Monday, December 28

Cup and ball catcher toy DIY

Cup and ball catcher toys are ubiquitous. When we were little kids, a wooden cup and ball catcher that my dad bought for my sister and me was a favourite. The toy with its bright green and red paint, and a wooden ball on a string was a great entertainer in summers.

Known by different names, the toy is traditional and prevalent in different cultures of the world. It is called boliche in Spain and balero in most of Latin America. In France it is known by the name bilboquet. If you get a chance, hop into the nearest handicraft store and ask for it, or check online for the various ethnic versions of this toy.

A great option would be to make it yourself at home. You need disposable paper or plastic glasses to begin with. The toy makes for a good pastime with kids. It is easy to teach children how to make with a little adult supervision.

If you need to host a kids' party at home, nothing like this toy that the kids can play with and take home. It is a great crafting project and will not burn your pocket.

Here we go, with the materials we need for the simple DIY toy. This tutorial has two versions.

What you need and can keep handy:

-- a large red plastic cup used for serving, washed and dried thoroughly
-- a white paper cup
-- a white twine roll or jute twine roll
-- tapestry needle
-- a pair of scissors
-- a craft knife
-- ping pong balls or styrofoam/thermocol balls (I used a styrofoam pumpkin)
-- large beads, buttons and large hole sequins
-- a cylindrical bottle or thick toilet paper roll or tube
-- craft glue and super glue - keep them handy
-- Optional are embellishing items - in this case, some decorative violet tape and Washi tapes
-- you may keep some sanding paper if needed

For the Red Plastic Cup Ball Catcher,

Use your crafting knife to poke a hole on its bottom.

I made use of the recycle symbol that came embossed with the cup. Using its shape to guide, I carved out a triangle hole along its inner edges.

String a large button using the white twine, and the tapestry needle through this hole. The button must fit in the cup's base inside.

Here, in this picture above, the button is inside the cup, while I have made a knot with the twine outside of the cup. You will now need to string another large bead on the outer bottom of the cup.

Note that the size of the twine should be large enough to toss the ball a little in the air. A way to do it would be to measure the string upto your elbow twice. And adjust the length accordingly. Please note, that the twine's cut end disintegrates through the inserting and stringing, so you will need to cut to level it.

Use the tapestry needle to string through the thermocol ball or round object, or the pingpong ball, and knot it. Your cup and ball catcher toy is ready.

With the white cup that is smaller in size, I used an old medicine bottle to make the handle. Another option is to use the base of a tissue roll, or an incense sticks tube. Anything that you can hold easy will work. Look around your home.

Use a pen or the tapestry needle to poke a hole in the center of the paper cup's bottom. Use a narrow pen refill or bamboo chopstick to widen this hole.

String a bead into the inside of the cup. And after measuring the twine according to your need and comfort, cut it.

Use the string and work with the tapestry needle to fasten a large button on the outside of this base, in such a way that it firmly holds against the cup. You can leave the larger part of the string.

Pour crafting glue under the button, over it, and enough to cover this base.

Embellish the medicine tube or any other tube you have and glue it on to the base. Some glue may spill out, do not fret. Let this dry for an hour or two. You can use a table fan or cool setting on the hair dryer if you want a quicker result. If you live in a windy place, make use of it and place it at the window.

Once it is dry, string the other end of the twine to a large bead or ping pong ball.

Your cup and ball catcher toy is ready. A cool way to prevent trashing of disposable cups. And an even less expensive way to keep kids engaged.

Go ahead. Look around the trash around home, and use the objects to invent your own version of cup and ball toys. Play away.

Pictures Courtesy: Radhika M B

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