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Hanging Macaw Puzzle

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From the Amazon Jungles to Your Home

When my wife, Joyce, and I traveled to Africa, there were birds everywhere. We thought for sure when we went to Peru that we would see lots of birds, too. As it turns out, that wasn’t the case. The ones we had the best looks at were residents at lodges where we stayed. One morning we woke up to see three macaws on a ceiling rafter looking down at us as we slept. What a way to wake up!

This hanging macaw puzzle reminds me of our Peru trip. For you, it’s a nice eye-catcher for your craft booth. Plus, if you know someone who has an itch for a pet bird, as Joyce did when she found out her twin sister got one, make this puzzle instead. It’s a lot less mess and there are no vet bills. (It’s a great puzzle for kids; don’t make the support and use child-safe paints.)

Step 1: Cut two pieces—the Body and the Support—to overall size.

Step 2: Attach the pattern to the wood using temporary bond spray adhesive. Make sure you spray
the pattern and not the wood.

Step 3: Make the outside cut of the parrot using the #5 blade. Complete the cutting by making all the interior cuts for the puzzle pieces.

Step 4: Lightly sand each puzzle piece to remove all burrs.

Step 5: Glue the pattern to the piece of wood for the support and cut it out with the #5 blade. Make sure the dimension labeled “x” on the pattern is the same thickness as the body.

Step 6: The macaw can be painted though it is better and I recommend that you use wood stains. It is best to use fully transparent intermixable wood stains because paint is too thick. I recommend a product called Woodburst; see SPECIAL SOURCES below. (The macaw shown in the photograph was painted.)

Step 7: Pour the stain into a paper cup or other suitable container for easy application or mixing colors.

Step 8: Dip a rag into a cup and apply generously to all surfaces. You can use artists’ brushes, if you wish. Wipe off excess by dragging the towel with the grain. Let dry for 48 hours.

Step 9: Add the eyelet to the support.

Step 10: Assemble the puzzle and attach it to the support. Now if we could only get the darn thing
to talk!


Woodburst is available from Rockler, www.rockler.com or phone toll free, 800-279-4441, or Woodcraft Supply Corporation, www.woodcraft.com or phone toll free, 800-535-4482 for the store nearest you.


  • 5/8" x 8" x 17" pine (body) Note: 3/4" can be used. Make sure the dimension on the notch is widened
  • 1/2" x 2 1/2" x 8" pine (support)
  • Temporary bond spray adhesive
  • Sandpaper, fine grit
  • Eyebolt, small
  • Wood stains, colors of choice or paint with bright colors



  • #5 skip tooth blade
Image gallery
Finished project
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Comments (19 posted):

Bill Ellis on 10/31/2009 11:20:25
I have been unable to find the patern of the hanging macaw puzzle as I would lick to see if I can make one. Bill Ellis
Haggard3230 on 11/02/2009 21:11:00
That was in an older issue of the magazine, don't remember which one offhand.
Haggard3230 on 11/02/2009 21:15:54
Found it, Fall 2003.
Shannon on 11/03/2009 07:28:51
You can download the pattern right from that article page... It's a little hard to spot until you know where to look - see photo attached.
Haggard3230 on 11/04/2009 20:07:05
I didn't know that Shannon, thanks.
Jan on 11/04/2009 20:59:40
I just finished that puzzle. Gorgeous if I do say so myself. One of my neighbors came by and said "I'll give you $$$ for that." I said, "SOLD". No longer have it to post a picture of. Jan
wood-n-things on 11/08/2009 19:42:26
Now that has moved to the top of my too cut list..well almost to the top I have a couple of commissioned pieces first then it's the macaw..
Jan on 11/08/2009 20:24:04
The buyer took a picture of the macaw for me. Here it is. Jan
scotch on 02/14/2010 18:59:43
I was wondering, so, no glue is used to hold the puzzles intact after being cut? thanks.
Marsha on 02/14/2010 22:20:46
I was wondering, so, no glue is used to hold the puzzles intact after being cut? thanks. Nope no glue Marsha
frieke on 02/15/2010 06:21:46
I like this one, maybe I'll make one for somewhere in the garden after spring. Thanks for sharing,
saw_blade on 03/10/2010 20:27:43
Well, I finished my first macaw. Had some technical help from some (Thank You!), and voila. She actually likes sitting on my shoulder. :icon6:
Jan on 03/10/2010 22:00:35
Well, I finished my first macaw. Had some technical help from some (Thank You!), and voila. She actually likes sitting on my shoulder. :icon6: Beautiful Job!!!!! Jan
wood-n-things on 05/13/2010 15:27:05
These pics do not look like the Macaw is the same on in the mag. They all look larger than the 7" tall,on in the original pattern. Did you folks re-size them?
Marsha on 05/13/2010 19:34:34
Mike, that's exactly what I was trying to point out in the other post. If you use the pattern from the article that is posted on this forum the parrot is only 7 or 8 inches, but if you use the original pattern from the pull out section of the magazine, the parrot is 16 1/2" long, when you hang it on the perch it's another 1". Marsha
wood-n-things on 05/13/2010 20:51:15
Now I understand what you were trying to explain....I was able to enlarge it to fit on 8 1/2 x 14 paper but that was as large as I could do at home. I need to organize my mags so I can find them by issue #.
Fay P on 08/19/2013 21:33:56
The pattern is also in the book called scroll saw work book. I ordered it last night on the Amazon site. I ordered both books and I know this is an old thread, but dern that bird is so cute and I 'm hoping the moto will cut it out for me and not go into mutiny like he did the last couple of days. Ha ha.... If the pattern is not large enough I will enlarge it too or try to cut it in 2 parts. The books will be here on Wednesday. Love that bird! Looking forward to making it. Have a great day,,,Fay
bbofpp on 08/26/2013 10:20:58
I used to put the macaw puzzle out front at craft shows. It was an eye catcher but seldom sold for the $36 asking price.
Fay P on 09/17/2013 13:45:18
I blew up my pattern and I have a nice 17" bird and will cut it out one of these days. I haven't done that yet as I want to get some sort of wood that is not so sappy. If my new scroll doesn't work out I know the Moto saw will cut it out. Every one have a great and yepppers,,, that darned bird is so cute. Fay
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Author info
John A. Nelson
John Nelson is a retired industrial arts educator and the author of The Complete Guide to Making Wooden Clocks and Scroll Saw Workbook. He is considered an expert among scroll saw enthusiasts and is a frequent contributor to Scroll Saw Workshop. He lives in Dublin, New Hampshire. more