How to Make Juggling Devil Sticks
Devil sticks, also known as juggling sticks, are a great toy to help any group with hand eye coordination and a little bit of indoor exercise. They are super easy to make for even children as young as five or six to make, economical and can be used over and over again. They can be used at home, in a physical education program, an after school program, or just in the class room on rainy days.
While the history of the juggling sticks is a bit murky, they have been around in one way or another, for a very long time. You might see people in the park or on a street corner doing tricks and flips with them that might look super hard, but can be mastered with a little bit of practice by just about anybody. But first, you need the sticks.
What you need material wise:
- One half inch dowel about the length of your forearm. When I am making these with a group I usually just cut them about sixteen to eighteen inches long.
- Two smaller sticks to pass the big stick back and forth with. I usually by a package of twelve inch dowels, 3/8 inch or ¼ inch.
- Duct tape, electrical tape, or grip tape (like for a hockey stick). You can also wrap your sticks in leather strips, but this is more difficult and more costly. Keep it cheap for your first set. Duct tape has the added benefit of coming in a wide variety of patterns and colors which makes them even cooler.
- Tacky-craft glue.
- One-Twenty inches of 2 ½ to 3 inch strips of polar fleece material, felt or some other material that can be easily cut and won’t fray for each end (240 inches total). Polar fleece works great, but use what you have.
- Scissors that are capable of cutting cloth.
- Two marbles per set and a hot glue gun to put them into the ends. This last bit is optional and will probably have to be done by an adult.
- When your sticks are cut to size you need to wrap them in duct tape, very tightly. Start at one end at an angle and wrap the big stick first, kind of like the stripes spiraling down a candy cane. If you are careful, it is fun to put two different colors on so that the spiral is really noticeable and will look cool when juggled. Two different colors of electrical tape work great for this. If you use duct tape, tear the tape in half on the roll to make it easier to spiral down. Try to get it as smooth as possible, and it is okay to tear it off and start again if two many bumps and ridges occur. It make take a little practice for little hands, but is worth it!
- Next wrap the little sticks the same way. When they are wrapped, make a little square of tape and fold it over each end to protect them. Wrap one piece of tape around the end of the stick to hold that square piece down and neaten it all up. Make sure it is all covered as the tape really helps the juggling and helps protect the sticks from getting damaged.
- Now its time to make the ‘flower’ ends, which add a weight to the sticks and make the juggling and tricks possible. Cut the strips on one side about half way in along the entire length.
- Put a liberal amount of tacky glue all the way around the stick and start wrapping the fabric on. You will need to glue every inch of fabric on very securely, but you don’t need to wrap it tight as you glue. Just make sure it is even, one layer directly onto of another. Do both ends. Allow at least several hours for drying. I usually finish them the next day, just to make sure they are dry and secure.
- Using either electrical tape or the half strips of duct tape, you will now wrap the bottom of the flowers to the sticks. Start out straight and wrap very tightly. Start to angle down and squish it up until the sticks are reached and then wrap two times tightly around the sticks.
- If a little extra weight is wanted on the ends you can add more fabric before the final taping or add a marble into each end at the center of the flower. Using the glue gun, push to the wood end at the center of the flower. Add a generous amount of glue and then push the marble in till it touches the wood end. Push the fabric onto the hot glue and marble to make it super secure. You don’t want it flying out mid juggle!
They are now ready to use!
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