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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Crowdsourced Wedding Dress!

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Your Help Needed!

A Make reader named Monique is about to get married. She would like to adorn her dress with LEDs. She’s just not sure how to. She wrote to us for help and we thought it better to go to you: How would you tackle this problem?

Moreover, we thought to gamify it. Send us your answers or post in the comments below. If Monique chooses your solution (and, we’re afraid, if you reside in the U.S.), we’ll send you a free copy of Kate Hartman’s new title, “Make: Wearable Electronics.”

Ready? Monique writes:

I want to put LED lights on my wedding dress . . . a lot of them. I don’t know what kind to get, or what type of battery power I will need. I would like the dress to change colors, and cycle thru patterns. I really don’t know anything about LED lights or programming anything. Can you recommend something for me to complete my project?

Monique likes the look of this dress. How would you do it?


Stick Figure LED Light Costume

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Looking for a great last-minute Halloween costume for you or your kids? If you just happen to have a strip of LEDs available, attaching them to a black hoodie and pants in a stick figure configuration as “Visual Burrito” did might be an option.

He originally constructed one of these suits for his daughter Zoey, but the tutorial below shows the general layout of this costume for an adult. If you have any experience with electronics, building one shouldn’t be extremely complicated. Attach strips for the torso and arms to the hoodie, then bend one into a circle to attach to the actual hood. Two more strips will be attached to the pants, and all are connected so that only only one power source has to be used.

The tutorial below shows how it’s made, or you can skip to 8:47 to see it in action.

The video’s build shows a single-colored LED strip being used, which should simplify things. Obviously this will limit your lighting options versus an RGB strip. If you want to get even simpler, you can just buy one of these costumes, but given that you’re reading Make’s blog, you might not find that quite as interesting.

Another option would be to make something similar using EL wire (which we happen to sell in our Maker Shed) or strips, or you could even mock something up with glow sticks.


Kid Dresses Up as a Vending Machine and Other Inanimate Objects Every Year for Halloween

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Redditor MoobyTheGoldenCalf appears to have turned the dynamics of the typical trick-or-treater to candy-giver relationship upside down with this ingenious vending machine costume that he made for his son this year. Although it doesn’t actually dispense snacks, there is something wonderfully poetic about the notion of depositing candy into a walking vending machine!

The front has a plastic/plexiglass sheet so that kids don’t run up to him and steal the chips. The slot on the right is the candy deposit slot, so the candy goes down a chute into the “push” bin section at the bottom. The inside of it has a piece of mirror film on the back of the chip area, so that he can see out, but people can’t see him. And the thing lights up too, which is probably a good idea as it’s just a black box from the back.

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The vending machine costume is not the first time that MoobyTheGoldenCalf made his son a clever costume based on an inanimate object. Last year his son dress up as a fantastically functional mailbox, which also accepted candy deposits!

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Other costumes from previous years include a traffic light (with a pedestrian crossing candy bucket!), a recycling bin, and a traffic cone. Not only am I seeing a distinct theme of objects controlled by municipal authorities here, I’m also seeing the development of an amazing collaborative relationship in which MoobyTheGoldenCalf gets to exercise a tremendous amount of creative ingenuity in response to his son’s unorthodox requests. I’d say Kudos, but in this case it looks like Cheetos might be more appropriate.

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[via Technabob]


Justin Favela’s Enigmatic Piñatas

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Artist Justin Favela creates enigmatic works of art through the very DIY medium of piñatas made from just cardboard, paper, and glue. Based in Las Vegas, Favela’s work plays with concepts of Southwestern Chicano culture and the traditional Mexican Catholic interpretation of the piñata with works like his life-sized “Lowrider Piñata.”

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He literally elevates the piñata to a high art context with works like “Donkey Piñata,” which appears to be a reference to Maurizio Catalan’s “The Ballad of Trotsky,” featuring a hanging taxidermied horse.

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“Grande Bang” is made from found piñatas that he assembled to resemble an explosion, just like the candy that might explode from the piñata after being struck by a stick, mimicking the origin of the universe!

Justin Favela's Big Bird sculpture.

Justin Favela's Big Bird sculpture.

His most recent work demonstrates the emotional subtly that it’s possible to achieve with a piñata. In a poignant depiction of Big Bird sprawled on the floor, it’s not clear whether the beloved Sesame Street character is dead or simply sleeping peacefully in this beautifully rendered work.

[via ANIMAL]


How-To: Hocus Pocus Book Replica

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Remember the spell book from Hocus Pocus with the creepy moving eyeball? Since it is the season of Halloween-movie-replica-prop-making, I’ve found a great DIY tutorial that covers the steps required to make a pretty accurate copy!

This tutorial doesn’t include how to make the eyeball actually move, but I would love to see someone hack it with a servo to really up the creep factor! Using something like this Arduino controlled rig created by Tod Kurt.

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Onto the prop making! This tutorial uses a combination of air drying and baked polymer clay for almost all of the details. A mold was used to create exact copies of some of the books embellishments– very smart!

Check out Mizerella’s blog for the full how-to on this project.

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This next book prop is not specifically a Hocus Pocus replica, but I give it two big warty thumbs up for creative use of materials. Those eyeballs are just magazine cut outs with clear glass gems glued on top! This was spotted over at Design DNA.

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