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MACH: What Can I Do at Home?

The answer is, of course, anything you put your mind to. While true, that's not the best answer in this situation, so we are going to toss out some suggestions for fun and crafty projects you can do at home.

If you enjoy the programs available through MACH1, you might recognize some of these. However, many are new and designed for you to try at home.

Get a taste of library craftiness without the library…then bring your creations in and show us!


Costumes and Cosplay

Many of us love to make costumes and outfit from our favorite games, TV shows, manga and comics. Be it for Halloween, a convention, or just something to wear that makes you smile, we have resources for you.

Instructables 

This is a website devoted to all things crafty, by crafty people. If you want to make something, see how others have done it, or just get inspired, this is a great site. For people who are into cosplay, theatre, or just enjoy making weird outfits, the tutorials on this site range from the ridiculously simple to the astoundingly complex. Here are three projects on Instructables that might appeal to the costume enthusiast in you. There are literally thousands more available on Instructables itself – just do a search!

Animal Ears
This is about as simple, and as inexpensive, a tutorial as they come. You'd likely be able to make these for under $10; less if you have some of the pieces lying around.

Sandals (from the anime/manga Bleach)
These are simple and for anybody who wants to make sure they have all the pieces in place. The materials are as simple as they come.

Wooden Arms
On the other end of the spectrum, this detailed and complex tutorial teaches you to attach bark (or other materials) to a long glove with the purpose of making it retain mobility and flexibility, while still maintaining the illusion that you -- or at least part of you -- is made out of something very different.

 

All the world, made of paper

If you've ever been to our Paper Engineers program (Thursdays, from 3:30 – 4:30, for ages 8-18), or the Sunday Origami Club (the 3rd Sunday of every month) then you know some of the really cool things you can build with just a few sheets of paper. There are plenty of projects you can do at home though as well – from coiled paper spheres (lampshades and more), cube art and printable 3D paper sculptures, to the venerable classic paper folding art of origami. Below are a few projects and websites to whet your appetite for this surprisingly complex medium.

40 Papercraft Projects

This site has a crazy amount of different projects you can sink your teeth into, from the simple to outrageously complex. All require at least a good pair of scissors, some glue, and a steady hand – but let you make some truly unique things.

KamiBox
With a few dozen fantastic projects including ones from videogames, cartoons, and even ones that move, this is a great resource. The templates can all be printed out and most have detailed instructions along with the images. They are even color coded in terms of difficulty; green, yellow, orange!

Origami Fun
For a quick introduction to origami, basic folding, and both simple and complex projects, check out Origami Fun. This colorful site is designed to get you started right away with simple but fun origami projects.

 

Photography, Video, and Projects with Pictures

While we all may have fewer photographs lying around now that digital cameras are embedded right into our phones, we still love taking pictures and striving to capture that perfect moment. But what do you do when you find that moment again, three years later. Do you delete the image? Or maybe print it out and build it into something new and glorious!  Also in the section is tech that involves photography and video – stop motion is just the start of it!

Dexter Industries
These are complex projects that use Lego Mindstorms for a massive variety of uses – assembly, programming and other skills are needed, but the result can be pretty exciting. Just check out the Mindstorm automated stop motion camera enclosure!


Brit Co
Brit Co has many projects available on their site, but this list focuses on repurposing and reusing photographs and other pictures. Memory candles, magnets, t-shirt transfers…there are loads of projects for every skill level here.

Stop Motion (with your phone!)
Ever seen an old monster movie from before digital animation? You have better technology than they had, and you have it in the palm of your hand. Follow Jaclyn's step-by-step tutorial to start making these cool videos right away!


 

Science!

While art projects are all well and good – sometimes you just need some time to experiment. These are projects that are much more geared towards the science geek – each one is doable at home, and most have questions you could aim to answer while doing the projects.

Science Bob
These experiments are pretty simple to do, but let you investigate a wide range of forces and effects. Making slime, turning a bone into rubber, moving objects via static electricity or even just capturing a mini fog tornado – there are a lot of options.

General Projects

Still hungry for more projects? Try these sites and projects for a few more creative ideas. And remember…you can always come to the library and see what we are doing here!

Make 'Scratch Off' anything!
Do you love scratching lottery tickets, even though you never win? Do you want to give someone a special card or digital gift, but want to keep them in suspense? Consider this tutorial, which teaches you how to coat any image with a material that works just like the scratchers on lottery tickets – then let your imagination run wild.

Photo of someone working with Legos.
 

Light Up the Night

One of the awesome things about the MACH1 space is the fact that you get to make things that actually work. Combining science and electronics with art and creativity leads to some pretty impressive projects. Below are a few you can do at home if you can get your hands on a few LEDs!

Glowing Flowers
Yarn Bomb the real world with LED glowing flowers. You can transform a boring urban environment into a beautiful (and removable) art masterpiece with yarn bombing. Check out this great tutorial from the E-Textile Lounge on how to make your own fiber optic flower.

LED Throwies!
Little more than a magnet, a battery, and a bright LED, these throwies let you light up any metal object…from a distance!

15 LED Projects

The folks at Brit.Co have a great list of other LED related projects that are sure to brighten your day. From glowing umbrellas, cacti, and cotton candy, to several awesome lamps you can make yourself, these projects run the range from easy to hard and are all pretty darn beautiful. Oh, and Sparkleballs. If you have plastic cups, an LED string, and zip ties or a stapler, you can make this truly unique and awesome light. Cheap AND amazing!

 

Legos

Is there anyone who doesn't like Legos? Legos allow you to make some pretty impressive stuff. It only gets better when you start hacking the Legos for other purposes. Snowglobes, key holders, jewelry, robots…anything you can build, or hack, you can make. All you need…are Legos.


Chris McVeigh
These simple Lego projects can have you making simple, but fun, Lego creations in minutes.

Lego Ball
Okay. Legos are square. Or at least rectangular. Well, usually. This tutorial teaches you how to make a ball using nothing but rectangular Legos. And it rolls. Don't believe me? Check it out yourself!

Lego Hacks
This is where it gets really good. Ever wanted to make something new out of your Legos? Lamps, keyring holders, belts, a purse, USB sticks and jewelry – these are just a few of the awesome things you can repurpose your Legos for. Fair warning, most Legos won't survive the process, but you'll love what they become.

 

Computer-Aided Legos
Okay, so you have dozens of ideas for making Lego creations, but don't actually have the Legos? Try these programs which simulate building with any Lego bricks you could desire. Bricksmith for Macs, or BlockCAD and Mike's LegoCAD for PC.  *As always, never open something you download from the internet without running a virus and malware scan on it first.

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