Paper Circus Rider Toy

I thought of this little circus unicycle rider awhile back. It’s easy to make, but requires pretty good motor control to wheel around, which is great for kids. If you want to try it out, watch the one minute video to see how to make them. There’s also a template below, but I encourage you and your kids to try drawing your own figures as well – circus bear, monsters, bat man….? Have fun!

Template: Click on the image below, then print.

UPDATE: Someone noticed that the template above was better for left-handers. Whoops! Below is a right-hand version.


  1. February 25, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Another great idea! If the wheel is colored with multi colors, kids can enjoy the changes in colors while it's spinning. Thanks a lot!

  2. Patricia Ágreda Ferrán
    February 25, 2012 at 11:12 am

    It's great, Joel! I love the music, too. What's that instrument you played, Joel?

    1. February 25, 2012 at 11:58 am

      Thanks everyone! The instrument is a kalimba. I borrowed it from my kids toy box. ha.

  3. February 25, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Gorgeous!!! We have to make these... have to, have to , have to!!! Love them!!! Hope you are having a fun weekend!!!

  4. February 25, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Génial! Très simple à réaliser mais super sympa à faire avec les enfants! Merci. Awesome! Very easy to make and funny for children! Thanks (and excuse my poor english, please ^^)

  5. February 26, 2012 at 3:06 am

    What a cute idea! And to create a whole circus! Thank you. Another idea would be Zoo animals (we love the Zoo / animals). -Tara

    1. February 26, 2012 at 6:17 am

      I already made these animals which would probably work pretty well!

  6. kate
    February 26, 2012 at 3:25 am

    Geez, thanks again for the great projects that you so generously share! I am an elementary school librarian & we often make your projects in library class. There is always a connection!

    1. February 26, 2012 at 6:20 am

      That's great! Glad you're making use of the projects! Feel free to post any photos of the library crafts on the facebook page if you'd like!

  7. February 26, 2012 at 4:38 am

    how fun! Thanks for sharing the idea :) May I borrow one of your photos to link back to this post on the Dutch language inspiration blog 'deze is ook leuk'? kind regards, Dymphie

    1. February 26, 2012 at 6:20 am

      Yes, of course. Go ahead! Thanks!

  8. Pete
    February 26, 2012 at 4:55 am

    Joel, these are some next level, paper clip toys. Love them! We're still rocking on the paper clip standup toys you did a while back. We've adapted them into hooks as well so that humpty can sit (and fall) on the wall of a shoebox. Will have to give these a go on the weekend. Thanks.

    1. February 26, 2012 at 6:25 am

      Thanks Pete! And that humpty dumpty toy sounds awesome! You'll have to snap an instagram of that if you get a chance!

  9. ivana
    February 26, 2012 at 6:24 am


  10. AlyB
    February 27, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    I don't know which I enjoyed more, the project or the kalimba! Great job playing a tune on that!

  11. February 27, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    [...] time your kids are bored, or you’re needing a little creative break in a busy workday, try this fun project from Joel of Made by Joel. He shows how you can turn paper, tape and a paper clip in to a fun riding toy. He’s included [...]

  12. February 28, 2012 at 7:20 am

    i am doing art outreach with my son's kindergarten class next week. we are learning all about circus art and this will be the perfect project for them to do after we study the prints! thank you!!!!

  13. February 28, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Awesome! Super cute Zoo animals. Love that. My son's first birthday was at the Houston Zoo. -Tara

  14. March 1, 2012 at 5:41 am

    [...] Stavros’ style! The craft is called a “Circus Rider” which can be found here: All you need is cardstock, tape and a paper clip! A video tutorial is provided and a free [...]

  15. March 1, 2012 at 5:54 am

    My son and I really love this! Thank you!!!

  16. March 2, 2012 at 2:41 am

    Really great idea! I love this :)

  17. March 2, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    [...] Make // A paper circus rider toy with Made by Joel [...]

  18. March 9, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    this is beyond cute! LOVE! have all the supplies and will make sure to pull this project out of my back pocket the next rainy day my 5 year old and I are stuck inside! Thank you :)

  19. ali
    March 11, 2012 at 11:15 am

    How can I put this on pinterest?

    1. March 11, 2012 at 3:00 pm

      Hi, thanks Ali. Do you have a Pinterest account? If not, you'll need to get one. (It's free.) Then when you get signed up, they tell you how to pin things. I use the little bookmarklet thing, so I just click that and it shows all of the photos on the page, then you select the one you want to pin.

  20. March 19, 2012 at 1:03 pm


  21. March 29, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Realy funny ! Thanks a lot for this great idea !

  22. April 8, 2012 at 2:16 am

    [...] Para seguir amenizando el domingo, os enseño este otro vídeo que muestra que con imaginación y creatividad se pueden hacer cosas geniales. No hace falta saber dibujar de maravilla ni ser un as en cuestiones de manualidades… y si no mirad qué cosas tan brillantes se pueden hacer con las cosas que tenemos por casa. Es un vídeo de Joel, de Made by Joel. [...]

  23. April 23, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    You make my heart happy! I'll be doing this with my daughters play group tomorrow, thanks!

  24. Jenifer
    May 1, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Love it!!

  25. June 8, 2012 at 11:01 am

    [...] (circus act & photo by Made by Joel) [...]

  26. July 29, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    [...] only is this site absolutely beautiful, it is filled with some really amazing stuff.  The paper circus rider kept us occupied for hours. We printed off the template, coloured and had our own circus show in [...]

  27. August 5, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    [...] 4. Do you know Made by Joel?? He’s awesome! He’s kinda famous for his paper city printables that are also awesome. But I LOVE this little circus guy. [...]

  28. thuy-lan
    September 13, 2012 at 7:07 am

    I love your circus toys. It will be a little present for by boys today. I just realise that the template is made for left-handed, hi hi. Thanks for your so nice website and book. Thuy-Lan (Paris)

    1. September 14, 2012 at 7:22 pm

      Ha, you're right! I'll have to create a mirror image and post it for the right-handers. Thanks! Joel

    2. September 14, 2012 at 7:58 pm

      OK, I just posted a right-hand version! (See above.) Thanks for noticing that Thuy-Lan!

  29. September 27, 2012 at 12:50 am

    Hi, I'm here for the first time and I'm totally in love with your toys! Wow! Great job! :))

    1. September 28, 2012 at 8:36 pm

      Thanks Evitaa!

  30. October 1, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Love this! ... and if you do, you might also get a kick out of the construction of a bird, explained here by my wonderful daughter: Cheerio Rufus

    1. October 3, 2012 at 10:03 am

      That's a fantastic rocking bird design! What a cool idea, and also very enthusiastically explained by your daughter. So great!

    2. December 12, 2012 at 9:41 am

      Thanks Joel. And the other day she brought home this method for making a tree from a paper bag: I love her sincerity in this one :)

  31. Christina Yap
    December 9, 2012 at 3:30 am

    Hi Joel, Really love your site. I tried making this rider and realized that I have problem with making the figurine to stand upright. I finally figured out that I can simply use a blu-tack between the figurine and the paper clip. Just want to share my experience if any of you have the same problem. :)

    1. December 12, 2012 at 9:17 am

      Great idea Christina, thanks for sharing!

  32. jean morris
    January 21, 2013 at 4:40 am

    Hello, Just this morning I came across an article which referred to Alexander Calder's circus movie. I found it on youtube and thought it would be great to try to replicate some of the puppets and animals and went to your blog for inspiration and found the unicyclist and catapult. I thought perhaps you might have a look at the movie and use it as inspiration to recreate some of the characters and animals with your amazing creativity. Thank you by the way for your blog which has really been an inspiration. Best, Jean

    1. January 21, 2013 at 8:30 pm

      Hi Jean. Yes, I'm a VERY big Calder fan! And I love his circus toys. Always very inspiring! Glad you found my site! Joel

  33. maini
    May 1, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    so gonna bookmark this!love ur art a lottt..anyway,i'm frm malaysia..greetings from this side of the globe :))

    1. May 1, 2013 at 6:23 pm

      Cool, thanks maini!

  34. riley
    October 19, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    this is a fantastic idea

  35. March 19, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    [...] Paper Circus Rider Toy from Made by Joel [...]

  36. May 8, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    I just cannot tell you enough how much I adore EVERYTHING you make! Just LOVE it all! I pinned like crazy! Wow! Thanks SO much! The kids will have so much fun with all this amazing stuff--and just in time for summer, too! Lucky us!

    1. May 9, 2014 at 8:45 am

      Wow, thanks Angelina! Too kind! Really glad you found my site. Hope your kids have fun!

  37. April 17, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    […] […]

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