Toys toys and more toys…. This week, a fleet of helicopters. Is it a fleet or a flock? Perhaps a squadron, who knows…. 52 Create is my year long project of creating something myself each week for the entire year. The majority of the items are out of wood, however last week we branched out into film. Check out the projects so far.
As I said above, this week I made 3 toy helicopters. Once you make one, you might as well make a few, and I’m hoping this one will be a big seller on my Etsy shop. The helicopter is made of Douglas Fir (dark wood) and the rest is maple dowels except for the baltic birch plywood rotor. They haven’t been finished yet as the weather is too cold but they will be getting a coat of polyurethane to help keep them in pristine shape.
I’ve also at long last put the two toy rangefinder cameras up for sale on my Etsy Shop. I finished them in shellac which is a food safe finish that is even used on some candies (sweets), so it’s a very safe finish for kids who may be keen to take a bite out of them…
Oh boy, I’ve had the idea for this one for months now. When I first dreamt it up, I had no workshop/tools, but little did I know how much trouble this little beauty was going to cause me!!! For those of you just joining in, this is week 3 in my 52 Create where I create 52 projects over 52 weeks.
First, let me tell you, wheels are not easy to come by. When I was a kid, my dad and I built a soap box car. We went to our local Canadian Tire and picked up some cheap wheels and by the end of the day I was ripping down the hill behind the Parliament buildings. Fast forward 20 years and things are no longer so simple. After visiting several stores, the best I could do were some snow blower wheels which were too heavy, and $10/wheel!!!! You can buy a toy stroller in Paris for $7. I should have bought one before we left and just ripped the wheels off… Anyways, after some ebay searching I ended up ordering 4 scooter wheels from the states. Total cost was $25 including shipping which still seems like a lot for what they are being used for, but in the end I’m happy how they turned out. My daughter loves strollers and at playgroup always finds one to tear around the room with.
The stroller is made out of Baltic Birch plywood, the dowels are from an old laundry hamper that a roomate broke/left behind. I had my wife sew up the seat from some corduroy fabric (she also made the doll in the picture below). In search of a safe kid friendly finish, I ended up using shellac. It was a bit of a pain as the Lee Valley sells the flakes, but not the alcohol. They also failed to tell me that although it recommends using Ethanol, that isn’t available in Alberta and so you need to use Methyl Hydrate instead. If I had known this at the beginning, I might have saved myself a lot of driving around. Shellac is of course food safe (used to coat M&M’s) and so is a great finish for kids objects. It’s also nice that it has no real smell to it, so I could apply the finish indoors.
Week two of 52 Create and I decided on a couple of toy cameras. My daughter loves playing with our real camera, so why not make her a little wooden version? I went for a rangefinder style (whom am I kidding, it’s supposed to be a Leica) They are scaled down from a full sized camera as they’re meant for a 16 month old.
Both cameras are made from maple (and in Canada, making them an M 4-2 I guess…) and the lenses are from a dowel I had lying around the garage (not sure what type of wood). The lines are done with a wood burning pen, the lens and dark part of the one camera are done using a propane torch. There are no moving parts and I plan to finish them with shellac to make them kid safe (it’s -15 here right now so no finishing in the unheated garage for a while).
I’ll be putting the dark one up on Etsy, the lighter one would likely get me sued and my daughter seems to like it…
Shortly after our daughter arrived a year ago, I decided that I wanted to pass my love of craft down to her. While we can’t chose what our kids like or don’t like, we do have some influences, so I thought that I would always make my daughter gifts for her birthdays and Christmas. I wanted her to see that toys don’t have to be bought, and for her to understand the time and effort that goes into making toys at home. I realize at one year of age, this is not very relevant to her, but you might as well start off on the right foot.
Unfortunately when I made this decision, I was enjoying my full workshop and house full of crafty tools. Move ahead one year and I am in Paris in an apartment that is less than 300 sq/ft and my tools consist of a leatherman and duct tape… Being in Europe, I felt a castle was appropriate, while I figured she’d be just as happy with an empty box, I did really enjoy the project.
A shoe box was quickly turned into a castle using the leatherman and a small amount of clear duct tape. Next a toilet paper roll was attached as a turret, with a pointed roof coming from a paper shopping bag. I decorated the outside walls of the castle with some permanent markers, drawing a dragon, a moat, some trees, and even some ivy growing up the sides.
The castle needed a kind and queen of course, and what better thing to use than some empty film cans. My daughter already loves playing with the film cans, and adding a face to each and throwing a few pennies inside made them all the more fun.
She loved it. And although the turret was pulled off in the first 5 minutes of play, she is still enjoying her castle several days later. I’ve been reading a lot of made by joel lately, and I hope to be the same with my kids as he is with his. I found it fitting that after making the project, I saw he had done a post on doll houses…