Among his varied other writing interests, Richard Parr aspires to creating interesting and inspiring stories about life.
As a father & Uncle who enjoys his shed time, I've made a lot of things for my son, daughters, nieces and nephews over the years.
Several years ago I made twelve pair of stilts for all the kids at our annual family Christmas get together.
We strung up a rope that spanned the back yard to act as a training aid until the children mastered their balance, which didn't take long, then it was all go. They were a hit. In fact they were so popular that other kids were soon enquiring about where to get a pair.
Over the following months I reworked the stilt design to be lighter, better balanced and easier to fit. Below you can find a link allowing you to download my step-by-step stilt building plans.
Read on to learn more of the history of stilt walking, just how much fun stilts can be, games that can be played wearing them, as well as how to build your own.
Did you know...
Activities for Stilts
Of course, Stilts aren't just for walking tall. They have been used in numerous ways to enhance work and play, including:
- Street Entertaining
- Dry-wall plastering
- Fruit picking
- Even Badminton
Working on Stilts
And stilts are not just for fun, they have earned their place as preferred tools in a number of workplaces. Window washers, Hop pickers, fruit pickers and drywallers all use stilts in preference to a ladder. Not to mention the stilt fishermen of Sri- Lanka.
Generations of skilled fisherman have balanced upon stilts out on the Indian Ocean. Perched above the coral reef, they use rods to catch herring and mackerel; a practice that started after World War II, when fishermen used the discarded iron pipes from the war to avoid disturbing the fish.
- Finishing Drywall Stilts - YouTube
Doing away with ladders and scaffold, stilt waking plasterers make short (or is it tall) work of a walled premises
Build your Own Stilts
Although Stilts can be made from a range of materials and to varying degrees of complexity, timber is the most widely used medium due to its relative light weight and its ease of shaping. Added to this, timber is affordable and a sustainable resource that is hard wearing and very strong.
Below I have listed the materials required to build your own set of stilts. Measurements are in metric; but use this conversion website to determine imperial equivalents.
Stilt Materials List
- 2.4m dressed pine 42x30mm*
- 0.6m dressed pine 89x19mm
- Plywood, approx’ 300x300x10mm
- 90xM6mm Zinc bolts (x4)**
- 25xM6mm flat washers (x9)
- 45xM4mm Zinc bolts (x2)**
- 2.0m Polypropylene webbing 25mm
- 1.2m Polypropylene webbing 50mm
- 25mm Tri-gliders (x2)
- 50mm Tri-gliders (x2)
- 0.6m Hook and loop velcro 25mm
- 0.3m Hook and loop velcro 50mm
- Neoprene sheet 300x60x6mm (x2)
- Neoprene sheet 250x40x6mm (x2)
- 0.1m PVC pipe 100mmØ
- 10G 65mm wood screws (x4)
- 10G 50mm wood screws (x4)
- 10G 40mm wood screws (x4)
- Old bicycle tyre tread
- Contact adhesive
- Wood glue
*Timber must be knot-free
**With Nyloc nuts
Do you also know...
For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.
- Which culture first recorded the use of stilts in the 6th century BC?
- In Belgium, stilt walkers of Namur have done what on stilts since 1411?
- In 1891 Sylvain Dornon, walked on stilts from Paris to Moscow in how many days?
- In 2008 Roy Maloy of Australia, walked on record breaking stilts. How tall were they?
- 17 metres (56 ft)
- 21 metres (68 ft)
- 13 metres (42 ft)
- 17 metres (56 ft)
You can download the full set of instructions from HERE.
By building stilts according to these plans, you take full responsibility for any and every fall, bruise, break, pain or agony incurred by yourself or any other person to use them :)
- The Marathon on Stilts - Neatorama
This fascinating photograph from Retronaut is from a stilt race that took place in France in 1892. Sports Illustrated published an account of the race in 1971.
The Ultimate Stilts
© 2017 Richard Parr
Richard Parr (author) from Australia on November 23, 2017:
@Bill Holland ~ Too right. I made a deliberate effort not to molly coddle my kids; especially my boy (call me sexist). I firmly believe that part of the road to mature adulthood is learning through risk taking. From the feedback I get, all the kids loved the stilts. Of course, kids being kids, once they mastered them they wanted taller ones.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 22, 2017:
In this overprotective society of ours, I wonder how many parents would allow their kids to have stilts. I used to love them as a kid. The fun was worth the risk for me.
FlourishAnyway from USA on October 28, 2017:
How fun it must have been at your house! Tv is boring compared to this!
RTalloni on October 28, 2017:
What great fun stilts can be. Your family's kids must have enjoyed their time immensely. This tutorial will surely make more families just as happy. Nice job, both on the fun article and the pictured stilts.