RSS Feed

Category Archives: DIY

Doc Brown Mind Reading Helmet from Back to the Future

imageBut first, a note:  I set out to make a Doc Brown Mind Reading Helmet that was doable to the novice costume crafter.  I also wanted it to be light enough for a 12 year old to wear without breaking his neck.  To that end, you won’t find any sheet metal or welding required in this tutorial.  The ones that use those materials are AWESOME looking and will probably last well into the future (<—- see what I just did there?).  I like to think that what mine lacks in authenticity and ruggedness, it more than makes up for in cost, weight and ease of construction.  So, on to the tutorial…


As a woman who spent her formative years (high school and college) in the 80s, I could not have been more proud than this year, when my kids went out for Halloween dressed as Marty McFly and Doc Brown.

image

Even more so because my eldest son Michael wanted me to make him be Doc Brown circa 1955 when he first meets Marty and is wearing the rediculous brain wave reading helmet.  It’s the moment when we start to truly understand what a nut, er, I mean visionary Doctor Emmet Brown really is.

First, let’s take a look at what we are dealing with here.

imageThe way I saw it, there’s a black helmet with chin strap, covered with some lighted cylendar shaped things (let’s call them electrodes), that are interconnected with metal bars.  I knew that I had a plain black bike helmet somewhere in the garage, and had Michael try it on – it fit, yay!

Ok, so now that I had my base, I wanted to get to work on the electrodes.  You will need 11 of them.  Here is what I sketched out.

image

When the drawing was done, I showed it to my kids and said “See – you WILL need to use math in real life.”  My electrodes are about 5″ overall in length.  I think if I were to do it all over again, I might make them each an inch longer, but that’s your call.

The electrodes consist of 6 different materials:

1/2″ pvc pipe

1/2″ x 2″ flexible pipe insulation (this is shown on the drawing as the shaded area)

Shiny silver cardstock

Red Duck Tape

Wire Stars (I’ll show you how to make those in a bit)

A 4″ yellow glow stick

For right now, we will just concentrate on the first four items.  Cut your PVC into (11) 4-1/2″ lengths.  I used a hack saw for mine.

image

Cut your pipe insulation.  The kind I bought was squishy and self-adhesive.

image

I cut it with a scissors which worked great.  You will need (11) pieces cut to 3/4″ and (11) pieces cut to 1-3/4″.

Here is the (totally awesome) card stock I found at Hobby Lobby.  To me it’s a total fake-out for sheet metal.

image

I love it!  Cut this into strips, (6) 12″ x 2″ strips and (6) 12″ x 3/4″ strips.  Cut each strip in half so you have (12) 6″ long of each width.  Now for each electrode gather the following:

image

One piece of PVC, one piece of each size of pipe insulation, one piece of each size of cardstock, your red Duck Tape and fire up the hot glue gun.

First, take the smaller piece and adhere it so that it lines up with one end of the PVC pipe (this will be the bottom of your electrode). Right next to the insulation piece, wrap the pipe with a short length of 2″ wide Duck Tape.

image

Next, line up the remaining (bigger) piece of insulation with the other end of the pipe and adhere it into place.  I you find that the red tape doesn’t completely cover the white pipe, color in any white space with a red Sharpie.

Ok, now wrap the smaller piece of insulation with the thinner strip of cardstock, cut it to fit and hot glue the ends together.

image

Do the same thing with the bigger insulation/taller piece of cardstock, but with this one, you will line up the cardstock even with the bottom (the end that touches the red tape) of the insulation so that it sticks out 1/4″ at the top of the electrode.

image

Repeat until you have 11 of these.

image

I made 12 because I’m an over-achiever and forgot to stop at 11 because I wasn’t paying close enough attention.

OK now, time to attach those bad boys to your helmet.  So here is how to place them on the helmet.

image

There’s five running right down the middle, front to back with one centered in the middle top of your helmet. then there’s two that run horizontally on either side of the center post.  Finally, the last four run around the outer sides of the helmet.

I used Gorilla Glue to attach myelectrodes and it worked like a dream.  The only issues I had were that my bike helmet isn’t perfectly flat and actually has some major holes built into the design of it.  I plugged up some of the holes with leftover bits of insulation so that the glue would have something to “grab onto” when it hit one of the holes.

image

I laid out my positions with little yellow stickies.

image

Then adhered them with the Gorilla glue following the manufacturer’s instructions.  HINT:  I also ran a bead of hot glue around the outer edge of each electrode since I had no way to clamp them into place while the Gorilla Glue dried.  This temporarily held them in place, but would never have lasted if I had only used the hot glue.  The best part about the Gorilla Glue is that it expands as it dries so it channels up into the PVC pipe, giving you a really good bond.  I let that dry for a few days since I was doing this early (True Confessions: it was August?) and I wanted to make sure it was really good to go.

If your Gorilla Glue is the white kind like mine and it has seeped out from under the electrode, also like mine, go back and color over the exposed glue with a black sharpie.

imageimageNow you should have something that is beginning to look pretty awesome, like so…

imageYeah baby!

So, now is when you should put in the strips that connect the electrodes right on the helmet.  For this I used a metallic Duck Tape that is 3/4″ wide.  In the category of “Don’t Do What I Did”, I will suggest that you put these on NOW, not after you have all of the criss-crossing bars in place.  It made a rather simple step into a much more painful one.

imageHere the red lines show you where I put the tape.

image

I did contemplate putting this tape in place first, even before the electrodes but was concerned that the glue would be affixed to the tape, not to the helmet which would make them more likely to fall off.  It would however have given a much cleaner look.  In the end I erred on the side of stability.

image

OK, now ready for those metal bars.  As I said earlier, I wanted to keep the helmet as lightweight as I could to keep my kid from breaking his neck during trick or treating time.  Also, I didn’t want to hear the inevitable whine “This thing is too heavy…can you hold it for me?”.

Anyway, to that end, the material that I used for the cross bars is good old Lowe’s paint stirrers.  Cheap (free!), lightweight, sturdy, easy to cut and as a bonus, a perfect width for my project.

image

You will need about 20-25 of them, so if your local store is unwilling to just hand you that many, you may need to make a few trips until you’ve got all you need, or find someone who is happy to help a parent trying to make a costume dream (mine) come true.

Paint your stirrers metallic silver.  I chose craft paint, but it may have been easier to just spray paint them all.  Do whichever you prefer.

image

image

Once these have dried, you can start cutting them to fit in between your electrodes.  I attached mine to the top 2″ section of the electrode, pretty much centered top to bottom.  These bars should go where I’ve drawn them here in green.

image

It looks a little confusing and believe me when I say it’s even more so in 3 dimensions.  My advice is that you put the ones in that go around the edge, then the ones that go up and over the top front to back, then add in the mess in the middle.  Now for our second lesson in the category of “Don’t Do What I Did”.  When I put in the bars that go around the edge, I attached them with the bars laying horizontally, not vertically, which is 100% incorrect.  By the time I realized my error, it was too late to un-do them, so I just left them that way, then put all of the other ones in correctly like so.

image

I cut the paint stirrers using what I believe are metal snippers (?) that I found in the ‘ole tool kit.

image

I just held each bar up to where it was going to go and eyeballed a general size of the thing then cut it with a little extra “just in case”.  I continued snipping off little bits until it was pretty close, then took out my Dremmel with a sanding bit and sanded it down until it was a nice fit at both ends.image

I glued them each in place with hot glue.  Before the glue dries, clean up any extra using an extra piece of paint stirrer.  After you’ve got them all in it should look something like this…

image

Now we’re getting somewhere!  Ok, now to add the wires.  I bought a spool of 16 gauge red wire at Lowe’s.

image

The 25 feet was plenty.  I cut off lengths of it to fit along the same lines as the connecting bars.  I started off having them be nice and straight fitting exactly, but found that I prefered them when they looked a little wackier when they were twisted and a bit too long.  Just bend them a bit then attach them at each end with more hot glue.

image

That’s what I’m talking about.  Ok, now to make those “stars” that I mentioned earlier.  If you look at the end of each electrode in Doc’s helmet, there’s a little black star shaped guard at the top.  I think the fictional Doc would have installed them to keep from touching what was surely a very hot 1955 era lightbulb.  I made mine with crafters wire using this super cool wire bending tool.

image

The kit comes with a perferated metal stand and various sized pegs.  You stick the pegs into the holes in whatever shape you need for your design then wrap your wire around the pegs.  I did mine like this.

image

The kit only came with two of the bigger sized posts, so I started them in the 12 o’clock and 3 o’clock positions then moved them to the 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions when I got there.  If you don’t want to invest the $20 in this kit (I did since I knew that I would use it again in the future), you can make your own by hammering nails into a spare board.  You want the stars to be about 2-1/4″ across and the middle needs to have at least 1/2″ space for your glow stick to pass in and out of.

Once you’ve bent it to shape, clip the ends to just meet each other then – you guessed it – a little hot glue will hold it together.

image

You need 11 of these suckers.  Center each at the end of an electrode and hot glue them in place.  The star will be slightly wider than the end of the electrode.

image

I chose at this point to give the helmet a long wire “tail” coming off the back of his helmet with a large suction cup at the end.  This was at the request of the costume wearer as he really wanted to smack it onto his little brother’s head.  If he hadn’t asked for it, I would not have added it, but do what you choose.  I basically took all of my remaining red wire, grouped it together in a bundle and attached one end to the back of the helmet with floral wire, and put a big suction cup on the other end.

image
image

And there’s the money shot.

Next, I glued his wig into the helmet, but this is not really necessarily.  To do so I cut the crown (top of the head) part out of the wig then glued it around the inside edge.  Be careful of your chin straps when you’re doing this, as you don’t want to get them caught up in any way.

After contemplating many different lighting options (Battery operated Christmas string lights, mini faux-votive candles), I decided that glow sticks were probably my easiest, most “authentic” looking option.  I bought mine on Ebay for 60 cents apiece.  I needed 11 for Halloween night, so I got 25 – enough for two separate events plus a few spares.  The ones that fit the best are sold as 4″ but the glowing part is only 3″ long which fits perfectly into the PVC pipe.  I got yellow ones (which for some reason photographed as green) but looked yellow in real life.

imageYou’ll want to use a pair of scissors to cut off the little plastic hanger part at the end.
image

Once it’s like this, it should fit really well into the center of each electrode.  I stuck mine in fat side first.  It was a little loose so I wrapped the fat end in a layer of masking tape which allowed me to maneuver it so that about 1/2″ of each glow stick stuck out the top.image

And there you have it.  He looked quite cool out there on Halloween night.  In the dark all you could see were these spots of light bobbing along in the distance.  With his best accessory, his younger brother dressed as Marty McFly at his side, they were a big hit.

image

image image

I love these guys!  No one told me that having kids gave you such great costume-creating opportunities!  They make all the hard work so worth it in the end.

Happy Halloween from us!  Can’t wait until next year!

Advertisements

Shadow Box Cork Storage DIY

imageI, like many of my contemporaries, enjoy drinking wine.  A direct product of this is that I’ve got a little cork collection going, and wanted something pretty to keep them in. I had seen some of these shadow box displays on Etsy that were a little too pricey for me so I decided to take a crack at one on my own.

First, I went shopping for a plain shadow box.  I found one on sale for 50% off at Hobby Lobby and jumped on it. My plan was to take it home, take it apart and drill a hole in the top with one of my husband’s gigantic drill bits so that when I had a cork to add to it, I could just drop it into the top of the box. When I got the box home however, I found that the construction of the box would not allow me to do that.  Without going into too much detail, I decided that it was too risky to try doing this.  I was afraid I would ruin the box.  I decided to fill the box with what I had and after I have a few corks saved up, I’ll take the back off the box and add them. Not optimal, but if I wanted it perfect, I would need to pay for it on Etsy.

Next, I started looking for the saying I wanted on the glass and found this online

image

It is a design that is available for purchase on the Silhouette site.  I bought the design, only to find out that Silhouette is a fancy die cutting machine, much like a Cricut, which I don’t own.  I decided to cut the design out by hand and will show you how.  It’s meticulous and time consuming, but reaps nice results.

First, flip the design around so that it is reversed left to right.  I did this with photoshop.

image

Next, print it out and enlarge it to the size you need. It doesn’t all have to be on one sheet, just so long as you have all parts of the reversed design printed out. Here’s what the top half of mine looked like after I started cutting it up.

image

I used adhesive vinyl, the kind that comes in a 12″ roll.  I used small pieces of this at a time since I was cutting out words, or sometimes letters, one at a time. Cut out a letter from your printout.  You don’t want or need to cut it out perfectly but should instead leave a small border around it. Carefully tape the letter with the printed (backwards) side facing you to the back of the piece of vinyl. With a small pair of scissors, cut out the letter as exactly as you can.

image

When it is cut out, the right side of the vinyl will have the correct forward facing design on it. I did this for the entire design. Any words whose letters were connected I cut out as one piece, such as the word “the” at the beginning. I used an exacto knife for any tough to reach spots.  I suggest binge-watching TV on Netflix while you do this.  I think I watched season 5 of “The Walking Dead” which made the task much more enjoyable. The other option would be to get a friend with either a Cricut or Silhouette machine to cut something out for you. Bring her a bottle of wine as a thank you.

Once it’s cut out, carefully center and stick it to your (cleaned) glass. Remove the back, fill it with your corks, and hang it up.

image

Ours hangs over our bar cabinet, appropriately.

image

Love it!  I plan to enjoy filling it up over the course of time.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Next post will be a Halloween related DIY!  My favorite season is finally here!!!

Beverage Holders for the Yard

image

At the beginning of the summer, we bought a new house that has a fabulous back yard made for entertaining.  I decided that some backyard beverage holders would come in handy when we had friends over to play Bags (or as some call it “Cornhole”).

I figured that the body of the holder could be made from a tin can but wanted it big enough to hold a can plus a coozie, or alternately to hold a Keg (Solo) cup. I thought I might use a Progresso Soup can, but was shopping at Target and found these in the $1 – $3 – $5 section. They were $3 each.

image

I liked that it was sturdy and a little bigger than a Progresso can, and we can put the covers on them when they aren’t in use.

image

I made a decorative cover for them using fabric and Modge Podge.  I first made a pattern with plain paper. I measured the height and circumference of the can and cut out a pattern that was  the height x the circumference plus 1/2″.

image

Use your pattern to cut out a fabric piece for each of the cans you’re covering.

image

GO TARHEELS!

OK, so now you want to cover the outside of the can with Modge Podge. I used the kind made for outdoor use figuring that these might occasionally see some rain.

image

imageimage

Once it’s covered in Modge Podge, wrap your fabric around the can overlapping the ends, and smooth out any air bubbles.  Now you will cover it with another layer of Modge Podge on the outside of the fabric.

image

Let it dry completely (it dries clear) according to the instructions. This might take a while if you are in a humid environment. Once it’s completely dry, add a second coat. I think I did a total of three coats, allowing time to dry in between.

Once it was good and dry, I set out to add the post to it.  I had purchased yard long 1/4″ threaded poles for the task. First off, you need to pierce the bottom of the can. To do this, first locate the center of the can bottom and mark it with a pen.

imageimage

Now, using a hammer, pierce the bottom center with a big nail.

imageimageimage

Okie doke. Now place your can on the floor, bottom up, put one end of your threaded pole onto the hole and gently tap the other end with a hammer until you have penetrated the can.

Temporarily remove the pole from the can.  Your completed project will sit on the threaded pole in the following order:

Hex Nut

Washer

Can Botton

Washer

Hex Nut

So, starting at the bottom, thread on a hex nut, followed by a washer leaving about 1/4″ – 1/2″ of pole showing at the top.  Apply Gorilla glue around the washer like so…

image

Now, put your can on the post and add a ring on gorilla glue inside the can bottom right around the post.

image

Try to do it a tad more neatly than I did.  Now add your washer and the final nut.  Screw the nut so that it matches evenly with the top of the post. Now adjust the bottom nut, the one underneath on the outside of the can, so that all five layers – nut, washer, can, washer, nut – are squeezed together tight. This will make your can sit nice and stable on top of the post with no wobbling.

image

Double check that the post ends right at the top of the nut and not before or after it.  Too high and your can will wobble around the bottom of the holder, too low and you risk having your creation lose the nut and come apart.

 image

Let the Gorilla glue dry per the manufacturer’s instructions.

The cup holders are pretty much ready for use now except…well except that I wasn’t completely happy with them. I didn’t like having that raised nut in the bottom when I put my beer bottle in it.  To correct for this problem, I lined the bottom with two pieces of thick (6mm) fun foam. Using the can as a template, I cut out two circles of fun foam.  Each looked like this.

image

Now, in only ONE of the circles, cut out a hole in the center.

imageimage

It doesn’t have to be pretty because it won’t show.   Now hot glue that puppy to the bottom inside of the can.

image

Now take the uncored circle and hot glue it right on to the first one.

image

There you have it!  A nice level, comfy cushion upon which your beverage can rest. All that is left to do is to plant them in the yard and crack open a beverage.

image

Check them out!  They keep your beverage handy and up off the grass where they might get knocked over or licked by the dog.

Now get out there and make your own set before the summer is over!

DYI Posable Skeleton Hands – Made with wire, tin foil and masking tape

image

I made these scary hands as part of my son’s Halloween costume this year. My initial intent was to just stuff some gloves with polyfil as I had done in years past, but I saw something similar to these on Pinterest and decided to give them a go.

First, gather up your supplies: wire (I used 4 wire clothes hangers), tin foil, masking tape, a piece of paper and a pencil, a Sharpie, scissors, pliers and wire cutters.

Lay your hand on the paper and trace around it.  Then, mark off where your knuckles are.  If you think your hands are kind of small, borrow the hand of a larger person.

image

Now, cut and bend your wire to follow the lines of your finger and hand bones.  Use the picture and your own hand as your guide. I found that holding the wire with the pliers and using my hands to bend it worked best.

image

Transfer the knuckle marks to your wires with a sharpie.

image

Now, using your tape and starting with the palm, tape the four fingers together, leaving spaces between the fingers as you go.  You should have masking tape “webbing” between each wire when you’re done, and should still be able to line it up to your picture.

image

Use some scissors to shape the upper edge so that it stays just below the knuckle lines.  Now do the same for the thumb and wrist.

image

Fun!  Now you can start posing your fingers, using those joint markers as guides. It helps to pose your own hand the way you want the fake hand to be, and refer to it as you go. It should be noted that when I started posing the hand, I realized that I had limited my thumb’s mobility by making the gap between it and the index finger too tight. To fix this, I cut down the webbing, moved the thumb, then re-taped the thumb webbing.

imageimage

Much better.  So now we start adding the knuckles and fingers. You want to add a little flesh to your wires, or bulk up the bones, and to do this, you will wrap them in tin foil. Starting with the fingers first, take a small ball of foil to make the first knuckle.  Hold the ball in place then take a 1″ wide strip of foil and wrap it around the knuckle to hold it in place, then continue wrapping the strip of foil up the finger to the next joint.  When your strip of foil runs out, grab another and keep going.  Make another knuckle-ball (keeping in mind that the joints get a bit smaller as you go out the length of each finger), hold it in place and wrap it up in your foil strip.

image

Keep doing this until you reach the end of the finger.

image

Now, wrap your finger in masking tape using small strips of tape. Start at the base of the finger, being sure to secure the first knuckle to the hand with your first strip.  You may find it easier to work with thinner strips of tape for the fingers than you did for the hand.  If so, just rip the masking tape into more manageable size pieces. Feel free to pinch and mold the fingers as you go.   Continue until you have finished all the fingers and the thumb.

image

Now, you can start fleshing out the palm.  Keep in mind that most of the “meat” in your hand runs around, but not into, the center of the palm, shape some tin foil to fit under the four fingers and down the pinky side of the palm.  Make a separate piece for the base of the thumb, again using your own hand as a guide.

image

Cover the the first piece with masking tape.

image

And now cover the thumb side piece.

image

Add a little flesh to the center of the palm, and that will finish off the palm side of your hand.

image

Creepy!  For the back of the hand, you need only add a little foil below the knuckles, as our bones really do show through back there.

image

Cover it with tape and the back is done.

image

Now for the hard part…repeat the whole thing for your second hand, making sure to reverse it so that you don’t end up with two lefts or two rights.  I took my original drawing, traced it through to the back of the paper and went from there.

Here are my finished hands, front and back.

imageimage

They are very posable, but use care when manipulating them as you don’t want to crush the layer of tin foil too much.  I left the hands just like this, but some of you may want to paint them or coat them in a layer of liquid latex. If you plan to use them in your outdoor decor, you should at least coat them with a waterproof finish. My son used them for his costume, and the whole thing was a big hit in the neighborhood.

image

Super creepy fun!  Let me know if you’ve got questions and good luck with your own creepy hands.

An Old Cabinet Gets a New Makeover

image

Just a quick post today. For anyone who hasn’t heard, I moved from Massachusetts to the coastal town of Hampstead North Carolina this Summer. So far, we are enjoying our new environment and embracing the new coastal feel of our community. I’ve just started making a few changes to our decor to reflect our new hometown.
Our old home was a colonial – a very “old New England style” home. It was decorated in a lot of mossy greens and cranberry colors with black accents. When we started planning our move, I knew that I wanted to lighten things up. A lot more creamy white, less black and red. I adopted a light teal or aqua color for my kitchen so when I decided to move a moss green cabinet in there I knew it needed a change of paint if it wasn’t going to clash. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and chose a coral pink color to add a bit of “pop” to the room. I love it! It’s the color of a pink flamingo. Because it’s only on the one piece, it’s the perfect amount of color for that room.

The paint is a satin finish Valspar called Sweet Melon. It’s really more pink than orange, so the color in my photo isn’t a great representation.  Think salmon or like I said, Pink Flamingo. I also switched out the antiqued looking hardware and went with a shiny gold for a more modern, updated feel.

So here is a photo of the old girl before her paint job.  Incidentally, this piece used to belong to BFF Wendy who bought it in the 90s and had painted it blue before she painted it green.

image

That was in our old home. Now here she is, in the new house with her new look.

image

Like a whole new cabinet!  I should mention that my husband, while tolerant of the color, definitely gave it a raise of the eyebrow when he first saw it painted coral.  I suppose that it is no coincidence that I waited until he was away on business before starting the project.  It’s growing on him, I’m pretty sure.

DIY Tardis Costume

image It’s Halloween 2013 and my 10 year old Michael has discovered “Dr. Who”.  He’s a HUGE fan, and like many Dr. Who fans, or should I say Whovians , he is obsessed.  He finds the alien, double-hearted, time and space traveling Englishman wonderfully interesting.  Not too surprising, he asked if he could be dressed for Halloween this year as a Dalek.  What in the world is a Dalek?  My thoughts exactly since as much of a fan as Michael is, I am a disinterested bystander. I hear endless recounting of plot lines and characters, but really, it’s just not my thing. So here is what a Dalek looks like. imageYeah, I said “no”.   I’m as adventurous as the next costume maker, but was not about to tackle something so oddly shaped and detailed, nor was I willing to send him out on a dark night in a costume that covers his whole head.   So, on to Plan B. He asked if I could make him a Tardis costume. This is a Tardis… image That at dapper fellow next to the Tardis is The Doctor (and don’t you ever call him “Dr. Who” for his name is “The Doctor”).  This, box shaped item with lots of squares, seemed much more doable to me.  At first, he wanted me to make it so that he was inside the tardis and could open the doors to reveal him, dressed as The Doctor inside. In addition to the technical challenge this presented, it also left him without a 360 degree view of the world around him, so we compromised.   He would be just the tardis, with his head sticking out the top and the light would be on top of his head.

So now, my pal Wendy had just received a patio heater in the mail and had this awesome, perfectly proportioned box for me to use.   Nice!  For paint, I used regular interior house paint. which I purchased in the handy “sample” size from both Home Depot and Lowe’s. image The black and white paints I already owned in regular craft paint, so I used those where needed. I painted the entire box before I did any cutting for the head and armholes.  I started with the base blue color and after letting that completely dry (I used an old hairdryer to speed up this process), I started adding all the details.  For all of these, I used painter’s tape. I highly recommend this technique, as I cannot imagine getting the nice sharp lines painting all of those squares, rectangles and stripes by hand.  Here’s a couple of pictures of the box at different phases of the process.  I apologize that the first pic is pretty crappy.image image In case you’re interested, I did the black strip first, then the white windows, then the deep blue squares and finally, I did all of the pinstriping.  Also, I worked on all four sides at the same time, so that I could remember all of the measurements for each section easier.  In other words, I painted the black box on each of the 4 sides, one after the other before I moved onto the windows which I did on each of the four sides before I moved on to the blue squares, and so on. With the painting all set, I was free to start adding all of the details.  I found the “Police Box” writing by Googling it, (you can find it here) printed it out, then enlarged it to scale for the box.  I literally just cut out the strip of letters, then glued it onto the box.  I couldn’t be bothered to cut out each letter individually, and it was almost completely unnoticeable on the black background.  Check it out… image Next, I printed out the notice and the emblem, sized them and glued them in place.  You can find the links here – Notice, Emblem. For the handle, I just bought a simple, small cabinet handle and literally screwed it through the side of the box.  I used washers at the back to give it a little more stability and to make it harder to pull through. After I cut out the head-hole (centered on top), I had the hardest time deciding where to put the arm holes.  I wanted to give Michael the most freedom of movement, but wasn’t sure if that would be accomplished with holes at the shoulders or down by the elbows.  I ended up putting them down at elbow height, and while he can’t touch his head, or put his hands together in front of him, it turned out to be the most comfortable for him.  In case you’re wondering, I used a serrated steak knife to do the cutting.  Don’t tell my husband, because he loves his steak knives at least as much as he loves me.

For the hat/light, I used a combination of things that I had laying around my house.  Here they are all gathered together… image I should clarify that the royal blue top hat was NOT lying around my house, I bought it at the party store.  The other items I used were a length of 2″ wide blue ribbon, four pencils, a blue elastic (from some asparagus I got at the grocery store), a small mason jar, one of those battery powered “push lights”, and (seriously) a martini shaker that we got as a wedding gift 12 years ago and have never once used.  In the picture, you will also see a cut up milk jug, but I ended up not needing it , so just ignore it. So take the mason jar cover and remove the flat plate from the inside of it.  Weave the ribbon through it so that it goes in one side of the cover and comes out the other side.  check out the picture so that you can see what I mean. image

After I took this picture, I realized that if I had two lengths, and crossed them like a plus sign, and did the same thing, that it would provide more stability.  You’ll be able to see this in the end photo.  In the above picture, you will also see that I cut my pencils to be the height of my mason jar plus a half inch.  I did this with my little hobby sized miter box.  I also disassembled the martini shaker and only used the cover.  The white thing to the right in the photo is the milk jug piece that I ended up not using.

Now you need to paint the jar cover (just the sides of the cover, only on the outside), the pencils and the martini shaker cover.

image

I cut out the bottom of a Solo cup (a plastic “keg” cup), and painted it the same color. This will be used to cover the holes in the martini strainer top.

image

Now is when it gets put together.  You will want to plug in your hot glue gun now, because it’s put together with lots of hot glue.  Take your mason jar cover, with the ribbon woven through the top, screw it onto the mason jar then invert it and center it on the top of your hat.  Glue the cover and the ribbons to the top of the hat.  Use plenty of glue because this is what will make your hat and your light into one solid unit. Next glue your pencils to the jar cover, spacing them out evenly at the four “corners” of the jar.  Once the glue dries, put your blue rubber band over the pencils at the same spot you just glued.  This will give them a little more stability.  Now,  invert your push light and put it on top of the mason jar’s bottom (when it’s on it should shine down into the jar).  If you haven’t already, glue the little plastic top to the martini shaker strainer top.  Now carefully squeezing the pencils together, place your cover onto the light.  It will sit on top of the underside of the light and catch the pencil ends in the edges.  When it’s time to turn on your light, just remove the cover to do so, then replace it.  I’m planning on hot gluing the cover in place for trick or treating, because my son will be running like a sugar-loaded maniac (which he will be by that time).  If you decide to do this, wait until it’s “showtime” because there will be no way to access the light once it is glued.

I decided after the fact to add some horizontal “bars” to my light.  I did this with blue pipe cleaners and just (say it with me) hot glued them in place.  Here is a closeup of the final hat/light assembly…

image

I just realized that the cover is on a little crooked, but it DOES fit on there straight, I promise you.

And that is the whole thing.  He wore it to a party last Saturday and these pictures were taken on my porch before we left.

image

image

That thing in his hand is called a “Sonic Screwdriver”.  It’s the Doctor’s tool and I bought it at Newbury Comics.  On Halloween night, he’ll be wearing a navy long sleeved tee, which I think will make the costume look even better.

I think that’ll just about do it.  Hope you enjoyed the tutorial and good luck making your own Tardis costume!

DIY Dog Bed – Part 2

So I’ve got this lovely table that I want to turn into an attractive, functional dog bed for Hazel, the 10 pound miniature schnauzer.

20130802-203656.jpg
First thing I did, after giving it a good scrub down with some Spic & Span, was to remove the doors.

20130802-203852.jpg
I briefly toyed with the idea of leaving them on so that I could close them up when I wanted to hide the dog bed from company, but decided that anyone who was invited to my house who had a problem viewing my dog’s bed, well they could just suck it. Get over yourself.

Next step was to sand off all of the varnish. In order for the new paint to “stick” and not “slide off”, I needed to get rid of all the shiny surfaces. When I was done doing that, the side table was even uglier than when I started if you could imagine.

20130802-204354.jpg
For anyone who’s interested, I used my Dremel, as well as some hand sanding on the moulding, and the little bun feet.

Now, time to start making it look pretty. First I gave it a coat of primer, to cover up the original dark walnut finish.

20130802-204812.jpg
Next, I filled I filled in the holes left after I removed the door hinges using some sandable wood putty.

20130802-205105.jpg
I put three coats of paint on the outside, a Valspar paint with satin finish called Dreamy Caramel (yum!) and three more on the inside, a Behr paint with glossy finish called Vanilla Custard (double yum!). I had the interior paint left over from the trim in our sitting room, which is why it has a gloss finish.

20130802-205721.jpg
Yeah baby! Now we’re getting somewhere!

One last addition…when I saw the beautiful four paneled interior on the cabinet, I wanted to highlight it with some wallpaper. I shopped around for wallpaper and realized that, holy crap, wallpaper is super expensive. Plan B was to buy some fabric and Mod Podge it to the walls. Here are the results…

20130802-210354.jpg

20130802-210705.jpg
I purposely chose this ultra feminine fabric that resembles a vintage wallpaper design.

OK, moving on to the cushion. I went to my local Joann store and spent a ridiculous amount of time hemming and hawing over all the choices and came up with these three fabrics…

20130802-211347.jpg
The paint chip at the top is the Valspar Dreamy Caramel that I used on the exterior of the cabinet. I should note that I actually chose the paint color after I picked out the fabrics. I do this whenever I have the option because its a lot easier than matching fabrics to paint.

I made a template of the inside of the cabinet using a pieced-together sheet of paper. Just lay it inside the cabinet then crease it along the bottom corners. Take it out, cut along the crease lines then try it out and trim if necessary.

20130802-212156.jpg
I had made a few box cushions before, but just sort of “winged it”. This time, I went on Pinterest and found a great tutorial that I used for this one. It was at Design Sponge, and it was by Amanda Brown. You can find it here…
http://m.designsponge.com/2012/01/upholstery-basics-boxed-cushion-sewing.html

Initially, I wanted to get a foam cushion, and cut it to shape, then cover it. I found however that the hexagonal shape made it difficult, and to get the thickness I wanted it would cost a freaking fortune. So I went with a fiberfill stuffing instead.

I made my own bias strips using the plaid fabric then sewed the welting for around the edges of the cushion like so…

20130803-161453.jpg
And, here is the completed cushion…

20130804-082604.jpg
Not too shabby!

I made a couple of extra cushions for the sides, because Hazel likes to sleep in a corner, then added a little extra decor and Voila! Completed doggie bed!

20130804-083908.jpg

20130804-083957.jpg

20130804-084010.jpg

20130804-084101.jpg
That’s it for my very first tutorial. I hope you enjoyed it and found it helpful. I think that there is a way to “follow” my blog so that you will get an email when I add any additional posts. If you can figure it out, please do.

Thanks for reading!

Update! The puppy has started settling in with us. When we first got her, she was only 2 pounds 11 ounces, but she goes to the vet tomorrow and we expect big things.

20130905-114359.jpg
The two dogs have been getting along well and much to my surprise, are sharing the dog bed. They take turns, as all civilized dogs should. When Violet is a bit older, and when I get a chance, I might make a second dog bed, but for now, we are all good.