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Climbing Monkey

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




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


  • Venetian blind cord
  • Leaf canopy template
  • Monkey template
  • 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. Step 1

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

  2. Step 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. Step 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. Step 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. Step 5

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

  6. Step 6

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

  7. Step 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. Step 8

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

The Martha Stewart Show, February 2010



Reviews (5)

  • josie 3 Sep, 2012

    Love the climbing monkey and made a more kid-friendly version sans power tools:

  • blcoomes 6 Aug, 2012

    I have to hand it to the writers..."teaches valuable life skills, such as milking a cow"...hilarious! Made my day :)

  • MSLO_Sara 2 Mar, 2010

    Wood should be 3/4-inch thick.

  • MSLO_Sara 2 Mar, 2010

    Wood should be 3/4-inch thick.

  • GPizzle 28 Feb, 2010

    Obviously, the wood you start with is going to be approximately 8 1/2" by 12". How about the thickness? Is 1/2" sufficient, or should it be 3/4", or even 1"? Will it matter for the finished product?