Fun With Chinese Shuttlecock Kicking - How to Make a Feather Shuttlecock Toy

The Chinese Shuttlecock
The Chinese Shuttlecock | Source

The Chinese Shuttlecock

Many of us are familiar with the shuttlecock used in the game of badminton. The Chinese use another form of shuttlecock which they call the jianzi in a traditional game that requires kicking the shuttlecock with their feet. The art of shuttlecock kicking is called ti jianzi, which means 'kicking the shuttlecock' in Chinese.

The concept of the Chinese shuttlecock is similar to the badminton shuttlecock. One end of the shuttlecock is weighted while the other part is made up of several feathers to help it propel forward in a projectile path.

Casual Game of Shuttlecock Kicking

Chinese Shuttlecock Kicking Game

A game of shuttlecock kicking can be played by a group of several players. The players are required to keep the shuttlecock in the air by kicking or propelling the shuttlecock in any direction to prevent it from landing on the ground. The shuttlecock can come in contact with any part of the body except the hands.

The main idea of the game is to propel the shuttlecock with the ankle, toe, heel, sole, knee or any part of the body except the hands. When the shuttlecock is with a player, he can kick the shuttlecock as many times as he can without dropping it on the ground. The player can pass the shuttlecock to another player anytime or when it goes out of their reach. The game continues until the shuttlecock touches the ground, and the players will begin another round of this fun game.

While the Chinese kids are playing this popular game around their neighbourhood, shuttlecock kicking competitions are being held at national levels in China and other countries around the world. Since 1999, many countries have joined the International Shuttlecock Federation and Shuttlecock Federation of Europe where enthusiastic shuttlecock kickers come together to compete and display their skills.

Have you tried shuttlecock kicking yet?

  • Yes, I'm an expert at shuttlecock kicking!
  • Yes, I've played with the feathered shuttlecock toy before.
  • No, I haven't but would love to have a go at it because it looks like fun!
  • No, I'm already exhausted at the thought of all that kicking!
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Benefits of Shuttlecock Kicking

Shuttlecock kicking is a game for both the young and old in China. It can be played anywhere in a small open area on a level ground, in the backyard or at the park. It provides entertainment, great fun and promotes team work.

Most important of all, it is a form of physical exercise for the shuttlecock players. Some of the older Chinese players are in their seventies and they have been kicking the shuttlecock since they were kids!

How to Make Your Own Shuttlecock With Feathers

In the olden days, the Chinese make their own free shuttlecock toys by wrapping a coin with a piece of cloth, tied up a bunch of chicken feathers and then inserted them into the hole of the coin!

You, too, can make your own shuttlecock toy with the following materials:

  • Craft feathers, chicken or bird feathers
  • Chinese coin
  • Cardboard, plastic sheet from an old folder or thick paper
  • Strong bonding glue


Draw about 20 circles on the cardboard and plastic sheet. The circles should be a little bigger than the Chinese coin. Cut out the circles to round discs. Stack the discs together to check the thickness. You'll need to have a stack of round discs about 1cm thick. Cut more circles if required.

Set aside the first disc. Punch a hole in the middle of all the cardboard and plastic circles.

Stack the discs on top of each other, with the first disc at the bottom of the stack. Put the Chinese coin in between the discs. You can use more than one coin to make the shuttlecock heavier. The heavier the shuttlecock, the faster it will fall and the harder you will have to kick to keep it in the air!

Apply glue in between all the layers as you stack up the discs. Continue stacking until the stack is about 1cm thick.

Tie a few feathers together with sticky tape. I am using bird feathers for this project. Birdie the White Pigeon sheds off a feather or two every now and then, and I have collected many of her feathers over the years.

Put some glue in the middle of the round stack and insert the feathers into the hole. Apply more glue if necessary. Allow the glue to dry and check that all the parts are securely attached together before playing with the shuttlecock.

Step-by-step instructions on how to make a chinese shuttlecock

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Materials for making shuttlecock toy.Draw circles on the plastic sheets and thick paper.Round cut-out discs.Punch a hole in the middle of each disc.Apply a little glue on the bottom disc and start stacking up the other discs.Remember to put glue on all the layers.Put the Chinese coin on the stack.Continue stacking the discs.The stack should be around 1cm tall by now.Bind the feathers together with sticky tape.Put a generous amount of glue in the hole and insert the bunch of feathers into the hole of the stack. Let the glue dry thoroughly.
Materials for making shuttlecock toy.
Materials for making shuttlecock toy. | Source
Draw circles on the plastic sheets and thick paper.
Draw circles on the plastic sheets and thick paper. | Source
Round cut-out discs.
Round cut-out discs. | Source
Punch a hole in the middle of each disc.
Punch a hole in the middle of each disc. | Source
Apply a little glue on the bottom disc and start stacking up the other discs.
Apply a little glue on the bottom disc and start stacking up the other discs. | Source
Remember to put glue on all the layers.
Remember to put glue on all the layers. | Source
Put the Chinese coin on the stack.
Put the Chinese coin on the stack. | Source
Continue stacking the discs.
Continue stacking the discs. | Source
The stack should be around 1cm tall by now.
The stack should be around 1cm tall by now. | Source
Bind the feathers together with sticky tape.
Bind the feathers together with sticky tape. | Source
Put a generous amount of glue in the hole and insert the bunch of feathers into the hole of the stack. Let the glue dry thoroughly.
Put a generous amount of glue in the hole and insert the bunch of feathers into the hole of the stack. Let the glue dry thoroughly. | Source
Birdie didn't look too impressed with what I've done with her old feathers.
Birdie didn't look too impressed with what I've done with her old feathers. | Source

Plastic Bag Shuttlecock

If you do not have any craft feathers for the shuttlecock, you can also use a plastic shopping bag to make one at almost no cost!

Cut the plastic bag into a large rectangular sheet measuring 15cm by 40cm. Fold the plastic sheet a couple of times lengthwise towards the top, but do not overlap the top edge leaving 2cm of material at the top. Cut the plastic sheet into strips along the width up to 2cm from the top end.

Fold the plastic sheet several times at the uncut end, until it is small enough to be inserted through the hole of the Chinese coin. Use more coins for added weight. You can also use a washer if you do not have a coin.

Pass the folded end of the plastic over a flame so that it melts. Press down on the coin to flatten the molten plastic under it. Be careful! The coin might be hot to touch! Continue melting the plastic over the flame and flattening it until it forms a hard piece of plastic under the coin.

Cut out a piece of fabric and cover the coin. Use sticky tape to hold the fabric in place.

How to make the plastic shuttlecock at no cost!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The useful plastic shopping bag.Cut away the top and bottom of the bag.Cut open the bag to get a rectangular sheet of plastic.Fold lengthwise..a couple of times. Do not overlap the top end.Cut along the width of the folded sheet.Unfold the plastic bag.Fold up the top end. Insert the end through the coin and use a lighter to melt the plastic under the coin.Flatten the plastic.Use a small piece of fabric to wrap around the coin and tape the fabric in place.The plastic bag shuttlecock is ready for some great kicking!
The useful plastic shopping bag.
The useful plastic shopping bag. | Source
Cut away the top and bottom of the bag.
Cut away the top and bottom of the bag. | Source
Cut open the bag to get a rectangular sheet of plastic.
Cut open the bag to get a rectangular sheet of plastic. | Source
Fold lengthwise..
Fold lengthwise.. | Source
a couple of times. Do not overlap the top end.
a couple of times. Do not overlap the top end. | Source
Cut along the width of the folded sheet.
Cut along the width of the folded sheet. | Source
Unfold the plastic bag.
Unfold the plastic bag. | Source
Fold up the top end.
Fold up the top end. | Source
Insert the end through the coin and use a lighter to melt the plastic under the coin.
Insert the end through the coin and use a lighter to melt the plastic under the coin. | Source
Flatten the plastic.
Flatten the plastic. | Source
Use a small piece of fabric to wrap around the coin and tape the fabric in place.
Use a small piece of fabric to wrap around the coin and tape the fabric in place. | Source
The plastic bag shuttlecock is ready for some great kicking!
The plastic bag shuttlecock is ready for some great kicking! | Source

You can buy the shuttlecock at amazon.com if you don't want to make your own toy

Watch these expert shuttlecock players

© 2014 lady rain

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10 comments

ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

These are so beautiful and so creative!

Nicely done hub with elaborate and helpful instructions and pictures.

Thanks for sharing, voted up!


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

This is really interesting. The game looks like Hacky Sack (not sure about the spelling) that is played. I'm going to show my daughter this. Just curious...is that your bird? How did it you get that great pose with the feathers? Awesome hub!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

Reading about this game was interesting, seeing the vids was amazing. Thanks for highlighting it here with the instructions for making and playing. Pinning to my Children's Activities/… board.


lady rain profile image

lady rain 2 years ago from Australia Author

ChitrangadaSharan, thanks! I hope you'll be able to make a feather shuttlecock, too!


lady rain profile image

lady rain 2 years ago from Australia Author

Glimmer Twin Fan, there are other similar kicking games and Hacky Sack is one of them (without the feathers :D) Yes, Birdie is my pet. She's free to fly around with other wild birds outside but she prefers to come into the house and sit next to me. She loves photo sessions!


lady rain profile image

lady rain 2 years ago from Australia Author

RTalloni, this is a great game for children and adults. As you can see in the videos, the adults were having so much fun with the game. Thank you for commenting and pinning this hub.


TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 2 years ago

Very unique craft!


lady rain profile image

lady rain 2 years ago from Australia Author

TurtleDog - yes, it is! Thank you for stopping by.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 2 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

What an inspired idea to make your own shuttlecocks! I love it. Thanks for the creative tutorial.


lady rain profile image

lady rain 2 years ago from Australia Author

randomcreative, I'm glad you like the homemade shuttlecocks! Thanks for the comment :)

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