Soda Bottle Vase




Good day everyone! I was kinda busy these past few weeks (as always!) and lot of my projects have been held up because of that. So I decided to make something simple instead. This is another up-cycling project – turning a plastic soda bottle into a vase. Yep, nothing new here. It’s just a simple and easy project. However one of the step is new to me and I’m a bit struggling about it. We’ll get into that soon.



First of all, the material. I chose the standard 1.5 litre soda bottle for the job. The idea is to cut the bottle into two-third of its height and cut out a flowery pattern on it. I drew a simple flower motif with four equal length “petals” with additional flower and leaf hole patterns beneath it.




Cutting the flower petals is a daunting task but doable with a small scissors. The problem is with the hole patterns. Plastic bottle is quite thick and I couldn’t use cutter or craft knife to cut it, like, at all. The only solution is a youtube video that I saw where someone crafting the similar plastic bottle using a heated soldering iron.



With that solution in mind I grab an unused soldering iron, heat it up and start melting the plastic. A word of caution here, burning plastic is hazardous, I did it outdoors as it produce fumes. This is where it gets tricky, it is difficult to draw a pattern with a soldering iron. Lol. First you need a steady hand, and press just enough pressure to melt the plastic and create a hole. And then I slowly drag it over to create a pattern. Even when all of this is done successfully you still have those excess melted plastic all over the pattern you just made. In other word, it’s a bit messy.




I was thinking of heating the plastic (with a lighter or something), let it melt and tidy up the mess with a cutter. In the end I abort the idea as it might make it worst. So I just make do with trimming the plastic with scissors and cutter instead. The end result is not that pretty though, but I take it as a free hand-style type of pattern (keep positive!).





To finish it up I add two layers of coating – a top white with a gold bottom. I thought that making two tones of color would make it more appealing. See below for the end results:

Mini Shipping Crates II


Mini Shipping Crates was the first post about my handmade craft in this blog back in 2014. When I first made the crates back then, I didn’t even capture the moments of building it step by step. Which I believe is the missing part of that original post. If you follow my blog, then you’ll know that I post several projects in Instructables; a DIY project sharing site. The advantage of Instructables is that not only you are able to share your project with the online community, it also keeps your project records online. I used to have a small notebook to keep record of my project documentation – design sketches, dimensions, etc (I lost the notebook by the way). With Instructables I'm able to refer back to the projects that I previously made with ease.

Going back to the mini crates, I did a single change on the design, which I’ll explain later on. For now let’s move on to the first step:  preparing the crate’s walls.




The wall is made from a 8 pieces of craft sticks. A piece of craft stick usually has a width of 10 mm, so one wall should have a total length of 80 mm. The wall will be cut as a 80 mm x 80 mm square.




Always measure the wall length prior to cutting, it might not necessarily be 80 mm exact. If the length is more than 80mm use the cutter to do the trimming. It is important to have a square sized wall. If not, you’ll have difficulty to assemble it later on.





I use PVA glue to attach the sticks – it’s reliable and provide strong bond. Make sure to clamp the sticks while it dries (binder clips will do) for the best result.




The total of 8 walls shall be allocated as follows: 2 for front/back walls, 2 for side walls, 1 for bottom cover and 1 for the top lid.




The front/back wall has an addition of a frame on top of the wall. The side walls have an additional horizontal support on top and bottom of the wall. These walls are glued together to form the body of the crate.




For the bottom cover, trace the outline of the crate’s body and cut the wall according to that dimension. The bottom cover will have additional support, which is 3 sets of craft sticks glued together to become the crate’s skid.




The process of making the top lid is the same as the bottom cover, except that it has two bottom supports and another two supports underneath it.






Here is the change that I mentioned earlier on. I add an open slot to insert coin/tissue paper on the top cover. Adding this feature now extend the capability of the mini shipping crates as a tissue box or a piggy bank. 

Cable Drum Earphone Holder



Hi everyone! This project came out as a solution of a dire problem that I had – tangled earphone. I remember that I’ve seen in Etsy a listing of a wooden earphone holder, similar to the one below:


(Phote Credit: Etsy)

The first thought when I saw that is “wow, that’s so cool. It looks like a miniature cable drum”. So I sketched a design for a miniature wooden cable drum cum earphone holder. Craft sticks would be a perfect material for this project.



As for the size of the cable drum, I merely estimated the dimension which would fit in the project  idea – small, practical and looks good. I ended up decided the drum’s barrel to be 10 mm in diameter, with a flange diameter of 40 mm and an inside traverse of 15 mm.

I only use cutter tool to cut the sticks. While its easy to trim the stick using the cutter, it’s difficult to cut the stick in a shape. Especially if the shape is round. The stick will break if you try to cut it this way.




So i cut the stick into halves, which make it much easier to cut and trim. I use needle file to smooth the edges and created the barrel hole.


The difficult part probably to build the drum’s barrel. I have to cut small pieces of sticks; aligned and glued it together. Then I folded it in cylindrical shape after gluing both ends.



This barrel is attached onto the middle of both flanges; so that the hollow tube will allow the earphone cable to pass through. To add strength to the flange I add more sticks in perpendicular to the first layer.




Final step is to add a small groove at one end of the flange’s edge. I didn’t further sand off the cable drum nor did I add a layer of lacquer because I kinda like the rough looks that it has. It makes it look like the real cable drum you would see on a construction site or on a road side cabling works.



Cardboard Coffee Table



Moving to a new house I was in need of a new coffee table. Having all the packing boxes lying around I thought why not I use these cardboard to make a table? At first I wanted to build the table from scratch – by using the cardboard sheets. Then I realized that I have one big cardboard box I use to store my stuff. It will be easier to modify that box to become a table than to create one from nil. However I was reluctant to lose my storage box for a coffee table so I decided to combine both – a storage box + coffee table.

The idea is to cut down the box height, add cardboard tube as support and use the box top cover as the table top. The table top can be slide open to access the table storage.


The design sketch.


As for the material, I use a huge corrugated cardboard box. It’s a half-slotted container (HSC) type which you remove the top cover. The cover is ideal to be turned into a table top. I decided to use cardboard tubes as the table legs and some cardboard angles as the guide rail.

The box.

The first step would be to trim the box and create the'beam' to support the table top. To make it easy I just folded the cardboard's edge and turned it into support beam.




The beam.


Next for the table legs. I simply removed about a quarter of tube's circumference. This will make the tubes fit in easily into the corner edges. 



The legs.




Making the table top consumed the most time in this project. Although the idea is simple, I have a hard time with the execution. What I did was cut the top cover into halves, fold it over into a cuboid shape, and then fill it with cardboard strips to strengthen it. This shape was then enclosed in another cardboard as the cover. The challenge is to make the two identical cuboids aligned with each other once installed. However, working with cardboard, even with all those measurements and calculations you tend to mess up with the final product. So in the end I completed the table top even tough the shape is not properly aligned and straight.



The table top.


The mechanism of opening and closing of the table top is simple. I use the cardboard angle is the guide rail, sliding it will open the compartment. An L-shape hole has to be made on the table side however, in order to make the guide rail to slide open. It’s not a prefect mechanism, in fact some time it won’t slide open easily. But as long as it works, I’m happy with it.



The sliding mechanism.





I’ve been in a dilemma about the table’s body for a while. I like white furniture so I intended to paint it whole white. So I covered the holes with putty filler and painted the box with white paint. But then it still looks too cardboard-ish so I get some wallpaper and stick it to the cardboard instead.

Cardboard Desktop Lamp II



This is a revisit of the Cardboard Desktop Lamp project that I did few years back. In this revision I made some design changes albeit the shape of the lamp remains the same. 

First, I make it bigger with total height of 284 mm and 274 mm width. That is around 60% increase in size compared to the first version. 



Second, I make this version as a type of convertible lamp; it can be use either folded or unfolded. Similar as the previous lamp, the unfolded lamp will open all the flaps and gives you a segmented light. Meanwhile the folded lamp is when the lamp remained folded and gives you a direct light. This gives an option on how to display the lighting based on your preferences. 

In contrast with previous design, I add in a so called ‘base support’; which is a piece of cardboard which holds the lamp in its folded or unfolded form. There are slotted tabs at the lamp base to fit in this support.



The material used for this lamp is still the same good old cardboard. I intended to use different material for this, which is poly-foam but in the end I didn’t have the time to realize it. Perhaps I’ll do that in the future version.


In previous version I used A4 craft paper to cover for the lamp. However due to the bigger size I coudn’t find bigger size craft paper for this project so I use A3 envelope instead. 



In folded form the bulb holder is fitted tightly onto the lamp while in unfolded form the holder will sits in the center void. This makes the holder to tilt when the lamp is unfold, and had to be fix manually to make it sit up right. Another flaw in the design I know, I have to think on how to improve this in the future version.





Here are the photos of the completed Cardboard Desktop Lamp II:

Shipping Container Tissue Box



It’s been a while since I last work on miniature project. I intended to make a miniature project with a purpose or function. After some thought I decided to make a tissue cover box in the shape of a shipping container. The idea is not anything new, you can find these shipping container cum tissue box at Amazon such as this one:
 
Decor Metal Container Shipping Tissue. 
Yes, this is the product name listed in the Amazon page.
(Photo Credit: amazon.com)

At first I draw the 3D model in Sketchup, then unfold and flatten it using Papekura to make the papercraft template. Soon after I found that my design is too complex and made it difficult to build with 200gsm paper.


The initial sketch of how the model supposed to look.


So I considered my design as a fail project and put the idea on hold until – a Google search months later lead me to lasercutcard website. They sell tabletop wargames accessories using laser-cut card stock, inclusive of a shipping container. What excites me is that how simple the design is, they use 1mm card stock to build up layers of detail.


Shipping Container by lasercutcard.
(Photo Credit: lasercutcard.co.za)

About the same time I encountered this solution I found a blogpost about shipping container modeling. The plastic model was painted and hair brushed with extreme details that it looks like the real thing!


Guntruck Factory Shipping Container by miniaturecreationsbymatt72.

Based on lasercutcard design I draw a new set of templates for my tissue box. I’m going to use mounting board as the material, which left me with two choices. First, mounting board comes with multi-colored boards – I can just choose what color that I want and no further painting work is needed. Or second, I use the normal white-color board and paint it over with a rusty effect – just like the Guntruck Factory Shipping Container.


The revised design of the Shipping Container Tissue Box.

As much as I wanted to do the second option, I knew that I’m not good at painting and afraid that I might screw things up. In the end I made up my mind and go ahead for the second option. If I mess things up I can just build another one. That’s the beauty of cardboard/paper modeling. =)


 All the Parts.



Cutting up the Parts.



Building the Parts.


Next I painted the whole box white with Pelaka craft paint. Two layers of coating is enough because the board is already white. The hardest part for me is to paint the MAERSK logo as I need to use small brush paint.





Paint job done!

It turns out to look quite good and I’m so happy with it. But I’m not done yet. The biggest challenge is to add the rusty effect with only paint brushes, which I’ve never done before. Following online tips and the photos of the Guntruck Factory Shipping Container I tried my luck in creating a rusty shipping container.

First I add a grey tone to the box to indicates the wear and tear. Next I use the sponge brush to dab a little brown paint over the edges, holes and circles as this is the place where rust usually formed. Lastly I add a watered-down orange paint over the brown spots to complete the rusty effect.
And the final looks is truly amazing!! Well, at least it is for me. Lol =)

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