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.

Buy Maker Dad on Amazon

Cards for brainstorming product design

Tina Aspiala’s KnowCards are packs of cards with simple descriptions of components you can use to understand or design new products.

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How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding and Maintaining Your Home

How Your House Works is a great visual resource and introduction for anyone not acquainted with the workings of a house and is a great companion for more in-depth DIY guides.

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The Handmade Skateboard: design and build a board from scratch

I have instructions for making a longboard in my father-daughter DIY book, Maker Dad. This book, The Handmade Skateboard by Matt Berger, is a deep dive into making skateboards. It has step-by-step instructions for designing and building several different kinds of boards, and I love that he included his two young daughters in the book. It’s loaded with tips about making skateboards that could apply to many different kinds of woodworking projects.

See sample pages at Wink. While you're at it, check out Wink's 2014 Holiday Gift Guide!

Favorite self-tracking apps and the best mushroom book

In this week’s episode of the Cool Tools Show, Gary Wolf, Co-founder of Quantified Self, shows us how his favorite Quantified Self inspired apps help him stay consistent, motivated and aware about his most important daily routines. If you’re struggling to keep your healthy habits in check, this week’s episode may help you diagnose where those dips in motivation are coming from.

A smart way to make even stitches when hand sewing

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A classic instructional cartooning book

It’s easy to like cartoons. It’s hard to draw them (at least something better than stick figures). Sometimes the best cartoons are drawn out of basic shapes and lines that look easy to draw by anyone, and yet it takes genius to draw like that. And genius is the word I use to describe the author’s drawings and teachings in this classic book.

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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.

Space Buckets: DIY indoor gardening units

A "space bucket" enthusiast named Agustin let me know about a DIY community that grows chives, basil, dill, peppers, cherry tomatoes, and cannabis in stacked 5 gallon plastic buckets equipped with lighting and ventilation systems. The photo gallery of builds is impressive.

Inexpensive, No-Blind-Spot Rearview Mirror

NASCAR drivers and law enforcers use custom wide-angle rearview mirrors to avoid head-swiveling. You can buy a wide-angle mirror that attaches over an existing rearview for $60, but you can make one for about $12 and a few shop scraps. By Phil Bowie and Larry Cotton.

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The life-changing magic of Tidying Up

If something doesn’t spark joy, get rid of it. Marie Kondo on the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing

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