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Kickin' it Old School

Each week for a year, the folks in the special collections library at the University of St. Andrews are taking a how-to book from the collection and following its instructions for a project, in order to get a clearer sense of what life was like a century or two ago. Thus far in 52 Weeks of Historical How-Tos, they've learned how to make shoe polish like an 1825 footman, bake mince pie from 10 different recipes dating from 1710-1862, perform parlour tricks to amaze your friends, and take photographs via the wet collodion process.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Mar 9, 2014 - 10 comments

 

Nothing makes a carrot more appealing than turning it into a centipede

If you're looking to play with your food and you've mastered the hotdog octopus (aka octodog), and you're sad that so many of the modern foods-and-crafts projects lack poetry to describe the crafting process, take a peek at Aunt Jo and Uncle George's Kritters of the Kitchen Kingdom from 1922. (And as you could expect, it's dated and a bit racist.)
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 10, 2013 - 24 comments

Made in Space!

"It is made out of velcro-like fabric that lines the Russian food containers [that are] found here on the International Space Station."
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Sep 29, 2013 - 37 comments

Papercraft project blog Paper Matrix

Paper Matrix is a blog that gives instructions for cool papercraft objects, "reinterpreting the Danish tradition of woven paper hearts and ornaments." Cut paper in the prescribed ways and weave it together carefully to make a mobile of colorful hot air balloons, gorgeous and complex boxes; simple but satisfying pennants and much more... including a full theater for performances by paper dolls.
posted by LobsterMitten on Sep 23, 2013 - 18 comments

Shrinky Chihuly comes with child-size eyepatch

Elementary school students are using Shrinky Dinks to make beautiful Chihuly-style minisculptures. And so can you! You don't need to buy official Shrinky Dinks - just save your #6 plastic and Chihuly it up.
posted by moonmilk on Sep 11, 2013 - 21 comments

"Things my little sisters have made for their Barbies."

"They pay a lot of attention to detail." A DIY miniature world made out of household scraps.
posted by applemeat on Jul 21, 2013 - 68 comments

The Welsh Space Campaign

The Welsh Space Campaign. The suit is made of the fabric woven in the last remaining wool mills in Wales. The astronaut boots are traditional Welsh clogs crafted by a traditional clog maker. The whole pressure system that will enable the astronaut to sustain life in outer space was built by a Welsh plumber. The aim of the designer is to reveal that Wales has the capacity to explore space, and to show that off-world culturalisation can be achieved through a collective communitarian effort; as a way to allow the people involved to reconsider their role and skill in relation to these cosmic contexts. -- We Make Money Not Art
posted by Bunny Ultramod on Jun 10, 2013 - 15 comments

Tutorial: Geeky Photography with Space Invaders Flash Stencils

Clever camera trickery in the form of flash stencilling by enclosing the flash and creating a window of a specific shape to let the light through, and then ‘light painting’ for the camera. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Apr 18, 2013 - 4 comments

Building a Treadle Lathe

A nicely crafted video showing the construction of a treadle lathe, a foot-powered device for woodturning. The builder uses only hand tools and traditional methods; even the drill press is hand-cranked. Useful for those interested in constructing such a thing, mesmerizing for those who enjoy "how it's made"-type videos.
posted by jedicus on Apr 18, 2013 - 18 comments

shell games

Steve Casino, painter of nuts. The back story. (via Incredible Things)
posted by madamjujujive on Mar 21, 2013 - 6 comments

Masters at work

If you're interested in glassblowing, or if you simply like to watch craftsmen at work, then here's a special treat for you: the Corning Museum of Glass (previously) has posted hours upon hours of videos of their studio demonstrations on Youtube. And if that's not enough, you might want to bookmark their live streams page, for they will be streaming about a dozen studio demonstrations over the summer. [more inside]
posted by daniel_charms on Feb 18, 2013 - 11 comments

You've got an old computer, your're crafty, and you spent way too much time watching "Transformers" as a kid.

Suppose you’ve got an old computer around, just taking up space, and your initial attempts at finding alternate uses for it have not been successful. But you know perfectly well that, according to this super scientific pie graph, there must be better recycling ideas out there on the net. Let’s have a look at some of them, shall we? [more inside]
posted by orange swan on Oct 22, 2012 - 19 comments

arts & crafts blogging, subset: geek

Geek Art Gallery features many different kinds of geek-related art in round-ups and posts: art installations, animation, comics, film shorts, paintings, photography, sculpture - even desserts. Specifically craft-focused geek blogs: Geek Crafts and Sprite Stitch (previously)
posted by flex on Aug 12, 2012 - 1 comment

Artists of Angola

'At Angola Prison in Louisiana, model inmates or "trustees" are encouraged to participate in "hobby craft" as a part of their rehabilitation. Hobby craft is an arts program that involves painting, wood & leather working, taxidermy, furniture building, and many other disciplines.In many cases, they are given special workshops, tools and even private studios to work in.The goods are sold to the public at the prison’s annual rodeo and art fair. The money raised is then split mainly between inmates' families and prison administration, with the inmates themselves receiving only a small amount to buy more materials for the next fair. A sad irony is that this rehabilitation will rarely benefit the prisoners in the outside world because 90% of them have life sentences, and will end up being laid to rest at "The Farm."' A photographic essay.
posted by I love to count on Jun 20, 2012 - 34 comments

friendship bracelets

Friendship bracelets! A photo tutorial for chevrons and another photo tutorial for basic stripes, chevrons, & diamonds. More basics with simple patterns & advanced. The BeyondBracelets thorough video tutorials (& on her blog is a bracelets 101 to gradually progress your skills). For complicated patterns check out these, and also these (with alphabet patterns & instructions), and also this crowdsourced free pattern-sharing site (patterns & tutorials), and finally this dollar-a-pattern pay site. If you're not interested in bracelets you can use the same idea for tangle-free headphones or wrapping tech cords & cables. (previously: lanyards)
posted by flex on Jun 17, 2012 - 33 comments

Bright Lights for Christmas

Holiday Shopping Guide: All Gizmo Everything
posted by rollick on Dec 9, 2011 - 11 comments

Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs from Many Countries and Cultures

Mama Lisa's World of International Music & Culture is a collection of songs and rhymes from around the world, in their original languages and with English translations, which you can browse by continent or country. Additionally, you can find a collection of English nursery rhymes, with a selection of period illustrations, with sources cited. And if you don't know the tunes, many of these songs and rhymes have links to MP3s, MIDI files, and videos. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 1, 2011 - 3 comments

GlassPipes.org

GlassPipes.org has 217,287 pictures of glass pipes. Here are five of them.
posted by Trurl on Sep 30, 2011 - 52 comments

Curiously useful things, courtesy of a breath mint

22 Manly Ways to Reuse an Altoids Tin
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jul 14, 2011 - 58 comments

"There is no separation between her art and her life."

Think you love to crochet? I can guarantee you’re not a patch on Polish-born New York artist Agata Oleksiak, now known as Olek. Olek has covered everything in her apartment with its own custom-made crocheted sweater, and a installation of those items is on display at the Christopher Henry Gallery in Nolita until May 28. She’s also done people, bicycles, cars, windows in abandoned buildings, the bull on Wall Street, and pretty much anything else that would stay still long enough. She keeps track of her crocheting time by counting the number of movies she watches while making an item. I notice she uses variegated acrylic, which is the cheapest yarn on the market. I always wondered who was still buying that "ugly afghan" yarn.
posted by orange swan on May 26, 2011 - 27 comments

This fine-art project is definitely going to give you cancer (or has already given you cancer).

The Hairpin shows us how to how to make a doll into a wine glass in 23 quick steps.
posted by item on May 16, 2011 - 35 comments

The World's Largest Model Airport

Frederik and Gerrit Braun, energetic twin brothers with no shortage of dreams, have just finished construction of the world’s largest model airport. With 40,000 lights, 15,000 figurines, 500 cars, 10,000 trees, 50 trains, 1000 wagons, 100 signals, 200 switches, 300 buildings and 40 planes, Knuffingen Airport is both a wonder to behold as well as a technological tour de force. The best part of Knuffingen is that it’s alive. Forty planes and 90 vehicles move about autonomously.
posted by Trurl on May 12, 2011 - 26 comments

paper sculpture

Giang Dinh uses the wet folding origami technique to make faces, animals, figures, and even miniatures.
posted by heatherann on Mar 20, 2011 - 12 comments

Amy Sedaris crafts things

Amy Sedaris has a YouTube channel where she demonstrates how to craft objects from her new book Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People. So far she's made hot dogs on a rake, potato ships, a donut bird feeder, a Thanksgiving centerpiece, pompoms and a rabbit treat called Dynamite Stixx.
posted by Kattullus on Jan 17, 2011 - 48 comments

Sock it to me

Antique sock knitting machines are seeing a resurgence in popularity, and so is knitting socks by hand. You can knit them on needles that are double-pointed or circular, one sock at a time or both at once. [more inside]
posted by bewilderbeast on Mar 4, 2010 - 32 comments

The Ugly Side of Crafting

Crafting can be great. But beware: crafting can also go spectacularly wrong. Fortunately for the benefit of those of us who might become so proud of having made something, anything, all by ourselves, that we are oblivious that the result is an aesthetic travesty, there are websites making a valiant attempt to document the legion of ways in which crafting can get totally out of hand. Before you pick up those needles or scissors or fire up the kiln or soldering iron, check out: Glitter Gone Bad; Handmade Gone Wrong; What Not To Craft, Homemade Hilarity; and Kraftomatic. The sturdy souls at CraftFail (previously) deserve special credit for documenting their own crafting mishaps, and Regretsy (also previously) and Etsy WTF will help you choose wisely from among Etsy’s hand-crafted wares. [more inside]
posted by orange swan on Nov 22, 2009 - 65 comments

DIY Forge

DIY Forges: not forgery, but making your own smithy. There are plenty of variations available, but there's something special when a teenage boy builds his own forge and teaches himself black smithing.
posted by plinth on Nov 20, 2009 - 31 comments

Softies for Mirabel

In its' third year, Softies for Mirabel is an appeal for handmade stuffed toys to benefit children supported by The Mirabel Foundation. [more inside]
posted by hecho de la basura on Nov 5, 2009 - 2 comments

An' you get to tend the rabbits

Rabbit Tarot by Nakisha Elsje VanderHoeven. [more inside]
posted by cjorgensen on Oct 26, 2009 - 24 comments

This is not your grandmother's crafting web site

If you’re into crafting, you’ve probably stumbled upon Craftster, a crafting community web log within which members can post pictures and documentation of their own crafts and processes, share information and tutorials, and get feedback. The crafts tend to be off-beat and original and many involve upcycling – this is not a site where one would proudly post pictures of a completed paint-by-numbers or rug hooking kit project. The Craftster esprit de corps is nicely expressed by its slogans, which include, “No tea cosies without irony”, “Knit fast. Die Warm”, “Measure twice, cut once. Meh. Just start cutting”, and “Cheaper than therapy”. Craftster was launched in 2003, has 700,000 visitors a month, and, besides posting and discussion boards for every possible subset of crafting, its features include a calendar of forthcoming crafting events, member-created city guides to craft resources in your area, and staff-written articles. But I especially wanted to draw your attention to the Craftster Craft Challenges, the first one of which was announced on April 28, 2005. If you’re competitive and crafty, you have just enough time to whip up something for the 41st crafting challenge, which is to create an “edible craft” (the entry posting window is August 1st to August 5th). For inspiration, check out the 40 previous Craft Challenges. [more inside]
posted by orange swan on Jul 29, 2009 - 21 comments

The Good, The Bad and The Etsy

The Good, The Bad and The Etsy. A blog highlighting the Good, the Bad, and the Etsy. [via mefi projects]
posted by Greg Nog on Jul 24, 2009 - 30 comments

The Needlers and the Hookers and the damage done

Crafters may look like a close-knit group, but the reality is that there are armed camps within crafting. Knitters and crocheters brandish their respective tools and claim their craft is easier to learn or more versatile, while those who are bistitchual remain determinedly on the fence. For the uninitiated/uncrafty, here’s an explanation of the difference between the two. “Wooly Bullies” [sic], a documentary, explores the animus between the Needles and the Hooks. When Sandi Wiseheart of Knitting Daily dares to mention the “c” word, she gets many comments from knitting readers who, while stressing that they have nothing against crochet, just don’t want to see it in their backyard magazine. When Kim Werker, editor of Interweave Crochet, tries to talk to the Knitting Daily crowd about crocheting she gets even more negative feedback. Part of the problem seems to be that while knitters contend with the “old lady’s pastime” stereotype, crocheters are up against the much more negative “granny square and toilet paper cosy” stigma. [shakes head in sorrow] Crafters, can’t we all just get along? and make stuff?
posted by orange swan on Jul 13, 2009 - 111 comments

No hammer shall ring out its joyful song today.

Renowned blacksmith, Phillip Simmons, of Charleston, SC has died at age 98. [more inside]
posted by 1f2frfbf on Jun 24, 2009 - 16 comments

Creative Commons...I think you're doing it wrong

Instructables.com moves to a "pay to see" model Instructables, the community craft blog of the handy set, has moved to a closed pay-only model, and the timer is ticking for legacy accounts. After 90 days from implementation rollover, people who do not pay for an Instructables "Pro" account will have their accounts "crippled". Non-paying accounts will no longer be able to view entire instructables at once, print out projects or get a PDF, have a "favorites" list, and most perniciously, people won't be able to view "secondary" images in instructable steps that have multiple images. (Even if you happen to be the person that created it.) [more inside]
posted by dejah420 on Jun 17, 2009 - 61 comments

You've got (junk) mail (and craft materials)!

Your household probably gets something like 800 pieces of junk mail per year. Other than sighing and tossing the junk into your recycling bin, what are your options? Of course, I’d urge you to support any one of the numerous current anti-junk mail campaigns (do be aware of any possible conflicts of interest), but until those measures take effect, there is always crafting. [more inside]
posted by orange swan on May 24, 2009 - 29 comments

Arts & Crafts Videos from Etsy

Etsy has a YouTube channel where they have all kinds of profiles of their users and how-to guides. My two favorite series are the Process series (e.g. New Books with Old Materials & Tin Toys) and Handmade Portraits (e.g. Armor Guitars & Wood Mosaics). In the description of each video there is a link to the corresponding entry on Etsy's blog, The Storque. The blogposts have more information on the users and sometimes further links and videos. [via Work in Progress]
posted by Kattullus on Apr 20, 2009 - 5 comments

Barefoot and crafting in the kitchen

If you’ve got extra kitchenware about is never used to cook or contains food anymore, here are some (low calorie!) ways to use it again. If you’ve kicked your caffeine habit, your metal coffeepots can become lamps, or your teapot can morph into a camel. Other items of kitchenware can become recycled toys. [more inside]
posted by orange swan on Apr 5, 2009 - 7 comments

Crafting can be the perfect way to cap off your St. Patrick's Day celebration!

For St. Patrick's Day, rather than show you how to knit your own leprechaun or make a hat out of a ice cream container (because who the hell wants to do that), I'm going to help you with your after party cleanup. You'll have lots of bottle caps and wine corks lying about afterwards, so here are some ideas on what to do with them. [more inside]
posted by orange swan on Mar 17, 2009 - 15 comments

Have a forking good time crafting!

If you have too much mismatched cutlery to fit in your kitchen drawers, take a stab at crafting with it! Make a wind chime, fork key ring, fork cup rings or coat hooks, make cutlery clocks, or light fixtures such as these by designer Ali Siahvoshi. Or you can make jewelry: fork bracelets, a fork necklace pendant, or collaged spoon necklace pendants like those made by SpoonFedArt. Forks and spoons make groovy rings. Here’s how to make spoon rings. For more inspiration, check out this cutlery chair sculpture by Osian Batyka-Williams, this cutlery table by Toni Grilo, some sculpture by Matthew Bartik, Vince Pompei’s whimsical silverware flowers, clocks and sculptures, or the items at Forkometry. Just don’t get so carried away with your new craft that you find yourself having to eat with your fingers.
posted by orange swan on Mar 8, 2009 - 9 comments

It's curtains for your old linens!

Does your linen closet runneth over? Yes, you say, you have a stack of towels you regularly use in the bathroom and for swan origami, but you have others that are getting worn. You have tablecloths and aprons you never use, your dish towels seem to breed in their drawer, and you have pillowcases which have outlasted their matching sheets, king-sized bed sheets for the bed your ex took when you split, and your linen closet contains a selection of linens that are faded or torn or leftover from former decorating colour schemes. What are you to do with them? [more inside]
posted by orange swan on Mar 4, 2009 - 23 comments

Last one to craft is a rotten egg!

You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs, and you can’t buy eggs without winding up with egg cartons. What will you do with the empty cartons? Well, you could make a string of flower lights, lamps, or a pendant light. If you refrained from drinking too much egg nog over the holidays, you might be lightweight enough to make use of a egg carton seat. This company makes footstools out of egg cartons. [more inside]
posted by orange swan on Feb 23, 2009 - 15 comments

My crafty Valentine, sweet recycled Valentine...

You forgot all about Valentine’s Day and now must come up with an extra special momento to pacify your beloved. Or you are sitting home alone with no way to celebrate V-day. In either case, it’s crafting time! You can recycle things you probably already have to make Valentine’s Day trinkets. You can start by making a card with scrap yarn, or from wrapping paper. You can make gift bows or a heart-shaped candy basket from recycled magazines, and a gift bag from a newspaper. You can make a love letter box from an old box. The kids or the artist in your life might like to get heart-shaped crayons, made from stubby old crayons. [more inside]
posted by orange swan on Feb 14, 2009 - 5 comments

Silly String

Yarn Bombing. I guess it had to happen eventually. Graffiti with yarn some say. Keeping trees, benches and what have you warm and fuzzy.
posted by Extopalopaketle on Jan 22, 2009 - 25 comments

Sock it to me, eco-crafters!

What can be done with worn, outgrown or single socks? Well, if you want to wear those favourite socks awhile longer, you can darn them. If your baby’s feet are no longer so tiny, make a baby sock purse or sachet, baby sock reindeer, or baby sock corsage or bouquet decorations for a friend’s baby shower. You can make a hat out of your child’s outgrown socks, or your kids can make Barbie clothes. You can use single socks to make a foot massager, potholders, slippers, a dog rug, a snowman, sock puppets or cute critters. Or sock art installations. See these articles for more pedestrian ways to use socks.
posted by orange swan on Jan 15, 2009 - 18 comments

Your suitcase doesn't suit you? Tired of lugging that luggage?

If you’ve got a shabby old suitcase and want to give it a makeover, you could always découpage it. Or disguise it as a watermelon. If it doesn't have wheels, you can add some. If you aren’t traveling much these days, you could put a synthesizer in your suitcase. Or turn it into a pet bed, or a planter. Suitcases can be used as an end table, or turned into chairs and ottomans. The pockets from old suitcases make useful additions to bulletin boards. And if you have unused purses, here are some ideas on how to repurpose them. For info on getting rid of/transforming other types of baggage, see AskMe.
posted by orange swan on Jan 8, 2009 - 16 comments

Don't hit the books; craft with them

So, you have some old books lying around you don’t read and that you're pretty sure no one else will ever read because they have pages missing or they’re hopelessly outdated technical manuals or they never should have been published in the first place. What to do? As always, crafting is an option. You can make a wrist cuff, or a purse. Book covers can be made into clocks, or photo frames, or photo and card stands. They can become CD and DVD cases, or a hiding place for valuables or necessary contraband, Shawshank Redemption-style. [more inside]
posted by orange swan on Jan 4, 2009 - 20 comments

Keeping the rest of your hands busy

So you've spent the holidays playing games, but now you have to be back at work. How to get your gaming fix during commutes and lunch-hours, whilst keeping up with that resolution to Learn Something New this year? Well, you could make a Sack-Boy. You can keep your portable games device warm with a Zelda cosy. You can knit up a Pacman scarf or a Space Invaders bag or socks if you're feeling retro. Or you can make a pocket ninja, an invincibility star to get you through the afternoon, a maqgnetic Katamari ball to spring-clean that desk, or a friendly companion cube. (and if you're too cack-handed to knit, you can sew a friendly cube with the pattern here and tutorial here!)
posted by mippy on Jan 4, 2009 - 13 comments

For any time of the month....

A bit late for some of us to make this nifty Tampon New Year’s Eve Ball, but these er lovely earrings can be worn year round. [Feminine Hygiene Product fun previously on metafilter]
posted by gomichild on Dec 31, 2008 - 22 comments

Should auld calendars be tossed out, and never brought to mind?

As 2009 approaches, you’re taking down your old calendars and wondering what to do with them. You still enjoy those Monet/Jeff Foxworthy/rose garden/Playmate images so much you hate to throw them in the recycling bin. Don’t worry, there are ways to reinvent that calendar so you can enjoy those images for years to come. For starters, you could make envelopes and notecards out the calendar. Though perhaps you won’t want to use your new Playmate stationery to write to Grandma. [more inside]
posted by orange swan on Dec 28, 2008 - 7 comments

High Craftibility: crafting with old vinyl records, cassette and VHS tapes

Audio visual technology changes so fast that if you’re of a certain age you’ve been left holding the bag of cassettes, VHS tapes and vinyl records. What will you do with these AV artifacts if you no longer want to play them? Have no fear; you can have lots of crafty fun with your real audio. You can make a cassette tape mini journal, a cassette wallet or cassette coin purse, or a mini cassette lamp. If you’re into melting stuff, you can make a sculpture, such as this skeleton, from the plastic. The tape can be crocheted or knitted into items like totes, evening bags, Barbie halter dresses, or baby booties. [more inside]
posted by orange swan on Dec 21, 2008 - 11 comments

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