Monday, 20 May 2013

Another DIY colour toy - tangrams!

I adore tangrams. They're nifty and neat. Geometrically beautiful yet creative. Also easy peasy to make your own. I started with a $3 pack of foam sheets from the cheapy shop.

If you can't remember how to make tangrams from a square there are many internet sites to help you out. This is a nice one you can use to make a paper template. Of course, my foam rectangles were larger than the A4 paper I started with, so I used it as a reference instead.

Make yourself a square. Then use the corners to mark one large and two smaller triangles. You can be neat about it and draw the shapes with a pencil, or you can wing it like I mostly did.

Cut these out, and put the two smaller triangles aside. With the longer side of the triangle at the top, fold up the point to give your self a crease. Here if you measured it might be more accurate but for my purposes this is close enough. Give the foam a good press to make a line.

Then cut along this line.

Put the bottom triangle aside. Now fold the top piece in half lenthwise.

Cut down the middle. Then for the right piece, I used my trusty quilting ruler to line up with the bottom right corner, to cut it into a square and triangle, like so:

Put the square aside. Take the small triangle and use it as a template for your last cut. Flip it over, and place the right angle on top of the right angle of the remaining piece on the left.

One last cut, and you're all done! Hurray!

Now you've done one, it's really fast to use the pieces as templates to cut out some more.

Aren't they pretty? I'm going to make up a bunch of cards with a gazillion tangram ideas that the kids can try to copy. In the meantime, they can freestyle.

Easy DIY colour toys

I know from pinterest I'm not the only crafty nerd who gets excited and inspired by paint cards from hardware stores. I think it's Taubman's that come in this nifty circular shape with a slit to the centre. 

Slip a bunch together and you have an adjustable rainbow wheel.

I used an idea from pinterest to make this matching game:

I've also been working on tangrams... stay tuned!

More woodwork - a loft bed lift

One of Elliot's privileges of turning 5 was having his reversible Ikea bed turned up the big boy way. For anyone not in the know, this is one of the most popular beds for little kids. I've promised him some curtains to cover the new hidey hole below. In the meantime, I was distracted by a request for a lift.

Naturally, I sketched a few ridiculously complicated mechanisms with multiple pulleys and a crank winder. Then I picked up some cheapish awning pulleys from Lincraft, and mocked up a more sensible little hand pull model.

Of course Elly's first reaction to this was to run to the bedroom to look for the real thing. Sigh. Must stop making these projects seem so easy. Later that afternoon he came with me to Bunnings to get our supplies. We bought some 40x18mm untreated oak that matched the bed frame, a cleat, some 3mm awning cord, a hook and some support brackets. The blue basket was $3 at Neds. I kept the natural oak finish and sanded down the corners at the top for appearance's sake. And here's the finished product.

If I made this again I would use all screws instead of nailing the t-junctions. That was just sloppy woodwork, but the metal braces seem to have done the trick with eliminating any wobbles. Hard to get good photos in Elliot's room as it's a tad gloomy. Here's a dark action shot. Doesn't help he's wearing a hoodie!

It took him a few tries to get the hang of the cleat but then he was whizzing the torch and water bottle up and down like there was no tomorrow. Mission lift - a success!

Birthday sewing

The beanbags proved such a hit I made up another set for Elliot's birthday. These are smaller and easier to throw and catch. The shape is also quite sweet.


And on the off chance someone might want to put them away again, their own drawstring bag.


#19 make or rennovate a piece of furniture - done!

For Elliot's birthday I made a play kitchen. In a timely co-incidence, it was finished just after he parked a plane in the real griller. When Dave went to make a toasty sandwich he inadvertently melted it. Our kitchen smelled rather peculiar.




happy birthday Elly!

Remember this little guy?

baby elliot with bear

He recently turned 5. Much excitement! We had a great party with some of his kindy friends and, naturally, a superhero theme. I made some capes out of cheap plastic tablecloth. Elly chose the jellybean contact to put letters on the back.

Their favourite game was one where we lined up cardboard boxes and had them pretend to be the Hulk and smash the city down. Spiderman web-slinging game - shooting silly string at posters - also went down well. I didn't get any photos of these but I'm sure some of the other parents did.

A proper new bike for the big boy.

With clearly the coolest bike helmet ever... well done Dave who shopped around for this one!

Not a kid's party without some sugary treats:

Happy birthday, little man!