Kinetic Creatures

Herd your own laser-cut cardboard mechanical menagerie


Using the same tab-and-slot construction technique as classic balsa wood airplanes, Kinetic Creatures start as flat-packed, laser-cut cardboard and transform into the impressive mechanical Rory the Rhino, Geno the Giraffe or Elly the Elephant. The DIY animals were conceived by Portland, Oregon-based visual arts teacher Alyssa Hamel and industrial designer Lucas Ainsworth, who were interested in encouraging youth to “be builders, thinkers and inventors”. After four years of research and design, the duo are launching a Kickstarter campaign today with the goal of raising enough funds to make the project possible while keeping the production local and sustainable.


As a project with educational roots, Kinetic Creatures require hand assembly and move by either a hand-cranked wire handle or an optional electric gear kit. The intuitively-assembled kit consists of little more than laser-cut wooden gears and a battery-operated on/off switch that fits in the open back of each animal, showing off all the moving parts for a basic lesson in mechanics.

Kinetic-Elephant.jpg Kinetic-Giraffe.jpg

To learn more about the project or to support this clever blend of art and science head to the Kinetic Creatures’ Kickstarter. At this point donations are the only route to getting your own animal, so for $30 you can score your own Elly the Elephant or Rory the Rhino, while $40 buys Geno the Giraffe and $90 or more gets you all three critters for your own moving menagerie.