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Jumping Jack

How to Make Your Jumping Jack

A Jumping Jack is an old toy that has been a part of many cultures throughout the world since the seventeenth century (a very long time ago!). Traditionally these puppets were characters from the Italian dell’arte which was a genre of improvisational theatre from the Renaissance and Baroque period in Italy. We have played with the name of the toy and invented our own Jumping character – A Jumping Jack!


Click on the image below to access a downloadable version of Jack and print onto A4 card or stiff paper.

What you need:

  • Sharp scissors
  • Heavy thread or string
  • A large needle
  • Small brass paper fasteners

Step 1) Cut out all of Jack’s body parts (his head and body is one piece!)  as neatly as you can.

Step 2) Pierce holes using your needle through all of the crosses at the tops of Jack’s arms and legs and one at the top for his hanging string: You might need to wiggle the needle a little to create a bigger hole for the string to pass through.

Step 3) Look at the letters in order to match up each dot and push your paper fastener through to join Jack’s body together! (Again you might want to use your needle first to make a hole). Use your spacer between the two parts so that there is enough room for Jack’s arms and legs to move when you are finished!

Stringing Jack:

To string Jack (this is the hardest part!) follow these steps;

Step 1) Make sure Jack’s arms are down by his side behind his body. Push a threaded needle into the hole at the top of one of Jack’s arms and tie securely and bring it across to the arm on the other side in order to do the same. This string should be taut when the arms are hanging down. Then you can cut off any excess string.

Step 2) String Jack’s legs in the same way as you have done his arms, making sure that the string is taut.

Step 3) With the arms and legs hanging straight down and the strings taut, attach a new piece of string from the centre of the string between Jack’s arms to the centre of the string between Jack’s legs, leaving a longer dangly piece of string to pull on: This will be the control string.

Step 4) Pull on the string and see Jack’s arms and legs move! When the string is let go Jack’s arms and legs should fall back down easily.

Hint: If you find that your control string doesn’t work, simply try stringing him again. It’s a difficult thing to do but after you have had some practice you should find it much easier!

Step 5) Once you are happy with your Jumping Jack attach another piece of string through the hole you made earlier at the top of his head so that you might hang him up on your wall. You might also want to add a bead or something similar to the bottom of your control string to make it easier to grasp.

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