Robot Hands Prototype 1 – Using Drinking Straws

I came across this very simple DIY robot hands using a bunch of straws and polymer clay (no plastic eyes this time).


  • Polymer Clay / White Jumping Clay 7oz pack
  • Six Drinking Straws (hmm guess where I got these purple ones?)
  • Scissors
  • Play Doh knife
  • Needle and thread

So, here’s how we started out with it:

First create rectangular blocks with the polymer clay. I made three just in case. My mistake here was that I removed the straws for shaping the holes so when the clay preserved its shape, the holes became a bit smaller.


DO NOT remove the straws after you shape the holes.

My niece was visiting so I let her cut the “diamonds” into the straws for the finger joints using scissors.  This is why sturdy straws are better for use on this robot hand. Some straws from popular fast food establishments are flimsy.

Cut the diamonds out where your fingers bend. Notice also that the polymer clay is about the size of the span of a wrist.

My niece was visiting so it was the perfect time to make this. The activity is recommended for kids ages 10 and up.

I cut the straws right where I was holding it up in the photo above. I made sure it was the same size as her palm.

Adding the thumb was tricky but as you can see below, the second polymer clay rectangle and some tape did the trick.

Then I took the needle and put in some red thread to make the robot hand move.

My daughter said it looked like a skeleton and wouldn’t touch it. My 2 year old son thought it was cool and took it around to wave and bend it while saying hi.

I took a shower glove as my daughter recommended and put it on the hand. Only then would she play with it. While it is not sturdy enough to pick up things,even a very light pingpong ball, it was fine grasping it so that it wouldn’t fall off.

Kids have a very wild imagination. My little one said it would be cool to have her dad cut up some wood and we can have a “body” for the hand. Then the hand would be lonely so we would need to make another one.

For a detailed step by step procedure, please refer to the post on science buddies website that we followed to make this robot hand.


Science Buddies Staff. (2014, November 13). Grasping with Straws: Make a Robot Hand Using Drinking Straws. Retrieved September 13, 2015 from


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