Introduction: Chocolate Jacob's Ladder Toy
When made from wood, this toy is commonly known as a Jacob's Ladder, a Click-Clack, or Tumbling Blocks.
When you're through playing with this toy, you can take it apart fairly easily to unwrap and eat the chocolate. It's a fun treat for kids, especially for holidays throughout the year: as a Valentine, an Easter basket treat, a party favor, or a stocking stuffer. Of course, I've found that many adults like to play with them, too!
This Instructable is for a single-serving size. One serving is five of the miniature Hershey's bars, so that's what I used. You can make this longer with six or seven bars, if you prefer.
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Step 1: Gather Your Materials
What You'll Need:
5 small chocolate bars or squares - I used the Hershey's Miniatures assortment. You'll need some kind of square or rectangular chocolate bars that are individually wrapped.
You can use all one type/flavor of candy bar, or you can use an assortment, as I did (2 Hershey's dark chocolate, 1 Hershey's milk chocolate, 1 Krackle, 1 Mr. Goodbar). The bars just need to be all the same size, shape, and thickness. I've heard that the "fun size" Kit-Kats also work well, but I have not used them myself.
Ribbon - I used curling ribbon because it is cheap and works well. I've also used thin strips of colored paper (such as construction paper), but that tends to wear down and break easily, so the toy doesn't last very long.
Tape - I used basic "invisible" tape (like Scotch tape). Masking tape also works. I usually cut the tape with scissors into smaller or thinner pieces as I need them.
Scissors - for cutting the ribbon and trimming tape or ribbon as needed.
Step 2: Ribbon Precision
You'll want to cut the ribbon into lengths that are about twice the length of the chocolate bars you're using (see first picture). I usually cut mine just a little longer than that, because I can always trim them as I go. For five bars, you'll need 12 ribbon pieces. (For six bars, you'd need 15.)
You want to tape ribbon to the FRONTS of two of the bars, to the BACKS of two of the bars, and there will be one last bar with no ribbon taped to it. You will tape two ribbons on one short end (one on either side of the middle), and one ribbon on the other short end (right in the middle). See the second picture for proper placement.
Taping these bits of ribbon to the candy bars may seem simple enough... but this is where you need to be fairly precise. Do NOT place the ribbon on the beveled edge, or your toy will not work properly. You want the ribbons to be kept in place by the flat surfaces on the front of the bar (not slipping off the beveled edge), so when you tape them on the BACKS of the bars, be sure they aren't too far to one side or the other. You also want the two ribbons on one end to be far enough apart that the middle (single) ribbon on the other end can slip between them fairly easily, as well.
Lastly, make sure the ribbon is taped down close to the end of the bar, and make it secure so the ribbon doesn't slip out too easily. You may also need to use a little tape to keep the wrapper closed on some or all of the bars, especially if the wrappers are a little loose.
Step 3: Folding and Stacking
Take one of the bars that has the ribbons taped to the FRONT. Lay the bar down on your surface FRONT side DOWN. Now take the ribbon ends and fold them over the back of the bar (see picture). Do NOT tape them, just hold them in place.
Take one of the bars that has the ribbons taped to the BACK. Lay the bar, BACK side DOWN, on top of the ribbons you just folded over, so that the bars are back to back with ribbons sticking out between them. There should be three ribbon ends on each side--two short, one long on one end... and two long, one short on the other. If you have two ribbons on one side and four on the other, it's turned the wrong way; just turn the bar around.
Pull the short ribbon ends tight and hold the two bars tightly together to keep them from slipping. Now you will fold the SHORT ribbon ends up over the front of the top bar and tape them in place. After taping them down, you can also clip the ends of the ribbon just past the tape, if needed, to shorten them (I usually do).
Now you will repeat this process, folding the long ends of ribbon over the bar, placing another bar on top (the bars should always be front to front or back to back), and then taping the (now short) ends of the ribbon down to the top of the bar. Then fold the long ribbons over that bar, etc. When you run out of bars with ribbons attached to them, the bar with no ribbons will be placed on top of the last folded-over ribbons. Then those ribbon ends will be folded up over the top bar, and taped in place.
Step 4: Finishing Up and How to Use the Toy
Your stack of bars should look something like the picture. All ribbon ends should be taped down, no more of them sticking out.
Now you can grasp the sides of the top candy bar, and pick up the "ladder." Tilt the bar down toward the second bar in line (again, it's like matching "front to front") until it starts the tumbling effect. Tilt it back up and watch it work again! You can go back and forth, tilting the bar down and back up over and over again to make it "tumble" (see the video). If you tilt the bar down and it still won't work, try turning it around so that you're tilting the bar down on the other "side" of the ladder and try again. It should work then.