How to Make a Plastic Robot

Updated May 01, 2018

A plastic robot is fun and easy to make by recycling various plastic containers and using basic household items. The robot may not be mechanical, but this method creates an interactive toy with move-able arms and legs. Children can help assemble the materials and construct the robot, but an adult will need to supervise and make the holes in the plastic. Spray paint the robot silver for a metallic appearance.

Stand the two plastic bottles (with their lids on) next to each other on a flat surface, spacing them about 1 inch apart. These will become the robot's legs.

Remove the lid from the large rectangular plastic food container and hold one of its shorter sides over the two plastic bottles with the open side of the container facing you. This container will become the robot's body.

Mark the two points where the bottle lids touch the side of the container with a marker.

Working on a wooden chopping board, pierce holes through the short side of the container at the marked points using an awl. These holes are for attaching the legs.

Remove the lids from the two plastic bottles and pierce holes through their centres using the awl.

Make holes at the top of both longer sides of the plastic container in position for the robot's arms. Make another hole at the same level as the arm holes, but in the centre of the robot's back i.e. the base of the food container.

Cut four arm's lengths of string or yarn and tie a secure knot in one end of each.

Take one of the lengths of string, one of the large buttons and two of the plastic pipe sections. Pass the string through the holes in the button, then through one section of pipe, then through a second section of pipe. The button should anchor the string and prevent it passing through the pipes. Thread the string through one of the arm holes in the plastic container (from the outside to the inside), then through the hole in the back of the container (back outside). Repeat this with another length of string, another large button and the two remaining sections of pipe.

Take a third length of string, pass it through the hole in one of the bottle lids, through one of the leg holes in the plastic container, then through the hole in the back. Screw the lid back onto the bottle, attaching the leg to the body of the robot. Repeat this with the last length of string and the other bottle.

Take the four lengths of string and pull them to tighten the arms and legs. Tie all four strings into a secure knot so that the arms and legs can move but do not completely detach from the body of the robot. Trim the long ends of the strings. Put the lid back onto the plastic container to create the front of the robot.

Glue the small square plastic food container to the top of the robot's body with its lid facing forwards--in the centre of the upper side of the larger food container, if the robot is standing upright. Glue the two small buttons to the lid (the front) of the robot's head as eyes.

Things You'll Need

  • Large rectangular plastic food container with lid
  • Small square plastic food container with lid
  • 2 plastic bottles with lids, 75ml
  • 4 sections narrow plastic pipe, each 2 inches long
  • 2 large buttons
  • 2 small buttons
  • Marker
  • Glue
  • String or yarn
  • Awl
  • Wooden chopping board
  • Scissors
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About the Author

A writer of diverse interests, Joanne Thomas has penned pieces about road trips for Hyundai, children's craft projects for Disney and wine cocktails for Robert Mondavi. She has lived on three continents and currently resides in Los Angeles, where she is co-owner and editor of a weekly newspaper. Thomas holds a BSc in politics from the University of Bristol, England.