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

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


DIY Ukulele

Inspired by our trips to Hawaii, the sisters team decided to make their own working ukulele. We ended up making a whole lot of them because it is a good way to practice some woodworking skills. We advise using wood that isn’t to hard for the sides, because that makes drilling the center hole a lot easier.Supplies for a DIY Ukulele

We are missing some photos between the required supplies and the final clamping- sorry.


DIY Ukulele- clamping the front and back
Clamping the front and back together

After lots of cutting and drilling, we clamped the front and back together. We used a big drill bit to drill the center hole after measuring for the right spot. Make sure that you don’t put two keyholes directly on top of each other, leave room for the strings to go down.  

DIY Ukulele
Ready for painting

We put the keys in and glued the bridge on. We double-checked out measurements a lot so the strings would all align. We also made sure to sand it a lot, you don’t want to get a splinter while playing music. 

DIY Ukulele
Top View
DIY Ukulele
Close up of the end with the bridge

(The keys and bridge came from a set ordered online) 

DIY Ukulele
Painted in a color scheme with sparkly paint 


Here is an indestructible ukulele capable of fending off a troll. Made from poplar and bound together with the magic of the ages, its music will impress even fairies.

Color Splash Collection


Embracing  color  and elegance our necklaces will  bring  joy to those who wear them. 

Wooden Jewelry, Necklaces, Color Splash
Color Splash Collection

Our collection of Color Splash necklaces are made from poplar wood, painted in pastel and with silver chain and pendants.  


Wooden Jewelry, Necklaces, Color Splash
Ocean Color
Wooden Jewelry, Necklaces, Color Splash
Ocean Color

This necklace is called Ocean Color.


Wooden Jewelry, Necklaces, Color Splash
Midday Sun
Wooden Jewelry, Necklaces, Color Splash
Midday Sun


This necklace is Midday Sun


Puzzle Boxes

This puzzle box was inspired by Roy Underhill’s Woodwright Shop. Based on an early American grease pot design it is crafted out of poplar. It measures 8 inches by 3 inches, just big enough to hide special jewels or a secret treasure.


Handcraft Wooden Puzzle box DYI
Puzzle Box

The clean dove tail is essential to making this puzzle box work.  Ideally you want to use a harder would that you used for the box. 


Handcraft Wooden Puzzle box DYI
Dovetail close up


Starting a dovetail for a puzzle box
Measuring a dovetail

Use a chisel to measure the width of a dovetail.  Cut two sets of parallel line and remove the outer edges,


DIY wooden puzzel box
Cutting the lid and lock.

Make use to secure the wood and cut very slowly to get a clean cut. If using a Japanese saw let the weight of the saw do the cutting,


DIY wodden puzzle box
Drill a hole after cutting off the lid to help align the pieces better.

We tried drilling the hole before cutting and found out the pieces did not align tightly.  Even a thin blade takes a lot of material from a piece of wood.

DIY wodden puzzle box
Finished box


Remember to carve out the dovetail before cutting the lid and lock.  Be prepared to make mistakes- that is all part of the process.  For the locking slider make sure it is angled to secure the lid.  We made that mistake more than once.  We used the mistake in other projects.

Handcraft Wooden Puzzle box DYI
Fully opened


To make the dove tail pop we typically use a darker stain.  It make it harder to unlock, you can painted the whole piece to hide the locking mechanism.

Happy crafting!




Shape Shifting Toy Robots

When the sisters team discovered Transform comics (Go WindBlade!) they wanted a whole city of Transformers to play with.  While that was way too expensive they could build their own ShapeShifting Robots out of wood.

Supplies for a hand crafted DIY robot that transforms
Getting Started

Borrowing for wooden dolls we settled on a design with rubber bands attaching the arms and head to the body and a bolt to attached the legs enabling the robot to shift forms.


Making DIY wooden transfromjng robots
Drilling to holes

First we cut and drilled all the wood based on a working design.


Assembling a hand crafted DIY robot that transforms
Assembling Begins!

We used lego wheels for the robots that transformed into cars.

Fitting rubberband a hand crafted DIY robot that transforms
Fitting the rubber bands

Attaching the rubber bands proved difficult.  We used a jewelry tool to thread the rubber bands through the holes in the wood (many broke in the process).


Assembling a hand crafted DIY robot that transforms
Final Touches

A few more adjustments.

A hand crafted DIY robot that transforms
The Robot is complete!

By using springs in the legs the robot can hold a standing position.


DIY wooden transfroming robots
The assembly line

After we perfect a design it was just a matter of creating a assembly line to crank out droids!


DIY Wooden Transfroming Robots.

The robots in alt form.

DIY Wooden Transfroming Robots.
Robot form

The robots transformed!

Happy making!


Monsters know their food and the best way to spice up good cooking is using herbs straight from your own garden. From our hidden garden in the city the HipMonsters sister team will bring you tips on growing herbs in a city, how best to preserve and prepare your herbs and  how to have fun!  

Our Herb Garden
Our flower garden.
Our Flower Garden

We take special care to dry and preserve out herbs and flowers. 

Potions Cabinate
Potion collection

 And when they are perfect we grind them up to make out own special blends!

mortar and pestle grinding Herbs
Our well used mortar and pestle

Preping some ingredients

Bottles of Herbs and Flowers
Herb concoctions are ready to go!

Bottled up and ready to be delivered