Flip Toys


There are different materials you can use to make a flip toy. Here are the basic types of materials

  • two sticks (paint stirrers, chop sticks, pencils)
  • rubber band
  • string
  • separator (eraser, foam block)
  • hole punch
  • scissors
  • tape
  • cardboard

How to Place a Fulcrum

Awad and Luis begin by connecting the two sticks and separator (in this case, an eraser).

  1. Place the eraser between the sticks, close to one end (the bottom).
  2. Hold the sticks and eraser together by a rubber band.

Make a Shape

Awad and Luis make a shape that will rotate as the ends of the sticks are forced apart.

  1. Cut a shape from cardboard such as a snowman, a rectangle, or an oval.
  2. Make the shape shorter than the distance from the end of the sticks to the separator. Why?
  3. Place two holes about 1 cm apart near one end of the figure.

String the Shape

Here is how string the shape.

  1. Place the shape upside down between the open ends of the sticks.
  2. Cut two strings about 15 cm long.
  3. Run a string through each of the holes of the figure.
  4. Attach one end of the strings near the end of one of the sticks, about 1 cm apart.
  5. Squeeze the other ends of the sticks together so the ends with the shape are separated.
  6. Attach the other ends of the strings in similar places on the second stick.
  7. Make sure the strings are firmly attached to the sticks.

Examples of Flip Toys

Luis and Awad demonstrate different homemade flip toys made with

  1. paint stirrers and a cardboard shape,
  2. craft sticks and paper clips,
  3. a figure connected to the string at two places,
  4. chop sticks and a round figure that spins.

This is how the flip toy works.

  1. The flip toy is constructed in the “up position”: the strings are straight across and the flip toy is above the ends of the sticks.
  2. When the flip toy swings to its down position, the strings cross on both sides of the shape.
  3. When you squeeze the sticks together it forces the other ends apart.
  4. When the stick ends are forced apart, they pull the strings straight.
  5. When the strings are straight across, the shape is forced to the “up position.”