How to Build a Perry the Platypus Inaction Figure





Perry the Platypus Inaction Figure is a wooden toy that is modelled after Perry (Disney cartoon characters - Phineas and Ferb's pet platypus).

In the episode Toy to the World, Phineas and Ferb design a toy "so stupidly simple, so basically bland, so idiotically uncomplicated, that it can do absolutely anything."

For my son's 6th birthday party we all made Inaction Figures, it was a lot of fun!!

Here's a step by step guide to make your own Perry. Go on and make a Perry the Platypus Inaction Figure. It does nothing!

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Step 1: Materials and Tools

You will need...

Wood (65mm x 45mm) for Perry's body - a length of 120mm
Wood (90mm x 10mm) for Perry's legs, bill and tail - a length of 250mm should be heaps
2 x Wooden plugs (19mm) for Perry's eyes
6 x Wood Screws (8ga x 25mm) for legs and attaching bill
Paint Brush & Paint - Green/Blue (for body), Orange/Brown (Tail), Yellow Brown (for legs, bill, tail detail) and White (for eyes) - a marker pen can be used for the pupils)
Wood Glue
for attaching eyes and tail
Mitre Saw for cutting body to length
Router - you could use a chisel & saw instead
Jigsaw for cutting out legs, bill and tail
Drill for screw guide holes for legs and beak
Tape Measure & Pencil
Screw Driver

Note on paint: Toys really should be painted with paint approved for children's toys - I just used normal test pots though, as this is the cheaper option.

Step 2: Cut Body to Length

Take your 65mm x 45mm length and using your mitre saw, cut to 120mm.  This will be Perry's body.

Step 3: Cut Out Groove for Tail & Insert for Bill

Using your router with a 10mm bit, cut a groove 10mm deep, 10mm below the top of the body. If you don't have a router, you can use a saw and a 10mm chisel.

You can cut out the insert for attaching the bill, with either a saw or by using a router (10mm deep by 20mm wide). The 'real' inaction figure doesn't have this insert, but I added this to aid attaching the bill with screws (easier for the children to assemble).

Step 4: Cut Out Tail, Bill, Bill Support & Legs

Draw Perry's tail on the 90mm x 10mm length of wood. The tail length is 80mm (10mm fits into the groove in Perry's body). The tail fans out slightly to around 80mm. Cut out the tail with the jigsaw.

Again on the 90mm x 10mm length of wood, draw Perry's bill. The bill is 75mm long, 55mm protrudes as 20mm fits in the insert for screwing onto the body - note curved front corners. Cut out the bill with the jigsaw.

Draw Perry's legs. The legs are around 35mm high, foot base 25mm, with the width of the leg around 20mm. Cut them out.

The children didn't have a bill support but for posterity's sake, I added one here. The bill support is around 20mm x 20mm with a slight concave curve and two straight edges at 90 degrees. I'll show you how to attach this in step 7.

Step 5: Sand Perry's Pieces

Taking your sandpaper, sand off the rough & sharp edges ready for painting.

Step 6: Drill Guide Holes for Legs & Bill

With a small bit (suitable for your screws), drill the leg guide holes (25mm from the base of the foot). Drill two guide holes for the bill screws (around 10mm in from its base). You can counter sink the holes using a larger bit in reverse (this helps the screws sit flush with the wood's surface).

I also marked where the legs will be screwed into the body, 15mm high from the bottom, 35mm in from the front, 20-25mm in from the back.

Step 7: Attach Bill Support to Bill

Screw Perry's bill on, then glue on his bill support (centred, flush with his face). Wipe away any excess wood glue. After the glue has set, remove the bill, ready for painting.

Step 8: Paint Perry's Pieces

Paint Perry's parts and leave them to dry. Green/Blue (his body), Orange/Brown (his tail), Yellow Brown (his legs, bill & tail detail) and White (for his eyes).

Since I have attached the bill using an insert in the body, you may want to paint that part of the bill, body coloured (the first 20mm in from the base of the bill - I liked the new look so kept it bill coloured). You can use a marker pen for colouring the pupils.  The tail pattern/texture can be painted on with the bill/feet colour.

Step 9: Assemble Perry

So this is where the kids got to have fun putting their inaction figures together. They screwed on the bill, glued and slotted the tail, screwed on the feet and glued on the eyes. A little tip here would be to have them name their Perry (with a marker pen), as they look very much alike!

Step 10: Let the Inactivity Begin!

I hope this instructable has inspired you to a little inactivity of your own.



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    157 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    how long does it take you to prep/cut all the body parts for one platypus? I was thinking about constructing these for a kids party but I'm not sure how involved it's going to be?

    Someone should sell pre-cut kits!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    It really doesn't take too much time as long as you have the right tools. Having a jigsaw or rotary tool certainly helps with the beak, tail and legs. Again, having a router speeds things up with the tail slot, but you can spend more time with a saw and chisel. All up I made nine kits in an evening (including painting etc). It really doesn't take too long, following step by step. It certainly was a fun activity with the kids putting them together. All the best.


    5 years ago

    You should really consider selling these ! Really love them!!!

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Oh my goodness- I never realized how soft my carpets are!, but more importantly, I'm gonna pull a Doctor Doofenshmirtz, so to save money on paint I will grow 3 genetically engineered trees (one in each color needed) so they will already be colored! But then of course the eyes will be either blue or brown.....ohh well, that is a bridge I'll cross when I get there!

    (You're going to have to watch a few episodes to get the first and last parts!)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Haha, thats so awesome! your creation inspired me to build a mini version of it like a key chain. You got to love Perry ha :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Just found this. Our whole family loves P&F, and my sister would love this for Christmas... Might have to make a few for the whole family!! :)

    4 replies

    Yep.. trying to find the best way/time to get this done before christmas with minimal tools- will work on it...
    And at the last resort- learn how to use the laser cutter at school and custom cut it :)


    oh, and noticed something weird in this... The inaction figures feet, both here and in the show, are yellow colored, like the tail. But Perry himself, has 2 "teal' feet and two tangerine feet. Odd... perry the platypus

    Yes very odd :) someone else noticed this in previous comments. So do you make the inaction figure like the inaction figure or do you make it a little more like Perry, tough decision!