Create a Mechanical Bird



Mechanical Bird

Spring is here – along with that brings rain showers, and alas, bored children stuck indoors again.  Creating this bird that flaps its wings with the turn of a handle can be a fun way to spend a rainy day together.  The trick is in the bent wire piece, called a crankshaft, which transfers the rotation into the bird flapping up-and-down movement.

Materials Needed:
  • Ruler
  • Pen
  • Shoe box
  • Craft Knife
  • Armature wire (ours is 1/8-inch diameter) or lead-free solder wire
  • Tiny rubber bands
  • Wire snips
  1. Measure and mark two 1- by 2-inch rectangles 3 inches apart in the middle of the box’s bottom. Cut them out with the craft knife (adults only). On the box’s ends, draw diagonal lines from corner to corner to find the center point; make a hole with the pen point.
  2. Straighten a two-foot length of wire. Bend two 1-inch square tabs, 3 inches apart, into the middle section. Wrap the rubber bands onto the end of the crankshaft, then slide them in place.
  3. Slide one end of the shaft through a side hole as far as you can. Trim the other end so that it just fits through the opposite hole, as shown. Position the shaft so that the tabs are centered above the two holes in the box. Bend one of the wire ends 90 degrees to lie flat against the outside of the box. Trim the end, leaving an inch. Bend the other end into a handle, as shown below.
  4. With the box on its side, insert a pipe cleaner through each hole, loop it around the shaft between the rubber bands, and secure it in place with a few twists.
  5. Use the downloadable template to cut the bird and base shapes from card stock. Add any decorative details you’d like. Attach the undersides of the wings to the body with clear tape.
  6. Fold the base and glue both ends to the bird’s body. Glue the bottom of the base to the box so that it’s centered between the holes. Turn the crank to raise the pipe cleaners to their highest position. Lift each wing as high as you’d like it to flap and bring the pipe cleaner straight up to meet it. At this spot bend the pipe cleaner 90 degrees. Trim the end and tape it to the wing.  Now have fun watching the bird fly.

Step 1


Step 2


Step 3


Step 4


Step 5


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Our Content

Previous Items of Interest

%d bloggers like this: