How to Make a Chinese Shuttlecock (Jianzi)

Chinese Shuttlecock, often called Jianzi in China, is one of the Chinese national sports. The first version of the Jianzi is thought to have been created in China in the 5th century BC, although it is common throughout much of Asia. The goal of the game is the keep the shuttlecock in the air using feet and other parts of the body, excluding the hands. The game is often played individually, but can be played with others, passing the Chinese Shuttlecock from player to player while standing in a circle. It is very similar to hacky sack but instead of using a small bead filled ball, a Chinese Shuttlecock uses a weighted grouping of feathers.

Chinese shuttlecocks are quite inexpensive to buy, but it is quite fun to make your own! Once you get all your supplies together, you will find children will love to make them as gifts for friends or as party favors!

Materials for Making a Chinese Shuttlecock

  • 3 – 6 inch feathers
  • 2 washers – 1 1/4 inch diameter with 1/4 inch hole – (Sold individually at hardware and big box home improvement stores for about 14 cents.)
  • Craft foam
  • Plastic drinking straw
  • Hot glue gun
  • Template
  • Scissors

Directions

Using the circle template, cut out four 1 1/2 inch  circles of craft foam.

Chinese shuttlecock

Chinese shuttlecock

Mark the center of 3 circles and snip an X in those centers as indicated on the template.

Chinese shuttlecock

Chinese shuttlecock

Cut a 1 1/2 inch piece from the end of a plastic drinking straw. Measure 1/2 inch from one end and mark. Using scissors, make 4 evenly spaced 1/2 inch cuts on the marked end of the straw piece.

Chinese shuttlecock

Push one of the snipped foam circles over the non-cut end of the straw. Slide the circle down to marked and cut portion of the straw. Flip the circle and straw over and fold back the 4 cut sections of the straw so they are against the foam circle.

Chinese shuttlecock

Using your hot glue gun, carefully glue each of the 4 straw sections to the to the foam circle.

Chinese shuttlecock

Take the unsnipped foam circle and glue it to circle that has been attached to the straw. You will be hiding the 4 glued sections of the straw between the 2 foam circles.

Chinese shuttlecock

Chinese shuttlecock

Slide washer, foam circle, washer, foam circle onto the straw. Gently slide them into place on top of the other 2 foam circles. DO NOT GLUE THESE. About 1 inch of the plastic drinking straw will protrude beyond the last foam circle.

Chinese shuttlecock

Chinese shuttlecock

Place one feather into the end of the straw. Push it all the way down through the straw until it hits the bottom foam circles. Position the feather so the natural curve of the feather is away from the center.

Chinese shuttlecock

Add the next 2 feathers in the same manner. When you are done it will look like a feather flower. NOTE: Do not glue the feathers in place. The width of the feathers will hold them quite securely into the straw. Eventually, a straw will get damaged. When this happens, simply pull it out and replace it with a new straw.

Chinese shuttlecock

You are now ready to play!

Chinese shuttlecock

Game Play

Throw the Chinese Shuttlecock into the air. The object is to see how many times you can hit it before it hits the ground. You can use any part of your body except your hands. The weight of the washers will make the base drop first and that is the part of Chinese Shuttlecock that you want to hit with the inside of your foot, chest, shoulder, head, etc. The game can be played by an individual or with a small group of friends standing in a circle.

In the beginning it will be difficult, but the more you play it, the better you will become! Their are many videos online you can check out for more detailed instructions and tips.

GALLERY

Chinese shuttlecock

Chinese shuttlecock

Chinese shuttlecock

 

 

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