Introduction: Hand Powered Wooden Propeller Toy

This is an old vintage toy that is very easy to make, it requires a few amount of tools and takes around half an hour to make. It is very simple and fun to use, make one for a child or why not for you!



  • A flat piece of wood for the propeller (about 20 cm long, 3 cm wide and 0.5 cm thick)
  • A wooden stick about 20 cm long


  • Wood files / rasps
  • Sandpaper
  • Scroll saw
  • Drill bit and drill

Or you can simply use a Knife!

Step 1:

First of all mark the center of your piece of wood and draw a circle around the center leaving some room on the edge. Then draw a line from each corner to the outermost edge of the circle. On the side of the piece of wood draw a line at an angle from the center all the way to the middle of the edge.

Step 2:

Use the lines traced in the previous step to cut out the two edges and the two angled faces at the top.

To cut the two edges I used a scroll saw and for the two angles, faces I did it with a wood rasp.

A knife, while traditional, is not the fastest, easiest, or the safest way to remove the wood. Using a wood file or a shaving tool is better. Power sanders are even faster.

Step 3:

Then, with the help of a wood file or a whittling knife give a helical twist to the propeller. Remove the wood from two opposite corners of the piece of wood.

A knife, while traditional, is not the fastest, easiest, or the safest way to remove the wood. Using a wood file or a shaving tool is better. Using a power sander is even faster.

If you are using a knife, hold the block in your left hand, and shave away the wood on the right side of the block. To make the propeller shape, remove only the wood on the top right side. The left side is needs to be untouched, and the right side is shaved down to a sharp edge.

Step 4:

Then do the same for the other side of the propeller, so the propeller blade is a thin piece of wood.

You can also round out the corners to make it look more like an airplane propeller, but I preferred to leave it square.

Step 5:

With a drill bit, drill a hole in the center of the propeller. The hole should be a little bit smaller than the wooden stick's diameter.

Then, with some sandpaper smooth out the propeller and the stick.

Step 6:

Then insert the stick into the hole, if done correctly the stick should hold without any glue.

Step 7:

To use to propeller toy hold the stick against your left palm using your right fingertips, then quickly slide your right hand forward and your left hand back, so that the propeller spins in the anticlockwise direction. The popular toy will fly away, and land a couple meters away!

Step 8:

I'm not sure if I was clear enough in explaining the steps, but I think the photos will help. Also if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask. Suggestions and corrections are appreciated. I hope you enjoyed making this Wooden propeller Toy!

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