Elephant Merry-Go-Round

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Project by ToyMakingDad posted 07-03-2015 03:13 PM 765 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This a toy for a one year old boy but my understanding is that his three year old sister is the one who shows him how to make it work…even when he is not around!

It is a mom a dad and two baby elephants. As you spin the platform the strings wind around the pole and when you release it, the elephants spins around as it unwinds and re-winds. It will go for a little over a minute.

The basics of the merry go round are based on the Carousel plans in John R. Nelson Jr’s “American Folk Toys”
I re-sized the elephants from the plans and used a 3/8’ dowel for the center support. All other wood is recycled pine from various sources.

This is the third version of this toy that I have made. I got a little smarter with this one and pegged the elephants to the disk and glued wood to wood and not wood to acrylic finish. What can I say, live and learn :)

Easy toy to make. Really pleasing motion and easy for kids to play with.

Here is a video of the toy in action:

-- Toy Making Dad, Northern Virginia,

3 comments so far

View Hawaiilad's profile


2885 posts in 2444 days

#1 posted 07-03-2015 07:41 PM

The wife the other day ask me to cut some Elephants and Dolphins for her to paint and give to one of our Grandkids she is going to visit later this month….Now I know what to make here. One question, how did you tie off the string on the bottom?


-- Larry in Hawaii,

View ToyMakingDad's profile


58 posts in 1435 days

#2 posted 07-03-2015 08:58 PM

Hey Larry,

The strings are nylon and go all the way through the disk the elephants stand on. I used a really small bit, 1/16 or 3/32ish, for the string holes and then in the bottom of the disk that the elephants are sitting on I used a 1/4 Forstner bit to make a counter sink hole about 1/3 of the way into the disk. Then you tie a knot and hit it with a quick flame to melt the knot together and trim off the excess. This way the knot sits inside the countersunk hole and you can’t see it and more importantly, it doesn’t brush up against the bottom disk.

I did the same for the top but with a bigger Forstner bit because I used 3/8 “buttons” to hide the knots. Here is how the top looked on a different one before I put the strings in and the buttons to hide it:

I wrote up more details of the build here:

Let me know how yours comes out!


-- Toy Making Dad, Northern Virginia,

View Mean_Dean's profile


4948 posts in 2571 days

#3 posted 07-03-2015 11:56 PM

It’s great of you to make toys for the little rugrats!

I’d much rather see them playing with these, then all this electronic felgercarb!

-- Dean

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