Now to finish him up, all we need to do is tie on his arms and legs. First, lets do the legs. The legs are attached with one piece of string, and the string starts from behind his body through the left hip hole on the body though a leg, back into the same hip hole on his body, then over to the back right hip hole of the body, though to the front, though the leg, and back though the right hole. Tie the loose ends and the legs are done. Each arm is strung independently, just go through the shoulder hole, though the hole in the arm and tie.

Step 9: Step 9: Enjoy

He's all done!



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