Play with web technologies

Create a Yoyo with jQuery and CSS3

April 06, 2010
Attention: This article is old and the content is outdated. I've left the article here for historical purposes.
Create a Yoyo with jQuery and CSS3

Haven't you ever just wanted a yoyo on your webpage? A beautiful, animated, spinning yoyo that slides down like a real yoyo would? I know I have never even thought of it and I probably would never have the need for it either, however it is very useful to learn (If you don't already know) how one would go about creating a yoyo so you could use the techniques for other things. View the demo in Safari/Chrome and take full advantage of the CSS3.

Where to start?

The first thing we need to do is create the images. So open up your vector drawing software (Or Photoshop, I prefer vector programs when I need to draw things) and draw a hand that is holding a yoyo. I used a photo and traced the hand. I inserted the 'yoyo' afterwards. The completed image is broken down into multiple images in order to give the viewer the impression that there is some form of depth to it and the jQuery along with the CSS3 will animate it later. In my example the yoyo goes between layer 1 and layer 2 of the hand. Once that is completed, save the different layers as separate images. These are the images I came up with: hand-back hand-front yoyo


There is very little HTML markup, so it is pretty easy to understand. Each <div> tag is going to contain a separate background-image and eventually the divs will be absolutely positioned. This means we will need to include a container that will ultimately be relatively positioned. We are also going to include a string <div> (I've never seen a functional yoyo without a string before).

<div id="container">
    <div id="hand-back"></div>
    <div id="hand-front"></div>
    <div id="string"></div>
    <div id="yoyo"><a href="#">{CSS: +; }</a></div>


#container {
    height: 550px;
    width: 331px;
    position: relative;
#hand-front {
    background: url(../images/hand-front.png) no-repeat left top;
    height: 169px;
    width: 331px;
    position: absolute;
    left: 0;
    top: 20px;
    z-index: 400;
#hand-back {
    background: url(../images/hand-back.png) no-repeat left top;
    height: 99px;
    width: 190px;
    position: absolute;
    left: 128px;
    top: 43px;
    z-index: 100;
#string {
    background: #79694c;
    border: 1px solid #3b2f1d;
    height: 20px;
    width: 2px
     position: absolute;
    top: 47px;
    left: 243px;
    z-index: 200;
#yoyo {
    background: url(../images/yoyo.png) no-repeat center center;
    height: 150px;
    width: 150px;
    position: absolute;
    left: 169px;
    top: 47px;
    z-index: 300;
#yoyo a {
    color: white;
    display: block;
    font-size: 20px;
    font-weight: bold;
    line-height: 150px;
    margin-left: 27px;
#yoyo a:hover {
    text-decoration: none;
    text-shadow: 0 0 15px #000;
.rotate {
    -webkit-animation-name: yoyo;
@-webkit-keyframes yoyo {
    from {-webkit-transform:scale(1) rotate(0deg);}
    to {-webkit-transform:scale(1) rotate(360deg);}

Most of this CSS is just giving the background, height, position, width and z-index to the corresponding ID which creates our desired image out of the multiple images we have and the '#yoyo a' is just styling and positioning the {CSS: +; } link. The interesting part is the .rotate class. This is the awesome CSS3 that is causing the yoyo to spin in Webkit based browsers (Chrome and Safari). Unfortunately there is no pure CSS way to get an object to spin like this in other browsers.

The jQuery

I've used the jQuery easing plugin to give the yoyo a more visually appealing animation effect.

$(document).ready(function() {
        function() {
                .animate({ height: "400px" }, { duration: 1000, easing: "easeOutBack" });
                .animate({ top: "400px" }, { duration: 1000, easing: "easeOutBack" });
        function() {
                .animate({ height: "20px" }, { duration: 600, easing: "easeInOutExpo" });
                .animate({ top: "47px" }, { duration: 600, easing: "easeInOutExpo" });

    $("#yoyo a").hover(function() {

Explanation based on line numbers

  • 1: When the DOM is ready
  • 3: When you hover on the #container
  • 4: Add the class of .rotate to #yoyo
  • 5: Animate the current height to 400px within the duration of 1000 milliseconds (1 second) and use easing easeOutBack
  • 6: Animate the current top property to 400px within the duration of 1000 milliseconds and use easing easeOutBack
  • 7: When the object is not being hovered
  • 8: Remove the class of .rotate from #yoyo
  • 9: Animate the current height property to 20px within the duration of 1000 milliseconds and use easing easeInOutExpo
  • 10: Animate the current top property to 47px within the duration of 1000 milliseconds and use easing easeInOutExpo
  • 13: When you hover over #yoyo a
  • 14: Toggle the class .rotate

There we go. A digital yoyo!