The Lunastix consist of two hand sticks and a longer center stick. You hold the hand sticks in your hands, and you use them for flipping the center stick in the air. The two hand sticks are made of 7/16" wooden dowel rods about 18.75" long. The dowel rods are inside of a rubbery tubing which has a "grainy" feel to it. This provides friction to make it easier to use the hand sticks for flipping the center stick. The center stick is a 7/16" wooden dowel rod about 22.25" long inside of the same rubbery tubing, plus it has tassels at each end as counterweights which make it easy to flip it through the air. These types of juggling sticks are often called "flower sticks" because of the tassels.
Juggling sticks are easy to make, and they're a lot of fun! See the bottom of this page for some videos on how to play with these juggling sticks.
To make these juggling sticks, here's what you'll need:
Non-skid material, which is often used for lining shelves
Wooden dowel rods, 7/16" in diameter (see below)
For the counterweights you can use either of these options:
Lightweight tennis balls (two for each set of juggling sticks)
1/2" nuts (six for each set of juggling sticks)
To make our juggling sticks, we bought five 48" wooden dowel rods (7/16" in diameter) at a hardware store. In order to try different lengths of juggling sticks to see which ones we prefer, we measured and cut the five dowel rods in the following way:
22" + 25" + 1" = 48"
22" + 18" + 8" = 48"
25" + 18" + 5" = 48"
28" + 16" + 4" = 48"
16" + 16" + 16" = 48"
By cutting the dowel rods in this way we now have five center sticks (22", 22", 25", 25", and 28"), plus two 18" hand sticks, plus four 16" hand sticks (we threw away the extra 1" and 8" and 5" and 4" pieces). This enabled us to make three complete sets of juggling sticks, plus we have a couple of extra center sticks for doing comparisons with different materials.
To add some friction to the sticks (like the Lunastix have), we tried sliding the dowel rods inside some surgical tubing from a hardware store, but it didn't provide much friction at all. Then we bought several kinds of friction tape and cloth tape from a hardware store, but none of them provided good friction for juggling sticks. We also tried a self-sticking Ace bandage, but it wasn't quite right either. With Velcro, if you press side "A" of the Velcro against side "B" of the Velcro then the two sides stick tightly to each other, which isn't what we want with juggling sticks. We tried wrapping the hand sticks and a center stick with just side "A" of the Velcro in order to provide friction without causing the sticks to become stuck together, but the friction wasn't good enough. Then we tried wrapping the hand sticks and a center stick with just side "B" of the Velcro, but this didn't work well either. We went to a hobby and crafts store, but the sales person couldn't find anything that we hadn't already tried. Then we went to a sporting goods store and bought some grip tape for tennis rackets, and this did a pretty good job. Finally we tried some thin non-skid material (used for lining shelves), and this worked really well.
We bought two different sizes of lightweight tennis balls to try as counterweights on the center sticks. We also created tassels for one of the center sticks using the non-skid material, but these didn't provide enough counterweight for juggling. We fixed this by screwing three 1/2" nuts onto each end of the center stick below the tassels (the nuts easily screwed onto the wooden dowel rod and stayed in place without needing any tape or glue).
So with all of our materials we have three different sizes of center sticks to try in order to determine which length we prefer, and we have two different sizes of hand sticks to see which length we prefer. We also have two different sizes of tennis balls, and we made our own tassels, to see which of these creates the best counterweight.
Making the Hand Sticks
Start cutting the non-skid material to make a strip about an inch wide:
Place the edge of the material at an angle on one end of one of the hand sticks:
Wrap the material around once, then tape it down using some electrician's tape. Tightly wrap the material around and around the hand stick, overlapping the material onto itself. When you reach the end of the strip that you've cut, continue cutting the strip longer as needed:
When you reach the end of the hand stick, tape the material so it's secure on both ends:
Now do the same thing with the other hand stick.
Making the Center Stick
To use lightweight tennis balls as the counterbalance on the center stick, carefully cut a very small "+" into two tennis balls:
The "+" needs to be barely big enough for the wooden dowel rod to push through so that the tennis ball will grip the dowel rod.
Put a tennis ball onto each end of the center stick. Attach the non-skid material to the remaining wood on the center stick (as you did for the hand sticks), and now the juggling sticks are ready to be used:
To use tassels as the counterbalance on the center stick, cut off two pieces of the non-skid material about 8" wide and about 5" tall. Cut the tassels so they're each about 1/2" wide, leaving about 3/4" remaining:
Screw three 1/2" nuts onto each end of the center stick, leaving about 3/4" of the wood sticking out at the end. You can leave the nuts visible so they catch the light, or you can cover them up with some of the non-skid material. Attach the non-skid material to the wood in the middle of the stick, just as you did for the hand sticks:
Tightly wrap one set of tassels around each end of the center stick and secure it with some electrician's tape, and now the juggling sticks are ready to be used:
Comparison of the Different Types of Juggling Sticks
After playing with the different combinations of sticks that we made, these are our preferences:
Long hand sticks vs short hand sticks
- They both work fine, but we tend to prefer the shorter hand sticks.
Long center stick vs short center stick
- The long center stick swings back and forth more slowly than the short center stick, which makes the long one fun to use sometimes. But in general we prefer the shorter center stick.
Large tennis balls vs small tennis balls
- There's really not much difference in how the center stick feels with either size of tennis balls.
Tennis balls vs tassels
- We prefer using tennis balls because they provide a bit more counterweight than the tassels do.
Advantages and Disadvantages
The homemade juggling sticks (with tennis balls on the center stick) have some advantages and disadvantages compared to the flower sticks that you can buy:
The biggest advantage is that these juggling sticks cost a lot less than the flower sticks. Without spending much money you can make a set of juggling sticks for each member of the family so no-one has to wait their turn to play.
If something happens to the sticks you can easily repair them or make new ones.
While you're learning how to juggle the sticks, you're going to drop the center stick a lot. With tennis balls on the ends of the center stick it's easy to pick up the center stick using the hand sticks. This is because the tennis balls create a bigger gap between the stick and the ground than the flower sticks do, making it easy to get the hand sticks under the center stick. You can even slide your foot under the center stick and toss it into the air with your foot.
The tennis balls bounce when they hit the ground, and you can use this bounciness for doing tricks that can't be done with flower sticks. When you drop the center stick with the tennis balls on it, it will often bounce up so you can easily grab it or knock it back into the air.
You can decorate your sticks by using different colors of non-skid material, and different colors of electrician's tape, and different colors of tennis balls.
These homemade juggling sticks don't look as professional as the flower sticks that you can buy.
Flower sticks have a rubbery tubing on them which creates friction so the center sticks don't slide off of the hand sticks very easily. These homemade juggling sticks don't have quite as much friction as the flower sticks do.
How to Use the Juggling Sticks
This three-part series of videos teaches how to begin using the sticks, as well as showing some advanced techniques:
"Make Your Own Juggling Sticks"