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


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


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.


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!


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.



[via Technabob]

Justin Favela’s Enigmatic Piñatas



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.”


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.


“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


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.


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.


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.


DIY Witch’s Apothecary Bottles

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These little spooky apothecary bottles are such a clever use of materials! Collect up your old spice tins and empty pill bottles to make these totally rad Halloween props. Just add some hot glue details, paint, cork, moss and bark– and you’ve got instant antique containers. This is definitely a project you can do with the kids. Be sure not to pull bark directly from trees. Only use bark that has fallen off on its own, or even better, the stuff that comes in a bag for landscaping (or your neighbor’s garden).

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Check out the full how-to over on Magia Mia’s site.

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Paper Mache Dragon Sculpture


This is not your typical grade school paper mache project. In fact Cindy Williams, had not sculpted anything since high school. Over 10 years later she is inspired by the work of Jonni Good of Ultimate Paper Mache, to take on this incredible project.

Time in total was 8 months and probably well over 400 hours (more than I can recall for sure), but it held my interest all the way through. With masters of mache like Jonni and their helpful websites that share ideas and techniques, I was able to get back into sculpture and turn an idea into a big blue dragon. My message to you is whatever you want to make, don’t wait for the perfect someday, do it now!

Completed dragon, view from below.


Dragon body assembled, before paper mache treatment.

I love when I see projects like this, so well documented and full of great information. This is what the internet was made for– sharing ideas and information. Keep up the awesome work Cindy and Jonni. Click here for the full article.

Be sure to check out Jonni’s site for lots of great homemade paper clay recipes and video tutorials. She is also author of four books about paper mache projects that would make a great gift for anyone wanting to try their hand at this fantastic and frugal art form!


Zombie Cat Costume and Other Creepy Masks

04 jean paul of the dead crouch

Still deciding on your Halloween costume this year? Artist, Ian Langohr might just inspire you with his series of dark and twisted masks. He learned the skills for making these type of heads while working at a mascot company in Toronto, ON. He was then able to take those techniques and put his own personal dark humor into them. I love his process videos, giving you a glimpse into all the steps required to put together something of this caliber. The zombie cat mask titled, Jean Paul of the Dead, was modeled after his furry little feline friend.


Just a few more of his many mask creations.


Chtulhu, 2013

nest self-portrait 08 low res web

Nest, 2009

skull hatch 02 low res web

Hatch, 2008

If you attended the Montreal Mini Maker Faire or the Ottawa Mini Maker Faire this summer, you may have had to chance to meet Ian! He loves to share his work with others, and even lets attendees try them on! Here’s a young girl wearing his Angler Fish mask (and yes it does light up!).


Check out more of Ian’s amazing work over on his website, or stay up to date with his creative projects by liking his Facebook page!

Quilting for Monkeys at The Oregon Zoo (Video)

The Oregon Zoo provides a “make space” for a team of dedicated volunteers who create beautiful and intricate quilts for the primates. Special pockets are even sewn into the quilts for treats!

For more information, visit

Is your local zoo harnessing the skills of makers to help the animals? Let us know!

How-To: Packing Tape Ghost Sculptures

There is something about Halloween decorating that brings out the creative energy in people. It’s not quite the same as Thanksgiving and Christmas. At Halloween you get to really let your imagination run wild with all the fantastic and spooky things you can do to creep out the neighborhood kids.

I am loving these packing tape sculptures, especially when lit up! These suckers are even able to withstand the damp October weather– perfect for an outdoor installation.


Glowing Lady


Legs in a school classroom


Mark Jenkins

As I was looking for more examples of packing tape ghosts, I came across the work of Mark Jenkins. His public installations are too great– humorous and creepy at the same time. I love how he integrates his sculptures into public spaces, causing you to take a second look at what’s around you.  He’s done tons of sculptures that I encourage you to check out on his portfolio website.

Here’s a couple images from his baby series, Storker Project.



Check out Mark’s video showing you how to turn a baby doll into one of these hallow plastic babies seen above.

If you want to take on your own full body sculpture, check out this Instructable that takes you through all the steps.

You’ll be creeping everyone out in no time.