Category Archives: use for wire scraps

Can Constellation Lantern Craft

This is a fun way to learn constellations! After children make their own lantern, they will surely want to go out and study the night sky above.

I think this is a pretty cool idea if I do say so myself.

Tools:

Fine metal sandpaper, fine metal file, pliers, small hammer, metal punch, nail (hard to see in photo), yellow colored pencil, wire cutters and a pair of protective eye wear.

P.S. I made the star on the wall by cutting it out from a aluminum beer can.

How to:

Clean the can and remove the label. Recommended can sizes: 16 oz. cans can be used but I prefer to use 28 oz. cans.

You will want to freeze water in the can or stuff it with newspaper to provide support while making holes.

If you don’t want to wait for water to freeze, tightly roll up newspaper and put the roll in the can. Then squeeze in more newspaper along the side until you can’t add anymore.

Use star maps to draw star constellation patterns on a piece of paper. Or you can save yourself the trouble and use the constellation guides that I created and sized especially for this project.

Constellation Guides (19):*

Aquarius, Aries, Cancer, Capricornus, Cassiopia, Cygnus, Gemini, Hercules, Leo, Lyra, Orion, Pegasus, Perseus, Pieces, Sagittarius, Scorpius, Taurus, Ursa Major, and Virgo.

*Because it takes a tremendous amount of time for me to develop projects like this, design and draw a pattern (s), test ideas, make, take pictures, edit pictures, write the how to, etc… I’m asking for a mere 2 dollars (see side donation button for quick payment with Paypal or mail a check). Send me an e-mail (hesterjane@FunIntheMaking.net) and I’ll send you easy to print pdf files with the patterns in two sizes (large and small).

Here is a sample constellation: Hercules Guide

Print out the constellation and tape the guide onto the outside of the can. Decide on the size guide you want to use. Both guides will work on the two size cans recommended above (because both cans are about 4 inches high.) However, some constellations look better in the smaller format because they fit better on the front of the can: opposed to wrapping around the can. You decide.

This is the fun part! Use a nail or a metal punch to make holes as marked on your guide. Note: you should make bigger holes where there are bigger dots -small holes for small dots. Using nails would be more appropriate for children. Regardless, adult supervision is required for this part. Add another constellation on the other side of the can.

Don’t forget to add holes near the top for adding a handle later. They should be opposite each-other.

Use a fine metal file to file down the rough edges inside the can. Have an adult do this step. If you skip this step, be careful because it can scratch.

Go outside and paint your Can Constellation Lantern. Use black, navy blue or dark purple. Honestly, I think that any darkish color would be great: red, orange, green. This is a good project for left-over paint. Putting to use someone’s leftovers is better for the environment then just buying new so check your local re-store for inexpensive options. I used some left-over black spray paint. Let dry.

Use a straight edge and a yellow colored pencil to connect the dots as shown on the guide.

This is a close-up of the can constellation Hercules

Make a wire handle if you like. I used scrap electrical wire. Ask an electrician for scraps.

Illuminate your stars by putting a votive inside, a battery powered votive or use a flashlight. Only use a votive if it is properly supervised by an adult.

This is one of the holders I made for a children’s ”green” gift making winter workshop recently. The holder (A.) is made with three boards that are nailed together: shown in the picture. Miscellaneous scrap sticks (B.)of different sizes are removable and are switched to accommodate various can sizes.

Wouldn’t it be fun to take your can constellation lanterns to the beach on a warm summer evening for an evening of stargazing?

Enter to win this lantern here!

Build a Bot: Robot Building Party Favor Game

MYO robot party bots

Gossiping robots -These were made by two guests at party.

I designed this game because I wanted the kids to have something fun to do at my daughter’s 9th birthday party. In addition, I wanted to give out party favors but wanted to avoid the usual candy and plastic stuff.

Even the girls loved this robot building game. It generated lots of laughs and the kids liked that they could take their creation home.
Game rules
Using one dice, roll to see what number you get. Start with the birthday boy or girl and then continue around the table.
If you roll a one, pick out a body and pass the dice to the next player.
If it’s a two, pick out eyes and pass the dice to the next player.
If it’s a three, pick out a nose and pass the dice to the next player.
If it’s a four, pick out a head and pass the dice to the next player.
If it’s a five, pick out a mouth and pass the dice to the next player.
If it’s a six, pick out arms and pass the dice to the next player.
Bonus: If you roll the same number as the previous player, pick out an extra part. You might want to find something to be the ears, hair, eye brows…
Note: If you roll a two and you already have a set of eyes just pass on the die. There is no limit to the number of extras you can choose; as long as you are lucky enough to roll the same number as the previous player’s roll.
Game set up:
You will need to set up 7 trays; one for each number plus one more for extras. Find “trash” for the parts. Get enough for each player plus a few (for variety sake).
Body (one): olive oil cans, large cans…
Eyes (two): bottle caps, nuts, bolts, misc…
Nose (three): misc…
Head (four): cat food or tuna cans…
Mouth (five): misc.
Arms (six): thrift store silverware, electrical wire…
Extras: electronic wires,…

robot parts

Robot Part Trays
Children have artistic freedom. If they want the eyes to be on the side of the head, they should put them there. These robots develop a personality of their own. Make up a name for each. The first person to finish gets a small prize. The game continues until all the guests finish their robot. Some of the bots look like robot people and some resemble animals, some are clown-like and others are aliens.
After the children have designed their robot, you will need to glue on the parts while the kids move on to another activity. I used a glue gun which worked with most of the parts (avoid really heavy items). I also used magnets to hold some of the pieces. (The head attaches well to the olive can with a magnet.)
If you want to restrict your pieces to things that a magnet will stick to, you can make a Mr. Potato Head -like toy (We named it Mr. Bolt or Mrs. Washer.)The fun being that you can rearrange the pieces to make different faces. Just glue a magnet to the back of each piece.

More robot fun coming soon.

Fun To Make Autumn Leaf Mobile

Fall is such a pleasant time for me. I really enjoy the cooler temperatures and the changing colors of the foliage. When a gust of wind comes along and the leaves rain down, I smile. I guess that is why I like these mobiles so much. It is like being outside even when I have to be inside.

Try using the leaf stem called the petiole (if long enough) to tie the leaf to the branch.

Salvaged copper wire can be used to hang your mobile or use whatever you have on hand.
How to: Spend a pleasant afternoon collecting your favorite leaves. Take a walk perhaps with your son or daughter and search for the best specimens. Your theme could be one kind of tree or a variety of trees and colors. Also, find a small branch from which you will hang your leaves.
During your walk you could introduce a few vocabulary words and a bit of science. Mention deciduous plants are the plants that drop their leaves in preparation of the coming winter. Evergreen plants like pine trees and hollies stay green throughout the winter: they lose leaves too but not all at once. Abscission is the process by which leaves are shed.
When you get home, and if the leaf isn’t completely dried out, you can use the leaf’s petiole (the stem part) to tie the leaf to the branch. Alternatively, glue the leaves directly onto the branch. Clamp with a cloths pin until the glue dries.

These ginkgo leaves are so beautiful. On that day the ground was painted yellow from fallen ginkgo leaves. The shadows are beautiful too.
Another option is to hang the leaves from pieces of string, thread or fishing line.  You might be able to salvage some fishing line. I’ve found some in the past near fishing spots and saved it for projects. Plus, I feel good about picking up litter.

I wish I had made this ginkgo leaf mobile with thread instead of this string because the thread would be almost invisible.