Friday, October 5, 2012

'Chutes away!

Padworth and Dragondrop wanted to show you how to make a parachute today. Not just any ordinary parachute, but one that will survive more than just one throw off the deck!

Did ya get your bears and GI Joes and other masters of daring-do pulled together? Okie dokie, then we are ready!

I can remember making parachutes for action figures out of plastic trash bags, and they were not as much fun as they could be, because of the durability issues!  This one that I'll show you is much better!

First, you are going to need some really thin unbleached muslin. You can use really cheap stuff, because you want it to be as light as possible.
Find your trusty compass (not too hard for me, as a retired homeschooler) and draw a lovely circle. THIS IS IMPORTANT: Do not let your compass slide larger or smaller, once you make your circle. You will see why in a moment.

Take the point of the compass and rest it on your circle -- pick a spot, any spot, it doesn't matter where. We are equal opportunity spot-pickers here. Now, with the point on the circle, make a small mark with your pencil, wherever the pencil comes to....that's not too easy to explain, so there is a picture up there.
Now you can pick up the compass and place the point on your new mark, and keep going around the circle, making little marks --- if you have held your compass tightly, the last mark should coincide with the first spot you placed the point of the compass!

Now you draw lines from one mark on the circle to the next, and keep working your way around the circle. I am probably bringing back nightmares about your first geometry class and the mean teacher you had....after all, I am making you construct a hexagon.
Now you can cut out your hexagon, and sit back and admire it!

Now, I reached into my stash and pulled out my Heat Press Batting Together tape --- you'll have to get some of this stuff --- I find all kinds of uses for it!
Cut short pieces and iron it onto the six points of your hexagon, like so:

Once you have done that, you are ready to snip a small opening in the center of each bonded area, and tie a very light string or thread there. I made mine about ten inches long, but you can adjust yours any way that you like.

Tie good knots, OK? You don't want to be the cause of a tiny paratrooper's injuries . . . (Grin)

When you have all six done, you can tie them all together:

Now it's time to focus on the pack that the parachute will go into. Dragondrop chose some yellow fabric, and I made a small envelope for him:

(You'll have to forgive the photo there; just ignore the chubby fingers and lack of manicure.) Now we need to secure this to our jumper. I got out some thin elastic, and made loops on each side of the envelope.

It doesn't have to be beautiful -- we are more interested in the safety of our trooper than in the loveliness of the completed project.
Now try it on for size:

Hmmmm, looking pretty good! Here's another view:

The last step is to take the strings (you tied them all together, remember?) and stick them a little ways down into the little pack, and stitch them in very securely . . .
Now he's ready for his jump! (Don't worry, Padsworth insisted on putting a blankie and padding down, before giving his approval for the test jump!)

It worked great! We were all so excited that I forgot to take a picture! 
Thanks again, Mhairi, we love our new buddy, Dragondrop!
I hope that all of you have enjoyed this post and that it might give you a "jumping off point" for ideas to use for good times with your kids or grandkids! (I know. Very. Bad. Pun.)

Me? I'm off to work on that Christmas wall-hanging . . . I want to show it to you soon!




  1. I have four grandsons and two grandaughters that are going to love this. Thanks.

  2. Ha ha... I have some of the Batting stuff....I didn't event think about alternate uses.

  3. You are too funny - but yes, made parachutes for GI Joes when my boys were young - and the box of them is still here, some are missing body parts though.

  4. Love this! If I made one for Anne there would be flying animals all over the place!

  5. Cute... and the title of the post dragged me in=)

  6. That is so cool, and seems like a project my son could get behind. Rather than the girly donkey I just made. lol Can't wait to try it! Happy weekend to you. :)

  7. hehehe will have to try this for my grandsons!!

  8. This is great! Thanks for sharing!!!

  9. Padsworth, you look after Dragondrop and don't let him drag you into any misadventures that might get you hurt. Although the parachuting did look like lots of fun. Hope you are both working hard and enjoying each others company.


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