Online Spirograph

Look at the pretty design I made using Nathan Friend's elegant Inspirograph site.

Pippi Won’t Grow Up – Whimsical, charming and wonderfully absurd

Just released today is Pippi Won’t Grow Up, Drawn and Quarterly’s third volume of Pippi Longstocking comics. Last spring I reviewed the hilarious second volume, Pippi Fixes Everything, and this one is just as whimsical, humorous and utterly charming.

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WATCH: Life hacks for kids

Our family friend Sunny is a great ukulele player and project maker. Here's here new web series, Life Hacks for Kids.

WATCH: Make a cool spinning pencil toy

Arvind Gupta, master of making toys from trash, shows you how.

Make a Christmas Krampus!

Just in time for the Christmas season, Bob Knetzger has instructions to build your own tiny child-nabber.

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Improved Mid-Century Modern rocking chair

chair-openerMy book Maker Dad has instructions for making this Mid-Century Modern rocking chair. The design is based on a chair that was built around 1950 by Alexey Brodovitch, a designer who was the art director at Harper's Bazaar from 1934 to 1958. I built Brodovitch's chair and discovered that it was not very sturdy. I changed the design to have better support, and a few iterations later came up with a chair that felt more robust.

Last week Edward Reading sent me photos of the chair he built with his son. He improved on my design: "I counter-sunk the dowels about half the thickness of the plywood, and glued them for additional support. I also notched the sides to receive the 8" brace, and glued that in as well." Good job, Ed!

Here are photos of his chair:

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Ed's son is holding the peg trick, which you can see in the above video.

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Kit that lets you build a "chaos machine"

My friend William Gurstelle told me: "Remember when you assigned me the Make magazine story about the Chaotic Double Pendulum? Well, I always thought that was one of my very best projects. About two years ago, I invented a toy based on that project and called it the Chaos Machine. I've been working with Fat Brain Toys on the project for quite a while and lo and behold, as of today, we're ready to go.

Chaos Machine ($40)

My Maker Dad book is $2 on Kindle

My book, Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects is just $2 as a Kindle right now.

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Easy to Make Solenoid Engine

I want to make one of these.

The Majesty of Easter Island

As a young boy, Tom Fassbender remembers being fascinated by Easter Island while watching In Search Of, but he never thought he’d have the chance to actually visit the place — then his family decided to travel around the world.

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A history of functional toy cameras

Written by pop-culture authors Buzz Poole and Christopher D. Salyers (who is also a toy camera collector), Camera Crazy is an attractively photographed collection of functioning toy cameras, which were popularized in the 1960s when the plastic 120 film “Diana” hit the market for only $1 a pop. Although always a hit with children, toy cameras have also been revered by collectors and photographers who welcome the artistic challenge of shooting with a plastic box that offers only a fixed focus and single shutter speed. From 1970s Mick-A-Matics and Gobots Cameras (1985) to Tamagotchi Cameras (1997) and Lego Digital Cameras (2011) – and everything in between – this book pays homage to over one-hundred of these cameras as well as many photographs produced by these “toys.” With a camera now included in every smart phone, I hope toy cameras don’t become a thing of the past.

Camera Crazy by Buzz Poole and Christopher D. Salyers

Take a look at other beautiful paper books at Wink. And sign up for the Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

Make this nifty indoor boomerang

From Futility Closet: a cool little paper boomerang.

Mathematician Yutaka Nishiyama of the Osaka University of Economics has designed a nifty paper boomerang that you can use indoors. A free PDF template (with instructions in 70 languages!) is here.

Hold it vertically, like a paper airplane, and throw it straight ahead at eye level, snapping your wrist as you release it. The greater the spin, the better the performance. It should travel 3-4 meters in a circle and return in 1-2 seconds. Catch it between your palms.

Intro to measuring tools

As Steve Hoefer’s uncle would say, “I cut it twice and it’s still too short.”

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Free video class: 12 cool parent-child projects with Jane and Mark

projects

My 11-year-old daughter Jane and I recorded a 2-day video workshop produced by CreativeLive. You can watch it today for free. We'll show you how to make 12 cool projects, ranging from electronic musical instruments to balloon videocameras.

Whipped Cream spray angle test

Rob Cockerham says: "I enlisted my kids to help with a trial where I hoped to illustrate the optimum spray angle of whipped cream. I thought it would be 90 degrees, I was totally wrong."