Wooden Toy- Alligator

We decided to make a special present for our teachers at school. One of the teachers really loved alligators. 

Please note, this material is provided for informational purposes only and is not a guide on how to create the designs.  Please read our disclaimer.

Cutting the wood for a toy wooden alligator

So we set out to make one out of wood. First we cut the wood into the rough shape of the toy.

Using a drill press to create a wooden toy alligator

Next  drilled the wood  that we cut. We cut lots of little pieces so the tail could move and each needed a hole drilled.Planing the wood for a toy wooden alligator

To smooth the edges we used a wood plane.  Then we sanded each piece with fine grain sandpaper. For the details on the head we made rough cuts using an alligator saw then sanded repeated to get the shape we wanted.

A handcrafted wooden toy alligatorWe laid out the final design before threading the wire through the holes we drilled.

Threading a pipecleaner through pieces of wood for a handcrafted wooden toy alligator

Here we are threading the wire though the holes.  We used pipe cleaners to get a snug fit.  This will make the toy alligator flexible but will also hold its shape well.

Finished toy wooden alligator

Here is the  completed alligator! We named him Claude  after the alligator  in the San Francisco Academy of Sciences.

Steampunk Contraption Model Beta

The Hip Monsters team decided to make something that interests people when they walk into the room. Inspired by Girl Genius, we made a mysterious steampunk device that only we know the use of. 

Handmade steampunk device
Our amazing steampunk device.

This is our steampunk creation. It has two light bulbs, a pressure gauge, and some metal pipes. The light bulbs’ brightness is adjustable. 

DIY steampunk device
The side view

This is the side view of our device. You can see that on the side of the creation, there is a silver metal box. That controls the brightness of the lightbulbs.

DIY steampunk device
The back view

On the back, you can see that there is a wire going from the silver box away from the device. that is where you plug in the device to the outlet. From the front it is barely noticeable, you can only see it from certain angles.

Potion Cabinet

 With all the potion-making we have been doing recently, we found that we needed a place to put our potion supplies on the go, so we made a potion cabinet fit for the experts of potion-making. Professor Slughorn’s portable potions kit was the main inspiration for this creation.

Please note, this material is provided for informational purposes only and is not a guide on how to create the designs.  Please read our disclaimer.

Getting started on a DIY wood working project, a DIY wooden cabinet.
Getting started

We used the following supplies; a hammer, a saw, four 90-degree angle clamps, black paint, blue paint, mahogany-colored wood stain, 

Clamping corners. DIY wooden cabinet.
Using clamps to get a tight fit

The core of the cabinet is the frames. These carry the weight of the bottles and hold the cabinet’s shape. To make the frames, we cut the beams into 12 inches and glued them together, using the 90-degree angle clamps for making a strong right angle. 

DIY wooden cabinet making progress.
Getting the pieces ready for assembling.

All the sides and frames are ready for assembly. All pieces need to be cut out before you start assembling to make sure that you don’t forget a piece.

Assembling our DIY wooden cabinet.
Gluing the pieces together.

We ran a bead of glue on all the edges of the frames. We made sure to only put a little glue to prevent sliding. 

Clamping our DIY wooden cabinet together.
Clamping the cabinet together.

Then we use clamps to firmly secure the sides to the frame. 

Strengthening our DIY wooden cabinet.
Hammering in nails for support.

Once we were sure the glue had dried we went on to the next steps. For added strength, we put in a few thin nails on the bottom and sides.

DIY wooden cabinet is taking shape!
Measuring the box for the shelf.

We measured for the interior shelf after we put the cabinet together to make sure we have a snug fit.

Our DIY wooden cabinet now has a shelf.
Cutting the corners of the shelf.

Next we cut out slots on all the corners so the shelf following the outside of the line then sanded to fit the cabinet.

Our DIY wooden box can be transported.
Attaching the handle to the top.

 

Finally, we added a handle on top to make transportation easier. Since the outside plywood was thin to make the cabinet light, we added an extra piece of wood underneath to secure the handle. we used thin screws so we don’t split the extra piece of wood.

DIY wooden cabinet
The fully assembled cabinet.

Here is the assembled cabinet ready for staining and painting. We are looking for a vintage look so we need to do multiple layers and light distressing. 

We used this video for Our Up Cycled Life to help us get started.

Staining our DIY wooden cabinet.
Staining the cabinet.

We stained the cabinet and left it outside to dry. The shelf and front were stained separately to make sure that we got the stain in all the nooks and crannies. 

Making our DIY wooden cabinet's wood look distressed.
Adding wax circles on the top of the cabinet.

We used candles to make wax circles around the cabinet. We do this because when we paint it, the paint on the wax would peel off, creating a distressed look.

Painting our DIY wooden cabinet.
Painting the cabinet.
Giving our DIY wooden cabinet a vintage look.
Sanding some of the paint off.

Then, we mixed the black paint and the blue paint, creating a dark blue, and painted the cabinet. We used dark blue because when black paint gets old, it looks like dark blue. 

We lightly sanded the painted wood, showing the stain underneath. We can repeat this process to get the aged look that we desired.  Here is a view of the completed potion cabinet with the vintage finish.

DIY wooden cabinet
Photo with the cabinet door.

Here is a view with the case close for safe transportation!

DIY wooden cabinet with the door.
The door closed.

 

 

Here is the completed potion cabinet with a vintage finish.

Happy crafting!

The Making of Number Three

The Making of Number 3

We saw the need for a new robot for halloween, so we made one. This is our steampunk squirrel powered robot Number 3. We wanted it to be as big as a kid to help with our Halloween decorations. Our other robots were small and not easy to see.  Our plan was for a big robot with lights and room to grow as we came up with new ideas. 

Please note, this material is provided for informational purposes only and is not a guide on how to create the designs.  Please read our disclaimer.

Getting started on steampunk inspired robot
Getting started

These are some of the parts that we used. We gathered most of it from unused parts from other projects. This project ended up being a great way to recycle old parts and scapes and it made it look even more steam-punky.

Odd and ends for the steampunk inspired robot
Scrape parts

We used PVC pipes for the skeleton of our robot because its strong and lightweight. Also we had fitting from remodeling that would attach to the pipes and let us hangs details. The pipes are standard so if we did need to buy anything it would be easy.

Completed steampunk inspired robot
Completed Robot

The image to the right is the completed robot. The starting images ended up not as good as we expected so the final image was the best to show how the tubing was used. First, we cut the pipes to the right size using one of us to figure out lengths arms, legs and spine. Then we assembled it and added feet to keep it stable as we worked.  The feet were harder than expected to get the right balance and weight. We used concrete bolts with extra washers as needed. 

Then we assembled the PVC pipes and painted it with two coats.  The first was sliver; the second was bronze.  Next, we used an old security camera mount and attached a plastic jar on the neck. We added a toy squirrel inside and a few parts that looked like little controls for it. We named the squirrel Professor Brookenhoff.

For a fake engine core we used an old battery powered lantern connected to an old water bottle. 

Building the gear box for the steampunk inspired robot
Assembling the gear box

Now we started on the fake control box. To make is steampunk we used gears and only a few wires. Then we assembled the gears to control the robot. We used old wood as a base and stain and distressed it by hitting it with a hammer. 

After that, we drilled a bunch of holes on the back and put thin, long bolts through them to create a framework for the gears.  Before we assembled it we laid out the gears on the table in the pattern we wanted then transferred the gears to the rig.  You must remember to lay out the gears in the opposite way you want them in the rig.

Gear box side view for steampunk inspired robot
Side view of the gear box

Here is a view of gears completed with the control boxes on each side. 

The gears took the most time and ended up being a lot harder than we imagined.  It was difficult to screw the tiny nuts into place to give it a 3d look. Also, the bolts proved to be sharp. We attached some gears to the side of the control boxes so it would look like they actually controlled the gears.

Close up of the gear box to the steampunk inspired robot
Close up of the gear box

Then we attached a box to run the wirer through. We had a plan on the gears, engine, wire, pistons that we made before we started work that was our best attempt at design an honest working robot. The things we added is what Number 3 would have needed if it was real.

Side view of the gear box for the steampunk inspired robot
Side view

We then added a second box next to the gears for attaching the control wires.  

Close up of the gear box for the steampunk inspired robot
Close up

Here is a close up of the gears. Getting a 3-D design is important to make it look real. Each gear needs two bolts. One on top and one on the bottom. Make sure they are tightly screwed together. 

Back view of the steampunk inspired robot
Back view

Now we focused on putting on details that would make it look like Number 3 could move. Since it was supposed to be steam powered we used four left over pistons. We attached pneumatic tubing to the pistons then attached the other end to the engine. The idea is the power from the engine would create steam, and Professor Brookenhoff would give commands to the gears which would send the steam to the right piston to make it move.  The idea of the head came from Carmichael from The Umbrella Academy.

Feet for the steampunk inspired robot
Close up of the feet

As we added more details to Number 3, we also needed to add more heavy things to the feet for stability.

Close up of the head of the steampunk inspired robot
Close up of the head

A close up of Professor Brookenhoff piloting Number 3.

Close up of the chest of the steampunk inspired robot
Close up of the chest

A close up of the tubing from the engine to the joints.

 

Side view of steampunk inspired robot
Side View

Number 3 from side view. Here you can see the hands which also ended up being hard to make. Finally we made the hands out of wires and springs so it can hold things.

Front view of steampunk inspired robot
Front View

Here is the final completed robot.

Ladder Bookcase

How to Make a Ladder Bookcase

This project is about how to build a ladder-like bookcase. This bookcase has less room because its sides slope in towards the top but fit well into small spaces and is very sturdy, a perfect place for books!  This design was inspired by a model designed by Vico Magistretti.

Please note, this material is provided for informational purposes only and is not a guide on how to create the designs.  Please read our disclaimer.

Supplies required to build a DIY Ladder bookcase
All the Supplies Laid Out

First, you get all the materials:

    • 2 clamps
    • a bottle of wood glue
    • 5  48 X 3.5 X .5 inch wood planks (we used reclaimed wood)
    • 4  36 X 5/8 inch Oak Dowel Rods  
    • 4 48X 2 X 3/4 inch cheery wooden boards
    • a saw
    • sandpaper ( Course and fine grit)
    • drill
    • 3/4 inch bit

 

  • 4 MDF Wood Board 6x8x.0785
  • Wood Stapler
  • No Screws or nails!
Measuring for a DIY ladder bookcase
Measuring carefully

Now you can begin. First, on the 48X 2 X 3/4 inch cherry beam make a straight line one inch from the top. This you will line up with the edge of the circular saw.  

Cutting wood for a DIY ladder bookcase
Cutting carefully

Next, you cut a twenty-degree angle so that the tip touches the corner.

Using Japanese saw to build for a DIY ladder bookcase
Our Japanese saw in good use

Then, if there is access cut it off while not impacting the angle.

Measuring agin for building a DIY ladder bookcase
Measuring again

Then, you make dots 11 inches apart in the center of the 48X 2 X 3/4 inch cherry beams. 

Clamping wood to align drilling for a DIY ladder bookcase
Clamping wood to align drilling

Next, you clamp both pieces of wood together, to make drilling more accurate.

Drilling holes for a DIY wooden ladder bookcase
Drilling carefully

Then, you drill a hole on all the dots while keeping the wood clamped together.

All the holes align for our DIY wooden ladder bookcase
All the holes align!

Then, put them aside to use later.

Planning out next steps for a a DIY wooden ladder bookcase
Planning out the next steps

Then, mark 3 of the 48 by 3.5 by 0.5-inch wooden boards at 22 inches. 

Measuring the support for a a DIY wooden ladder bookcase
Measuring the support

Next, measure a 36 X 5/8 inch pole and mark it at fifteen inches.

Cutting the support for a a DIY wooden ladder bookcase
Cutting the support poles

Then, cut the pole at your mark, repeat 9 times. if the pole is too wide for your hole, sand it, if it is too thin, then wedge some pieces of wood between the pole and the hole. 

Partially asembled DIY wooden ladder bookcase
Almost assembled!

Next, stick the poles in the holes that you drilled so that it looks like this. After that, put the other two wood beams on the other side as well. Make sure not to alternate. 

Measuring the shelves for the DIY wooden ladder bookcase
Measuring the shevles

Nearly done, mark the other three 48 X 3.5 X .5 inch boards at 30 inches each. 

Cutting the shelves for the DIY wooden ladder bookcase
Clamping the shelves for cutting

Finally, clamp all three of the boards together. Then, cut them at 30 inches while keeping them clamped, and remember to use both sides for shelves. 

Cutting the shelves for a DIY wooden ladder bookcase
Cutting the shelves

Congratulations, you’re Ladder bookcase is complete, Happy Crafting!

Finished DIY wooden ladder bookcase
Finished!

The finished shelves was quickly put into use for storing our large StaTrek fiction and RPG book collection. 

 

Handmade Pump Drill

Comleted Pump Drils
Comleted Pump Drils

The Hip Monster’s sister team has created DIY instructions for a pump drill.  Pump drills are ancient tools used by many cultures including Native Americans. The sisters got the idea from seeing pump drills made by the Miwok tribe who are native to California.

Please note, this material is provided for informational purposes only and is not a guide on how to create the designs.  Please read our disclaimer.

Supplies for a handmade pump drill.
Supplies

Equipment:

  1. saw
  2. drill
    1. spade drill bit ~1 inch
    2. drill bit 1/8 inch
  3. spokeshave
  4. sandpaper
  5. string 
  6. bee’s wax
  7. three long, straight branches

Branches:

1) shaft: the centerpiece of the pump drill. Look for a long, straight, and thin piece of wood.

2) spindle whorl: Attached near the tip of the shaft and makes the drill rewind. This piece should be heavy and thick enough the shaft can go through it.

3) handle: What you hold onto. This piece should be just thick enough for the shaft to go through.

First, you pick out three straight pieces of wood, one long and skinny, and the other two thick. Make sure the handle and the spindle ones are thick enough for the shaft to go through. Cut off the extra parts making sure to leave a bit extra on each end. 

This se should look like this. The extra inch on each side of the sticks are so you can secure them to a vice for shaving.  

The first one will be the spindle, the second the handle, and the last the shaft.

 

Next, spokeshave the pieces to make them smooth. Be very careful while spoke shaving you don’t want to make any of the pieces too thin or curved. Continuously flip the piece over to get to make all the sides even.  Sometime when there is a knot or we accidentally cut into the wood an adult can help smooth it out. 

For the main shaft spokeshave till it is as straight as possible. To find out which side to shave roll the stick on a table and see which part is bent up. For the handle and spindle, you just need to get the bark off.

Now cut the piece to the right size. Make sure the thin one is the longest. Measure out the right size before you cut it.

Sand the pieces to make them really smooth. Spend more effort on the shaft.  Remember, the shaft needs to be smooth and straight for the pump drill to work. They should look like this when done.

 

Drill the holes in the two thick pieces. The with of the holes should be a bit bigger than the diameter of the shaft. When drilling, go slowly to avoid splitting. Make sure you drill in the middle of the wood.

When done you should have two big holes in the large pieces big enough for the shaft.  

 

For drilling hole likes these where the edge of the drill bit comes close to the vice we let an adult do the final set up and test. 

After you have drilled all the holes apply bee’s wax.  The bee’s wax makes them smooth and help avoid splitting.

To apply the bee’s wax use an old towel.  Since bee’s wax does not go bad we use the same rag repeated for other projects.

Drill two holes at the tip of the shaft the same width as the string you will be using. Measure the string and put the string through it. 

Now drill holes at both ends of the handle. Make sure the hole is in the same direction as the shaft hole.   

Next, assemble the pump drill by sliding the shaft through the handle.  

Then loop the string through the two holes you drilled in the handle.

Adjust the string so that the center stick if a little less than halfway down the pole. Then tied knots on both ends of the string.

Now slide the spindle onto the shaft.  

Use a thin board of wood like the one shown in the photo and break off a strip. 

Wedge the strip of wood in the gap to make the fit tight.  Add more strips of wood as needed. The spindle should not be able to move.

And finally cut a slot at the end of the shaft by cutting two parallel cuts. Then use a chisel to clean up the notch. Secure a sharp stone shaped like an arrow tip with string.

 

Yay! You finished!

Now you have a pump drill. 

You use the drill by first winding it up. Then gently push down on the handle. Let the string rewind itself (thanks to the spindle whorl). Do not push the stick up but let the pump drill wind back then, again, gently push down.

 

Flame Tamer

Wand

 Flame Tamer 

 

Mythos

Flame Tamer was created on a hot sunny day which gave its power to control fire. 

Special Spell  

Control fire.

First, create a circle of fire. Then speak the incantation:

ignis coercere

While waving the wand in a circle then thrusting the wand through toward the flames.  Focus your mind on an animal, like a hawk or a wolf, that you are most aligned with. The fire will assume the shape of that animal and will obey your commands. 

It is 16 inches long.  This wand was made from pine and was soaked in rose petals and red clay. it was spoke shaved with a small bend in the middle. 

Every wand comes with its lore and a special spell that is made especially for it.

Happy Casting!

Scarlet Sunset

Wand

Scarlet Sunset

Mythos

Scarlet Sunset was crafted as the sun was setting so its magic is strongest at night. For difficult spells, it is recommended to wait till a new moon. It plays well with fire and can even use fire as a healing energy to cure people and creatures.

Special Spell

Incendium Purgatio (Fire purification) 

It is 14 3/4 inches long. Made of poplar grown in the Hip Monster’s realm. The wood was spoke shaven straight, soaked in oil with a rosemary and chives blend then polished with bee’s wax.

Every wand comes with its lore and a special spell that is made especially for it.

Happy Casting!

Sun-Moon-Earth Orrery

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Getting started

Need to track the moon phases for that perfect time to cast a spell? Worried about when you are due to change into a werewolf?

The following instructions are for a quick DIY Sun-Earth-Moon Orrery we did for a school project.  This is suitable for ages 6 to 12 but may need adult supervision.  We were inspired by this article in instructables.com but needed a much simpler design.

Please note, this material is provided for informational purposes only and is not a guide on how to create the designs.  Please read our disclaimer.

 

Equipment

Equipment:

  • Drill
  • Pliers
  • Wire Cutters

Parts:

  • Plywood (10 X 10 inches)
  • 4 inch bolt with 3 nuts and 3 washers
  • 2 inch bolt with 3 nuts and 3 washers
  • 3 foam balls of different sizes
  • 9 inches of thick wire (may use coat hangers)
  • 5 inches of thin wire (may use pipe cleaner)  
  • Foam padding

Step 1

First, measure the center hole for the main screw.  This screw will support the Sun, Earth, and Moon.

Step 2

Next, drill the hole and push the large screw through the hole and secure it with a washer and bolt.

Step 3

Turn over the base and stick four foam pads on the bottom. We used one large foam pad for furniture and cut it into four pieces.  These foam padding will prevent the center bolt from scratching the table when placed upright.

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Step 4

Turn the base back over and make sure the foam padding is tall enough to prevent the bolt from scratching the table. If not, then add another layer of foam.  Next, screw another a nut to the halfway point on the bolt and then put a washer on top. 

Step 5

Now we need to make the support wire for the Earth. Take the larger wire and bend both ends using a screwdriver as shown. The goal is the make the loops tight enough so the bolts are secure when threaded through them.

Step 6

Here, both ends are ready to secure the Earth to the center shaft. Notice one loop is smaller than the other.  The larger loop is for the center bolt; the smaller one is for Earth’s bolt. 

Step 7

Now, thread the smaller bolt through the smaller loop.  

Step 8

Secure the bolt to the arm with a washer and nut.  Then screw a nut halfway up the bolt. This bolt will serve as support for the Moon’s arm.

 

Step 9

Next, create the Moon’s arm.  Bend the thinner wire similar to the Earth’s arm but only put a loop on one end. Bend the other end up to support the Moon.

Step 10

Now connect the thin wire to the screw on Earth’s arm and secure with a bolt.

Step 11

And we are nearly there! Just connect the thick wire to the screw and put a washer and bolt on top. Make sure to screw on tightly, the weight of the arm can make it droop.

Step 12

And finally we are ready to add the Sun, Earth, and Moon. The smallest ball is the Moon and goes on the smallest arm.  The Earth is the mid-sized ball and put onto the outer bolt. The largest ball is the Sun and placed on the center bolts. You can paint the balls as the final step if you want to.

Putting it all together

Here are all the pieces laid out.  We substitute the foam balls in one build with a ping pong ball for the Sun and felt balls for the Earth and Moon.

Enjoy

You now have your own Sun-Earth-Moon Orrery and predict the next eclipse or start planning for the next full moon!

Keep a watch out for werewolves!

 

 

 

 

Night View

 

Wand

Night View

Mythos

The wand Night View has a darker side. Made of poplar and dyed in dark herbs she is ready for night time adventures!.

Special Spell

Noctem Visus (Night Vision)

It is 13 1/2 inches long. Made of poplar grown in the Hip Monster’s realm. The wood was spoke shaven straight, soaked in oil with a blueberries and mint blend then polished with bee’s wax.

Every wand comes with its lore and a special spell that is made especially for it.

Happy Casting!