Life with Leo

November 6, 2007


Filed under: Tinkertoys — Tags: , , — fehlhaber @ 11:27 pm

Tinker Toy Manual

We’ve been having a lot of fun with Tinkertoys lately. Leo got a set for his 4th birthday and it came at just the right time. Today I found an old “Direction and Idea Book” from 1959 (made by The Toy Tinkers, a Division of A.G. Spalding & Bros. Inc., Evanston, Illinois). The little drawings are hilarious. It tells you, in a humorous way, not to get them wet how you can fix them when they break.

I’ve got three different sets of instructions that I’m posting (each is four pages long — clicking on the images should give you a bigger-than-screensize image that you can build from).

I’ve just added PDFs for all these manuals.  If you enjoy them enough, why not  add a $1 or $2 to our “Tinkertoy Manual Fund” — we’ll post & scan new manuals as we find them!  Or maybe we’ll just buy an ice cream cone!

The full basic manual (and donation link) is below

The intermediate-level manual is here

and the advanced manual is here

(click on photos to link to larger images from the basic manual)

Vintage Tinkertoy Manual page 1Vintage Tinkertoy Manual page 2img_7137.jpg


  1. Thank you very much! Took a chance that we’d find something online, and appreciate instructions that I can understand.
    From a grateful mom!

    Comment by Viesia — December 27, 2008 @ 9:52 am

  2. the hasbro instructions are still there just need to dig a little

    scroll way down to tinkertoy section

    Comment by Anonymous — December 27, 2008 @ 4:01 pm

  3. I would like to thank-you for posting the instructions.My son and I will have a great time building together.

    Comment by Darren — January 3, 2010 @ 1:48 pm

  4. Dear Sir,

    Thank you for all your instructions on your website. I bought some Tinkertoy parts at a house sale, which had torn instructions in black print. There are many projects shown but a portion is missing. The title of the instructions is: “Instructions for the Tinker Toy, The Wonder Builder”
    I would love to obtain a copy of the complete instructions, and would like to send you a copy of what I have now.
    May I ask you to send me an Email address where I can send you copies of a few of these pages.

    Thank you for any help you can give me.

    Best Wishes,

    Steve Lepp
    Verona, NJ

    Comment by Steve Lepp — February 3, 2010 @ 6:33 pm

    • Hi Steve,

      I hope you have fun with your set. What you have sounds like a manual I haven’t see, so I’m afraid I can’t fill in the missing pieces. Happy Building! Kristen

      Comment by fehlhaber — February 3, 2010 @ 8:53 pm

  5. Hi!
    You are awesome. Bought some tinkertoys at thrift store & found your instructions on-line. I’m my grandson’s hero and you are mine!! haha

    Have a great day!!!

    Comment by jenny — July 31, 2010 @ 12:46 pm

    • Thanks for saying thanks! And I’m glad your grandson is having fun with Tinkertoys!

      Comment by fehlhaber — August 1, 2010 @ 2:44 pm

  6. Thanks so much – tinkertoy instructions were wonderful to find!!

    Comment by Grandma Missy — September 26, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

  7. Love these!! Thanks for sharing them!

    Comment by — April 29, 2012 @ 9:52 pm

  8. I’m trying to leave a couple bucks in your account but your PayPal “Donate” button isn’t linking me to your information. Care to email me your email address? I’d like to show my appreciation!

    Comment by — April 29, 2012 @ 10:13 pm

  9. […] 1959.  You can grab the PDFs for basic, intermediate, and advanced level manuals at the blog, Life With Leo.   Each manual consists of 4 pages.  You can show your appreciation to the site owners for taking […]

    Pingback by Tinkering with Tinker Toys | Teaching Stars — April 29, 2012 @ 11:13 pm

  10. Love these patterns. Just what I wanted. But I, too, am having problems leaving a donation. Let me know how.

    Comment by Phyllis Douglas — February 27, 2014 @ 9:37 am

  11. Awesome. I passed on the tinker toys to mev4 yr old grandson, but after 4 older boys, the instructions have been misplaced. Can you E-mail me the PDFs?

    Comment by Carole Graves — December 19, 2015 @ 2:31 am

  12. Thank you so much! From Wooster, OHIO USA This grandpa is making his own tinkertoys after EBay patterns, for the children and this is perfect. I tried to leave a donation but had trouble getting it to open up, so please advise what I was doing wrong. I have a Paypal acct so it should have been no problem.

    Comment by steve griffin — December 12, 2017 @ 10:14 pm

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