Climbing Gorilla Necklace




About: Find me on Reddit, Tumblr and Twitter as @KitemanX. Buy my projects at

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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    18 Discussions


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Dang, two hours fly by when you're inspired.

    The files are drawn, I'll be cutting them over the weekend - guess what Instructable #199 is going to be?

    Marc - FRKiteman

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Oh really? I can't wait to see the result! I'll be here to admire your work =D


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I have entered a couple of contests - some votes would be appreciated...


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    i'll follow you but please alert me when you post your 200th 'ible!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Voted!! I had one of these on my wall when I was a kid. I loved the thing then. What a great idea to turn it into a necklace.

    1 reply

    4 years ago on Introduction

    When I read Climbing gorilla the initial thought was that it has some gears between legs and arms and they actually move in some sort of climbing manner. Would add a little bit of novelty!

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    The friction action is a traditional mechanism, though, pre-dating (I think) the Victorian era.


    Reply 4 years ago

    I didn't intend to sound like gear links were novel, but rather the take on this particular product would add that extra something. Although someone must've already done that as well.