Climbing Monkey

In pioneer days, this classic climbing monkey would have helped kids learn a valuable life skill: how to milk a cow.

Climbing Monkey

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, February 2010


Note: Strings and small parts may be hazardous; this toy is not recommended for young children.


  • Venetian blind cord

  • Lightweight card stock or heavy printer paper

  • Repositionable spray adhesive

  • Clamps

  • Worktable

  • 3/4-inch thick wood

  • Jigsaw fitted with small bit

  • Drill with 1/4-inch drill bit

  • Craft knife

  • Acrylic paint in brown, green, and dark brown or black

  • Foam brush

  • Artist's paintbrush

  • Polyurethane sealant

  • 4 finishing washers

  • 2 wooden beads


  1. Print monkey and leaf canopy templates on lightweight card stock, and adhere to wood with repositionable spray adhesive. Clamp to worktable.

  2. Use a jigsaw fitted with a small bit to cut out monkey and leaf shape.
    (Note: To cut out areas in the middle, drill a hole first. Start cutting with the jigsaw at the drilled hole.)

  3. Using a 1/4-inch drill bit, drill holes as marked in monkey hands and leaf canopy. (Note: These holes should be slightly larger than the diameter of the cord, so adjust the size of the drill bit if necessary.)

  4. On dashed lines, carefully cut away the paper with a craft knife, leaving the monkey's face, belly, and tip of tail covered. Paint monkey's body brown with a foam brush.

  5. Remove remaining paper. Paint features on monkey with a darker brown or black paint. Paint leaf canopy green.

  6. When paint is dry, seal entire monkey and leaf canopy with polyurethane.

  7. Cut two lengths of cord to at least 4 feet (cord should be long enough so monkey has room to climb, and hang low enough to be reached, so adjust length as necessary). Tie a knot at one end of each cord. Thread the elements of the toy onto the cords in the following order: first pair of finishing washers, leaf canopy, monkey, wooden beads, second pair of finishing washers. Tie a knot at other end of each cord.

  8. Add a screw eye to the top of the leaf canopy, as shown in the template, and hang.


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