Endless Summer Projects | Backyard Circus

by , posted on June 18th, 2014 in Endless Summer Projects

Minted is the premier marketplace for independent design and art. They sell the best work of indie designers and artists as fine stationery, art, and party decor. Their newly-launched collection of birthday party invitations and party decor suites would be perfect for summer birthdays, fitting every theme from movie nights to pool parties!

backyard circus with handmade stilts

Come one, come all to the Backyard Circus. Be mesmerized by stilt walking giants. Marvel as the man with an iron stomach swallows blades of steel. Watch the world’s tiniest dog whirl and twirl. She never gets dizzy.

Anyone with kids will tell you, some days life feels like a three ring circus. This summer, celebrate the spectacle with a backyard gathering where the kids show off their skills with stilt walking.

We made these stilts in an afternoon and they have been a highlight of summer. It’s a project that will require a trip to the hardware store, but it’s totally worth the extra effort.

You’ll Need:
2 2x2x8
1 1 1/4 pine dowel rod
2 5/16 x 5 1/2 inch carriage bolts
2 5/16 inch nuts
2 1/4 inch flat washers
5/16 inch drill bit
Rubber caps
Socket with a 1/2 inch socket or open-ended wrench

1. Cut two 3 1/4 inch pieces of dowel. These are your foot rests.

2. Mark the center of each dowel. Drill a hole all the way through.

3. Place a carriage bolt in the hole. Tamp down on a hard surface to set it.

how to make your own stilts

4. Drill a hole 9 inches from the bottom of each 2x2x8. This is where you’ll place the foot rest. You can actually choose any distance you’d like, but we found 9 inches from the ground was enough of a challenge to begin. You may want to consider a lower height for younger kids. At this time, you can also drill holes higher up the 2x2x8 so you can increase the height slightly as your stilt walker becomes more skilled.

5. Place the bolt extending from foot rest into the hole. Place the washer and nut on. Ratchet the nut so it’s nice and tight.

6. Trim the top of the 2x2x8 to the desired height. We based our measurement off our kids’ heights.

7. Place rubber caps on the base of the stilts. You can find rubber caps at your local big box retailer. Get the largest size they have.

8. Paint.

how to make circus stilts

9. The stilts are ready for the big top.


And don’t forget the other acts!

tiny twirling dog

feats of strength

But wait! There’s even more on the midway! Don’t forget to check out all the circus goodness by the entire Endless Summer Projects team this week.

Lulu the Baker bakes up some tasty circus treats

Visit Madame Alexandra Hedin for the finest in circus wear this season

One look in Pars Caeli‘s crystal ball and you won’t be able to turn down her invitation

At This HeArt of Mine‘s hall of mirrors, don’t be surprised if it’s an endless party you see

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12 Responses to “Endless Summer Projects | Backyard Circus”

  1. Tanya @ my invisible camera Says:

    June 18th, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Jen, seriously, these are amazing!!! I totally want to make these for myself, forget my kids. Ok, ok. Maybe we’ll make 2 pairs. :)

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    We can practice them together!

    Tanya @ my invisible camera Reply:

    Ok, Jen. It’s on. And for the record, I smell an AltSummit party here in the making. BUT I think I’d have to learn how to spin plates and you might have to learn how to spit fire. Maybe. :)

  2. Phyllis at All Things Beautiful Says:

    June 18th, 2014 at 10:19 am

    This is really cute, but your links don’t have what you have said here they would have.

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Hi Phyllis,

    Thanks for commenting! The first two of my friends are west coast, so they probably just haven’t published their posts yet.

    As far as how I worded the links, I took some creative license as all great ringmasters do. I thought “check out these ideas for food, invitations, costumes and party gear” didn’t have quite the same theatrical ring a circus required. :)

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Hey! You did catch one of my broken links. I had something off in Ali’s. It’s fixed now. Thanks again for noticing.

  3. Cindy H Says:

    June 18th, 2014 at 10:47 am

    This brings back memories. My friends and I kept ourselves busy planning a backyard circus every summer. We “invited” our parents to come and then entertained them with many acts, fully costumed and with much ado. My mom says it was inevitably THE hottest afternoon of the summer each year.

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    You were the coolest. Still are. ;)

  4. Birute Efe Says:

    June 18th, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    These are just pure amazing. Really. Can’t wait to show my kids tomorrow morning…

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Thank you Birute! Have fun with them! xo

  5. Jenny Says:

    June 18th, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    These are awesome, Jen! Totally fun!

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Thanks Jenny! I wish I had made (or bought!) juggling scarves. I can see that being another great act for the kids to do.

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