This is inspired from a previous post The Swirly Octopus. Reckoned that if I can make a swirly octopus, a flapping bird can be done with similar mechanism built in. Takes some nifty finger work but I’m sure you’ll get it.

What you need are:

  • 2 paper cups
  • cardboard
  • toothpicks / pointy food sticks
  • 2 rubber bands
  • 3 ice cream sticks
  • sticky tape
  • scissors
  • tweezers


  • Drill holes into the ice cream sticks and cut some pieces of toothpicks as indicated in picture below.
  • You’d need to assemble them inside the cups later.

Mr Bird

  • Prepare the 2 cups, 1 for the upper body, the other for lower body. Make sure the slits at the bottom of the cups are not much wider than the width of the sticks.

Mr Bird

  • Insert the mechanism through the lower body cup first. Secure it with a toothpick/stick through the 1st hole on that end of the stick. Adhere the toothpick with sticky tape inside the cup.
  • Once that’s done, fold the bottom flaps, tape it up to prevent access.

Mr Bird

  • Pull the sticks out from their respective slits.
  • The tricky bit is to secure the rubber band ends near the rim of the ‘upper body’ cup while the other parts of the toy are still loose. Pull out the ends and secure with toothpicks/sticks. Tweezers may be useful at this point.
  • Secure the upper limbs with toothpicks/sticks as well.

Mr Bird

  • Extend the neck/head with a shorter piece of stick. I’d use a cable tie for this as this joint needs act as a stopper, preventing the mechanism from being pulled out if the ‘lower body’ gets tugged.
  • Once that’s done, pull the neck/head piece to see if the limbs go up and down. If the results are unsatisfactory, try adjusting the tension of the rubber bands (i.e. changing their length).
  • The lower cup should jiggle and when pushed, would also move the limbs and neck/head piece.

Mr Bird

  • Once you are entirely happy with how it moves, adorn the neck/head and limbs with cardboard cutouts.
  • Secure the toothpicks near the cup’s rim with sticky tape.
  • Cut small pieces of cardboard and insert them into the ends of limb’s toothpicks. This allows the limbs to be fixed in place with sticky tape while retaining their ability to ‘flap’.
  • & there you have it, a flapping CupObird. Or you can simply change it to any creature you want 🙂

Mr Bird

>> Back to DIY Toys

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please fill in the answer so that BBM knows you aint no spambot * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.