Animal acrobatics: build your own wooden bat, bird or butterfly

A black-painted wooden bat is hanging in the air with the help of strings.
Bats aren’t your thing? Then build yourself a butterfly or bird instead

  • Difficulty
    easy
  • Cost
    < 50 £
  • Duration
    1-3 h

Introduction

Looking to change up your children’s rooms? Then build your own wooden bat, bird or butterfly and hang them up. You can make your wooden animal any colour you want. Building your own wooden animal is even more fun with friends or family. You can easily print out any of the three patterns on a single sheet of A4 paper. Which animal are you going to pick?

You need
Utilities
  • pencil
  • needle
  • safety glasses
  • tape measure
  • Fretsaw
Materials
  • 3 plywood boards, approximately 30 x 21 cm (LxW)
  • Small wooden slat: (280 x 10 x 10 mm) (LxWxH)
  • A4 Paper
  • Rope/string (3500 mm)
  • Large wooden beads
  • Optional: paint
  • Optional: googly eyes
L: Length, W: Width, H: Height, D: Diameter

Let's go - step by step

Step 1 10

Preparing materials and printing out the pattern for the wooden animal

Tools and materials are lying on a light wooden floor.
Sort your tools and organise the materials before starting.

You need: A4 Paper

To make your own flying wooden animal, simply print out one of our patterns. Follow these step-by-step instructions to build your own model bat. Of course, you can always choose one of the other patterns.

Download animal pattern here

 

Step 2 10

Cutting out the pattern and tracing the contours.

A pattern is being traced onto a piece of wood with a pencil.
Use a pencil to trace the pattern.

You need: pencil, Plywood board

Once you have decided on a wooden animal and have printed out the pattern, all the pieces have to be neatly cut out. Lay out all three cut-outs on a plywood board and trace the contours.

Step 3 10

Sawing the large and small pieces of the wooden animal

A jigsaw is being used to cut along a line on a thin wooden board.
Using a jigsaw, make rough cut outs of the individual pieces.
Using a fretsaw, it’s time to take care of the smaller pieces.
Using a fretsaw, it’s time to take care of the smaller pieces.

You need: Jigsaws, Fretsaw, safety glasses, work gloves

Saw off the large pieces from the plywood, so that only the fine cuts are left to be sawed with the precision saw. Wear protective clothing while doing so.

Now, it’s time to cut out the small pieces of the wooden animal. A jigsaw is too big for these sorts of small edges. Instead, use a fretsaw. Be careful not to saw into the table.

Step 4 10

Lightly sanding the individual pieces of your wooden animal

The edges of a wooden animal are being sanded with sanding paper.
Are you going to be painting your wooden animal? Then make sure to sand the surfaces as well.

You need: Hand sanding paper, sanding roller, sanding sponge, etc., face mask

Sand the different pieces with fine-grain sanding paper, making sure to do so in long, fluid movements. Are you going to be painting your wooden animal? Then don’t just sand the edges, but also lightly sand the surfaces. Throw out whatever debris is produced by sanding.

Step 5 10

Drilling the holes

A hole is being drilled with a cordless drill in two wooden wings that are on top of each other.
Drill both wings simultaneously. That way you save time and prevent inaccuracies.

You need: Cordless Drill, Wood drill bit 5mm

It’s now time to drill holes so that the various pieces can be secured to each other with string. Make sure to make them big enough. Place the two wings on top of one another and then place the pattern with the holes on top of them. That way you guarantee that the holes will be in the same place and fit properly. Drill carefully through the paper.

Now, place one of the wings on approximately the middle of the body and drill a hole in the body through the hole in the wing. Then, place a string through the holes to connect the pieces.

Finally, drill a hole in the middle of the underside of the body. This hole will be used to attach a string for the wooden animal’s pulling device later.

Step 6 10

Painting the individual parts and connecting them

String is being attached to the individual pieces of the flying toy.
You’ll need to be patient and careful when threading the string.

You need: needle, Rope/string (3500 mm), Optional: paintbrush, paint, googly eyes

Would you like to give your bat (or your bird or butterfly) a cool colour? Well, then it’s time get painting. You can also decorate your wooden animal with quirky things like googly eyes.

Now it’s time to join the different pieces together. Use a needle to thread the string easily through the wooden pieces. Place all the different pieces on top of each other so that you can work quickly and comfortably. You can start with either the bat’s frontside or the backside. Now, run the string through the next hole. Thread the string through all the holes, following the instructions as you go along. Cut the end of the string and tie a knot.

Step 7 10

Attaching the ‘large wooden bead’ pulling device

A wooden ball is being attached to the end of a string.
It’s time to attach the string to the body of the wooden animal. This will get it moving.

You need: needle, Rope/string (3500 mm)

Thread the string through the bottom hole of the body. It should be around 30 cm long. Tie a knot on the body and hang a large wooden bead on the end of the string.

Step 8 10

Attaching the hanging device

Holes are being drilled into a wooden slat with a cordless drill.
First, drill three holes in the wooden slat.
A woman is threading a string through a hole in the wooden slat.
Now, thread the string.
A woman is threading a string through a hole in the wooden slat.
Now, thread the string.
A woman is tying a knot at the end of a string.
It is important to tie a tight knot so that it holds.
A woman is threading a string through a hole on the outer edge of the wooden slat.
Now, thread the string through the outer holes.

You need: Cordless Drill, Wood drill bit 5mm, safety glasses, needle, Rope/string (3500 mm), Wooden slat (280 x 10 x 10 mm)

Drill three holes in the wooden slat according to the instructions. Make sure to wear protective googles while drilling. Thread a string through the middle hole. This thread will be used to hang the bat from the ceiling. Now, thread a string through the outermost holes and tie the ends together. This creates two loops, to which the wings can be hung. Do you like having things hang from the ceiling? Are plants more of your thing? Then why not try one of our hanging flowerpots?

Step 9 10

Balancing the wings with ‘wing notches’

One hand is holding the back of the wooden animal.
It is important to balance the wings properly so that the wooden animal hangs straight.
Two hands are being used to attach a string to one of the wings.
With the help of a small notch, the string rests perfectly in the wooden wing.

Now, slide the wings through the loops and adjust the bat so that it hangs in a stable position. Mark where the string touches the wings. Use the precision saw to cut a small notch in the wing so that the string can hang there.

Step 10 10

Hanging your wooden animal

A black-painted wooden bat is hanging in the air with the help of strings.
Your new wooden bat is ready to fly around your room for the first time.

Glue a pair of googly eyes to your bat and now it’s ready to fly. We hope you have lots of fun building your very own wooden animal! Is there still room on your ceiling?
Then for your next project, you can build a floating bed or a swinging DIY nightstand for your bedroom.