Can You Make a Parachute with a Handkerchief?

You can make your own toy parachute from a handkerchief, a piece of string and a rock.

Linen handkerchief decorated with three rows o...

Linen handkerchief decorated with three rows of hemstitching. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My grandmother gave me beautiful, lace, embroidered handkerchiefs that I would never use for such an activity.

They remain in a drawer, unused in 40 years.

They are a reminder of her and a different time, when ladies carried lace handkerchiefs.

I used one of my father-in-law’s handkerchiefs.

He passed away in 2009. I don’t think he will mind.

His birthday would have been June 22.

Thanks, Fox.

Know that you are missed and remembered.

May your spirit float with the parachute.


  • Old handkerchief
  • Four to eight feet of string, thread or cord
  • Rock or washer (metal disk with a hole in the middle)
  • Scissors to cut the string


  • Cut the string into four pieces (the thicker the string, the more you’ll need)
  • Tie the end of each piece around a twisted corner of the handkerchief (double knots are secure)
  • Gather the four loose strings together and knot about four inches above the ends (you may need more if you have a rock instead of a washer)
  • Tie the end of one of the strings around the rock or through the washer.

Test the parachute by dropping it from as high as you can reach. It should start to billow out before it hits the floor.

If not, find a smaller rock or make the strings longer.

I started with one-foot lengths, then, doubled them to two-foot lengths of string. I was using very thick cord.

If the test run works, and the handkerchief starts to billow out, go outside.

Find an open space outside, as far away from trees and lines as you can find.

A school playground is a good choice, but an open yard will work just as well.

Throw the parachute as high in the air as you can.

You can test how high it goes by just throwing it up, swinging your arm in an arc and throwing it at the top of the arc, or rolling the parachute up tightly and throwing it up.

What Should Happen

The handkerchief should open up and float gently down to the ground.

Repeat as often as you like.


  • Add different things to the bottom of the parachute, instead of rocks or washers, like small, action figures
  • Make the strings longer to see if the parachute floats longer.
  • Double up parachutes by attaching the washer to the top of another handkerchief
  • Make with different kinds of cloth besides handkerchiefs
  • Make with larger squares, like bandanas
  • Make a fleet of parachutes and see which one floats the longest.

This suggestion came from a book reviewed in another post on this blog, “How To Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself.” (see Related Posts below)

Click here to order the book yourself.

Did your grandfather teach you to make parachute handkerchiefs?

Did your father use cloth handkerchiefs?

Do you?

To you and teaching your grandchildren simple pleasures with simple things.


Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers

Click here to order this blog on your Kindle.


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