My kids each have a yo-yo but they’re not able to work them yet.  So I tried to think of something that could provide a more toddler friendly yo-yo experience.  I used some Paul Smith sock material scraps and some cotton canvas to sew a ball.  Then attached a length of elastic string.  So far, the kids are loving them!

I’ve never sewn a ball before, but it was actually very easy. I used four panels. Then I left an inch at the top open to turn it inside out. I filled them with some stuffing and beans (for a little extra bouncing weight). On one end of the elastic string I tied a round wooden bead, which I hand-sewed into the ball, so the string won’t come out during enthusiastic bouncing. Then I tied one of my large vintage buttons on the other end of the string for a handle. That’s it!

You can buy supplies for this project below! (Made by Joel Shop is powered by The Saturday Market Project)

37 Responses
  1. Kate Bruning

    Fantastic – my boys are obsessed with yoyos but have a lot trickiness with them. I might have a play with it later on in the day when they are sick of having feathers sticky taped to their fingers and toes…

  2. Sarah

    You are a toy genius! I might make some of these for school-or even for me as I am not that good at yoyos and always used to find them very frustrating!

  3. modernmaam

    Good grief! These are the luckiest, happiest kids on the planet. How on Earth do you come up with this stuff? :)

  4. Amanda Thebe

    I wish you were my Dad!! (forget that I am nearly 40!!) these are cute. Will make these too this weekend along with the handmade books – but please slow down with these wonderful creations as I can hardly keep up with you!!

  5. Jolene

    What a great idea. I'm going to have to make these for my kids who really haven't got the hang of yo-yos but love the idea.

  6. morso

    Wow. Your kids are sooo lucky to have a father like you. I wonder if they will ever really understad how fortunate they are! I am jealous! – at the age of 47. ;)

  7. craftevangelist

    This is a great idea! You're full of them! I'm sure my kids would totally love one of these.

  8. Natasha

    I love this and all your ideas. I swear, when I need to find things to do, especially on a blustery/rainy day like today, I come here and presto! Our day is set. Thank you.

  9. Joel Henriques

    Thanks so much everybody. I feel like I've got to live up to the hype now. I better get to work!

  10. AG Ambroult

    ohmygoodnessthisisgenius! (to be said very fast, as in one word) I could use one, too, as I have never been able to master a yo-yo.

  11. Amanda Pedro

    1st thing came to my mind was Brilliant. but then, someone else beat me to it. then genius. Yep, I'm late on that one too.
    LOVE LOVE LOVE your stuff.
    I cut out a bunch of circles today and put them in little containers for my kids to glue on a very long car ride tomorrow. Best part is, they will be happy glueing and then I'll finish the project with the slits and bam… another attention grabber when they start making shapes from them. See, you da bomb!
    thanks so much for sharing.

  12. Tanya

    thanks so much for all the inspiration! i've just made one of these little guys, as a bouncing rocket! i'll add photos to your flickr group soon!

  13. Shannon

    My 3 year old has been asking for a yo-yo after seeing one on TV. I don't think she's ready for it yet – but she'd LOVE this. Thanks!!!

  14. josie

    So good. Everything on your site. I just read through all your archives, I was so inspired. Congratulations on your book deal…I can't wait to buy it.

  15. Christina

    Fabulous! I love all your creative ideas and can't wait till my little one is a little older to appreciate them too! Congrats on the book!!!

  16. Anonymous

    I'm going to make these for the gift box for my almost 2 year old birthday too! Except, instead of beans, I'm going to use the round glass rocks in the craft section (already have some) so that the entire thing is washable! Thanks for the idea.

  17. Corinna

    I just made 10 of these for giveaways at our boys' birthday party…they were a hit! Great ideas on here, love them!! One of the boys' gifts was a fishing rod, Joel inspired. Thanks for the inspiration.

  18. Karen

    Hi Joel

    Do you think this would be hard to do handstitched? I don’t have a sewing machine but would love to try them.

    Or – could you make some for me and I’ll buy them haha.


    1. Hey Karen. You could totally do this hand stitched. It requires very little sewing. I bet if you made one out of felt (maybe get two or four colors of felt for the different panels), then it would be super easy to sew. It might not last as long though, but I bet the felt would hold up for a lot of yo-yo-ing. (I might be wrong though, and the felt could be totally strong.) But yeah, hand sew for sure!