March 03, 2016

Get an Excerpt from #JunkyardJamBand at @MAKE Magazine and Build Your Own Musical Scratchbox!

Hey nifty! MAKE is featuring a project from my latest book. Click thru and Turn an Old Walkman into a Musical Scratchbox. Get wiggy and whack right now! Full build instructions at the link. Wanna hear it before you build it? Check out KipKay's video demo:

September 25, 2015

The Video Table of Contents for "Junkyard Jam Band" is Finally Live! #DIY

book trailer #2: "Junkyard Jam Band" video Table of Contents - YouTube

*And* you still have time to sign up for a free PDF Jam Pack including full build instructions for two projects and a steep discount on either of my DIY books. Check it out!

June 18, 2014

Celebrate Summertime and the NATIONAL DAY OF MAKING with FREE Kid-Friendly DIY Projects! #nationofmakers

By Presidential Proclamation today, June 18, is the National Day of Making.

Since it's also the start of the summer break, I thought it would be a swell time to offer up a few of the projects from my DIY book Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred: Seriously Geeky Stuff to Make with Your Kids. The book is filled with projects that will 1) result in something neat while 2) teaching you a neat skill, and 3) costing little or nothing to build. These particular projects are great summertime fun (rain or shine), all-ages kid-friendly, and made from all upcycled materials:

1. cardboard boomerangs in both indoor and outdoor models.

2. The ever-popular sock squid/sock Cthulhu sewing project (as seen in the picture at the left)

3. Quick-n-Easy water rockets, like these:

Always a crowd pleaser!

Have a great summer, and keep making *more*! Check back here next week (or just sign up for the newsletter) to get instructions on making a steampunk whisky-bottle hummingbird feeder.

July 19, 2012

FREE SAMPLE: Build Quick-n-Easy Water Rockets

Weekend DIY Dad Activity: How to Make a Quick-n-Easy Water Rocket | The Art of Manliness

Although store-bought water rockets were once an almost universal part of childhood (at least in suburban middle America, where I grew up), DIY water rockets are almost unheard of in the United States, despite being common in the United Kingdom. The key to the DIY water rocket is the ubiquitous plastic soda bottle. (Often called PET bottles in the UK, these are basically made of polyester, just like your favorite pantsuit.) A soda bottle can easily withstand 150 pounds of pressure per square inch—significantly more than a car or bike tire, and more than enough to launch it into flight.

The following design dispenses with many of the concerns regarding valves, firing mechanisms, pressurization, and so on, because the unit is impossible to over-pressurize, thus eliminating the risk of a rocket explosion. It’s quick and easy (no more than 5 minutes to construct), practically free, fun to make and launch with your kids (while teaching them some basic principles of physics), and, depending on the quality of your bike pump, can arc a bottle 30 feet at speeds safe enough to shoot at your pals, or send a rocket soaring a hundred feet skyward. . . .

This is Project 20 from my book SNIP, BURN, SOLDER, SHRED--but the rest of this project is available free at the link!

Here's what it all looks in time-lapse:

February 23, 2012

FREE SAMPLE: Build a FedEx Kite

I've been talking with CraftFoxes--a very cool new crafting/DIY community--and we've added my FedEx Diamond Kite to their database of free projects. Click on over and login (it's free!) to learn how to make one of the several kites included in SNIP, BURN, SOLDER, SHRED.

To go along with this newly released sample, I've also posted some additional tips on kite launching and flying as a handy-dandy, DRM-free downloadable PDF. (Check out the other FREE SAMPLES, too.)

And, just to keep all the links in one handy place, here's my discussion of kites and their construction from last October.


February 22, 2011

FREE SAMPLE: Build, tune, and throw cardboard boomerangs

Learn to make, tune, throw, and catch two different cardboard boomerangs in this FREE SAMPLE from Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred:

PROJECT 18: Cardboard Boomerangs

Generations of American children wrongly grow to believe that building and throwing boomerangs is very difficult. This flies in the face of reason: Using less-than-ideal materials, human beings have been building, throwing, and catching returning boomerangs for more than 11,600 years. . . . They are, in fact, among humanity’s longest-standing ways of showing off. . . .

Boomerangs are absurdly easy to make; the real trick is in tuning and throwing them (all of which I cover in detail in this free sample). With the aid of the Print-n-Snip Templates (link below; includes two new tri-blade designs!) this is a great all-ages project: I've had a blast running boomerang workshops with teens and adults at sci-fi conventions, middle-aged family guys drinking beer, and dozens of elementary schoolers on the verge of Snow Day Insanity.

  • Download Project 18: "Cardboard Boomernags"

  • Use these quick-n-easy Print-n-Snip Boomerang Templates to make boomerangs from cereal, donut boxes, or any similar rigid cardboard.

  • January 18, 2011

    FREE SAMPLE: Sew a sock squid (and upgrade it to a Sock Cthulhu!)

    Wanna sew a sinister lovey for your kid or significant other? New to sewing and looking for a project to get your started? Get a taste of Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred with this sample project:

    PROJECT 3: The Sock Squid

    Mysterious, charming, and delicious, squid have fascinated and terrified humanity ever since Pliny the Elder reported a giant squid attack on seaside Spanish fish-brining tanks, with several dogs and fisherman bludgeoned in the melee (recounted in his Naturalis Historia, circa 77 CE). Hence, the squid is a natural subject for adorable handicrafts. . . .

  • Download Project 3: "The Sock Squid" (which can be easily upgraded to the Sock Cthulhu seen below)