Alphabet Macaroni Woggle

By Don Gubler

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    To make this simple woggle for yourself or for a friend, you will need: ring backing (see below); wood base (sanded piece of tree branch or plywood); wood glue (not airplane glue); toothpick; alphabet macaroni; paint and paintbrush, decal, rub-on transfers, or other small decoration, such as tiny beads, shells, stones (optional); varnish; and knife. The two most important features to look for in a knife are (1) that it fits comfortably in your hand and (2) that the blade is sharp; when these two conditions are met, you are less likely to struggle with it and cut yourself.

    Ring Backing

    Although the backing may be made of many materials—leather, sheet metal, brass or plastic tubing, etc.—of an appropriate size, one of the best is made by simply hollowing out a section of pussy willow about 1/2″ (1.3 cm) in diameter and 1″ (2.5 cm) long.


    1. Position macaroni and any chosen object(s) on wood base, then use toothpick to glue in place. Note: use glue sparingly and only where necessary, because varnish (see Step 3) won’t stick to glue.

    2. When glue is completely dry, paint decoration (optional).

    3. Varnish entire decoration except where base attaches to ring backing.

    Arrow in the Bottle

    The complete arrow was first carved out of one piece of wood, then split lengthwise. Next, the two halves were inserted into the bottle, and a toothpick was used to glue them back together. When the glue was dry, a tiny, bent paintbrush was used to paint the arrow, thus hiding the crack in the wood.

    Photos by Philip Shurtleff