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.

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!

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. 


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.


  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


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.


Wand: Flame Tamer

Every wand we craft has unique mythos and a special spell. This wand is called the Flame Tamer.


Handcrafted DIY Wooden Wand with rosemary


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. 

Happy Casting!

Handcrafted DIY Wooden Wand

Handcrafted DIY Wooden Wand

Wand: Scarlet Sunset

Every wand we craft has unique mythos and a special spell. This wand is called the Scarlet Sunset.

Handcrafted DIY Wooden Wand with a book


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.

Happy Casting!

Handcrafted DIY Wooden Wand with a book

Handcrafted DIY Wooden Wand with a book

Wand: Night View

Every wand we craft has unique mythos and a special spell. This wand is called the Night View.

Handcrafted DIY Wooden Wand in a garden


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.

Happy Casting!

wooden dyi wand with fake hand wooden diy wand


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.

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!