Milk and Honey Soap

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As an engineer, I tend to gravitate towards the mechanical and electrical posts for Make, but all of us (hopefully) use soap. Some days, like when doing preventive maintenance, engineers need quite a lot of it, and possibly even a new set of clothing.

In the video below, you can see some of what appears to be the original process of making “Milk and Honey Soap.” In it, goat milk is combined with honey (and possibly other ingredients) then poured into a mold. The business started out as having goats as pets. When the goats produced more milk than was needed, and beehives were also available, soap was conceived of as a use for their excess farm products.  It quickly grew to more than the owner was able to produce (even with her kids helping, apparently)!

Although they no longer keep their own bees or goats, appearances are still made at the Santa Fe farmer’s market. Although things have expanded, the focus of this business is still on “making beautiful, natural products with the bounty of rich goat milk and warm golden honey and beeswax.”

A lot of us make stuff with the goal of entertaining ourselves, but it’s really neat to see something like this turn into a sustainable business!


Dollar Store Hack: The Hunger Games Gold Collectible Plate

Does anyone out there remember the passion people had in acquiring collectible decorative plates back in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s? Names like The Bradford Exchange, The Franklin Mint and Royal Doulton were pumping out limited edition decorative plates destined for the dining room hutch and our parents’ ‘do not touch anything on there’ tables everywhere. Ah, those were the days!

Since that time, collectible plates have lost a lot of their luster as sought after collectibles due to over-production. However, there’s still a unique allure to having a fancy looking artistic display piece you will never ever eat food off of. To me at least, collectible plates still have a niche appeal to them.

After discovering my local dollar store sells real tempered plates for $2 apiece, I decided the time had come to create a one-of-a-kind decorative plate based on a more personalized sense of style, versus the over-produced dust collectors that killed the collectible plate market in the first place.

My first collectible/decorative plate is a homage to The Hunger Games and Jennifer Lawrence’s iconic character Katniss Everdeen.

I will honestly say that I do greatly enjoy The Hunger Games franchise. I was surprised how much I enjoyed watching the first installment after my young niece dragged me to the theater kicking and screaming (I was still traumatized from the forced Twilight movie outing nightmare). But now thanks to my bragging niece, I love The hunger Games and was excited to make my first collectible plate about the strong and respectable Katniss character!

Making a collectible plate is ridiculously easy! Just get a quality dollar store plate (sounds like an oxymoron, but they do exist now), spray paint of the color you want and create an image on your computer. Spray paint the plate and while it dries, print the image, place double-sided tape on the back, cut out and stick down on the plate. Easy-peasy!

The finished plate will look gorgeous and will make a great personalized gift for Christmas. This technique can be used to make a collectible plate about anything your heart desires.

So happy designing and let’s fill that hutch or shelf with some amazing and personalized one-of-a-kind masterpieces!

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Steampunking a VR Headset

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Virtual Reality is on the rise which has prompted a new trend of homemade 3D viewers that are starting to surface as more and more people experiment with VR.

This particularly fun instructables project was made by a guy named Jay Kent who owns and operates a Leather & Fine Arts shop in Tampa, Florida. He took a cardboard Dodocase headset (which is a branded version of the open-source effort by Google to get virtual reality into the hands of makers around the world), and made it his own.

With the cardboard VR headset ready to go, Kent decided it would be great to modify it with a unique Steampunk-style centering around something that would look like it was invented on the fly, which is partly what the Steampunk culture is all about.

A collection of gears, bit, bobs, doohickies, and a variety of other miscellaneous metal pieces were rounded up. With a little bit of preparation and planning, the outer design was created.

The trick was to make everything fit together and didn’t cover up the front flip-down area where the phone would go. Being that cardboard virtual reality headsets like this required a smartphone to be inserted, it was critical to leave that functionality in tact while sprucing up the outside of the viewer.

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Thin pieces of wood were then laser cut into interconnecting gears that were hot glued to the edges of the cardboard frame after primer and paint was applied. Just enough material was added to coat the outside while making sure not to turn to cardboard into a wet, saturated pulp.

Once the pieces were added and painted up, the headset was smoothed out and embellished to make it more polished while at the same time giving it a rustic, old Victorian look.

This unique headset is sure to gather up attention as it ventures out into the growing VR community. Step-by-step instructions are available online posted in the link above, meaning that anyone can take this initial design and recreate it with their own innovative style.

Soon additional people will create their custom versions of virtual reality headset, so be on the lookout for more projects like this emerge as the new VR culture takes off like a wildfire!

If you do fashion together your own version, be sure to link to it in the comments section below so the world can see what you have made.


Dollar Store Hack: Cardboard Articulating Baby Groot

The world has been enthralled with the emergence of a cute little superhero once considered a cheesy one-time Marvel horror monster from the 60s. Groot has quickly become a fan favorite of comic buffs everywhere and his ‘Baby Groot’ form is even more popular.

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Toys and figurines of Baby Groot have been popping up in marketplaces worldwide. However, instead of buying a moveable Baby Groot, it is incredibly easy to make one’s own with very basic and inexpensive materials. A quick trip to the dollar store can provide you everything needed to create a fun Baby Groot desktop toy.

Forget bobbleheads – 2014 is the year of the moving and grooving Baby Groot!

 

 


How-To: Mold Making for a Missing Handle

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One day you may find yourself with the same conundrum Nancy found herself facing– having a gorgeous antique furniture piece with one missing handle.

With a trip to the craft supply store and a little advice from the staff, she was able to make a replica handle by molding and casting it in Sculpey oven bake clay.

There are definitely fancier mold making materials out there, and ones that will produce a better long term solution to replacing a piece of hardware. However, for a one-off mold and for the price, I am quite impressed with the results.

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Before trying something like this, consider how much the piece will get used. If you will need to pull on it, or is it simple for decoration? All of these factors will determine which materials are right for your project.

To see how Nancy completed her project, check out her blog, Artsy Chicks Rule.


10 DIY Thanksgiving Mason Jar Ideas

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Thanksgiving is coming up quick! If you’re looking for last minute DIY decor ideas, here are some that using mason jars. Mason jars are great for crafting because of all the things you can do with them! You can paint them, stuff them, hang them, and give them as gifts. And since there are lots of fun things involving painting, baking, and making, you can even get the kids involved too!


Talkin’ Tinkering with the Masters of Automata

Keith Newstead's pieces "In the Garden with Charlie" and "Sing Cats Heads"

Keith Newstead’s pieces “In the Garden with Charlie” and “Sing Cats Heads”

The Exploratorium Tinkering Studio invites all of you to join a Hangout this Friday, November 21st from 9am to 10:30am (Pacific time) to talk about one of their true specialties—Automata!—with some of their favorite masters of this art/technology.

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Joining the Tinkering Studio team will be a star-studded group:

  • artist Keith Newstead (whose pieces are at the top of this post)
  • Gautham and Vanya from Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology
  • Monika and Allan from Lawrence Hall of Science
  • Brooke from Oakland’s International High School

While this will be tailored mostly for those who are teaching others to make automata, anyone and everyone is welcome. Karen from the Tinkering Studio writes:

We’re huge fans of automata here in the Tinkering Studio and think we could dedicate several hangouts to this topic alone, since it’s such rich territory for exploration. It’s one of those activities we think holds tremendous potential for making and tinkering, but isn’t the easiest one to facilitate in an open and “tinkerable” way — that’s why we think it’s worth thinking more about.

You’ll hear from an interesting mix of people, who will share their experiences working with automata in different contexts and thinking about the educational implications. We have a rough outline of what we’ll cover below, but it’s likely to change based on where collective interest takes us.

This hangout will be useful to both education and exhibit folks and those with an interest in arts education in general (think STEAM).

On the agenda:

  • Material possibilities / wire, cardboard, trash, flotsam, food
  • The importance of examples – figuring out what the right selection is
  • Automata Workbench: An interactive exhibit prototype
  • Trying to move it away from being step-by-step
  • Mini-revelations related to construction
  • Transition from intensive workshop to doing it on the floor
  • Automata artists
  • Training someone else to facilitate the activity
  • The tradeoffs in terms of creativity
  • Automata as part of arts education
  • Incorporating circuitry and linkages

Participate

This promises to be a visual delight. Join live or if you have to miss it, watch the recorded archive.

To be able to ask questions live, use the Google+ event page. You’ll need a Google+ account to participate.

Or view the hangout via YouTube, but viewers won’t be able to ask questions of the presenters.


Vox & Dolly's Pac-Man Electric Guitar Pillow

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If you played a lot of guitar and Pac-Man growing up, then Natalie and Wolfgang of Vox & Dolly may have just stuffed all your teenage nostalgia into one plushy package with this beautiful Pac-Man electric guitar pillow.

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This pillow is just one of many that the crafty duo have put together, and it’s amazing how well fabric patterns work with the iconic shape of a guitar, which is perfect for snuggling up with, especially while listening to a Pac-Man themed lullaby played on electric guitar by Youtube user The Cesar Experience.

And, if you happen to be an electric guitar and Pac-Man lover, then you can learn how to play the theme on guitar for yourself with this handy video tutorial by BobbyCrispy!

[via Technabob]


Ultimate Beetlejuice Costume

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If you’re a fan of the movie Beetlejuice you may have had the idea to create a costume based on this character. “Mr. Noack,” however, decided to take this costume several steps further, and made the house, sandworm, and even a printed background, all modeled after the movie poster.  If you haven’t seen the movie (as I admittedly have not), it’s still easy to see how much time and effort went into building it and doing a great writeup.

The house was built mostly out of blue foam, as, according to Noack, “It’s cheap, reliable, easy to work with, and most importantly, it’s light weight.” My experience is pretty limited with this material, but for something meant to be displayed for a short time, it looks like a great substance to get familiar with. The details are well thought-out, including melamine siding, doors and windows, and a fully mocked-up foyer area. There’s even a printed background!

Of course that doesn’t even start to cover the actual costume. This consisted of a mask that went through several iterations, the actual black and white striped suit, and even a sandworm. I seriously need to see the movie, as I thought that was something from Dune.  Check out the video below for video of this amazing setup.

The word “epic” may be overused, but as claimed in the video, I think this truly qualifies as an “Epic Beetlejuice Costume.”


How-To Video: Ghosts from Packing Tape

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This project was inspired by my recent post about packing tape sculptures other people have made. I really wanted to try it out myself and show you guys just how easy it is to do!

To make this project you’ll need the following:

  • A large roll of clear packing tape,
  • A small roll of clear tape,
  • A weighted tape dispenser, and
  • A pair of scissors

Check out this video for the full how-to.

 

Don’t forget to add some LED lights to your sculpture to take it up an extra creepy notch. I just used some small flashlights I had handy (no pun intended).

These would make a wicked front lawn installation with rows of hands coming up from the ground. Now that I’ve got that image in your head, I hope you’ll grab a roll and start wrapping!

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