Penguin by Hela Jongerius, from Do It Yourself

Designer DIY with Hella Jongerius

Add a little poetry to your home with this charming sculpture, drawn up by the great Dutch designer

This coming Saturday it is Artisan Day at Barney’s New York, and next week, in Britain, it is half term for most schools. To mark this convergence of hands-on creativity and kids with time on their hands, we thought we would extract one of the most popular and playful inclusions in our new guide to creating homemade designer goods, Do It Yourself.

This design comes from the brilliant Dutch designer Hella Jongerius, who is perhaps best-known for redesigning the United Nations’ North Delegates’ Lounge in New York.

For this book she contributed a playful penguin sculpture, which, Jongerius explains, is a reaction against impersonal, factory-produced home accessories. In creating this avian ornament, “I wanted to fill those interchangeable accessories with life, with poetry,” the designer says. Here’s how you, your artisan friends, and perhaps your children and younger relatives can make it.


Penguin parts by Hella Jongerius
Penguin parts by Hella Jongerius

What you need: scissors, making tape and pins, a cutter, and cardboard.


1.       For the torso, draw a draw a pattern (roughly the shape shown) on cardboard and cut out two models. You can choose your own size. 2.       Cut one of the torso pieces in half vertically. Copy both halves 10 times over on cardboard and cut them out. 3.       Stick the pieces together with pins. Glue to a ten-sided base also cut out of cardboard or fix with pins. 4.       Connect and fix the torso with masking tape, horizontally and vertically. 5.       Make four equally sized wings plus two smaller ones to sandwich between them. Tape up. 6.       Attach the wings to the torso with pins. 7.       Cut out two pieces for the beak, fold, and join together with tape. 8.       Attach the beak to the penguin’s head with pins. 9.       Paint it whatever colours you like



Penguin instructions by Hella Jongeruis
Penguin instructions by Hella Jongeruis

For greater detail on this design and many more works by such designers and artists as Ross Lovegrove, Ai Weiwei, Konstantin Grcic and John Baldessari buy a copy of Do It Yourself Here.