Category Archives: projects

Making a paper mache BB8 droid from Star Wars

BB8 with textA step by step guide on how to make a paper mache BB8 droid from the Star Wars The Force Awakens movie. A fairly simple project to complete. Here’s what you will need:

  1. paper mache- one small half circle, two large half circles
  2. duct tape (and perhaps an ace bandage)
  3. craft paint in white, orange, gray, black, red and blue
  4. toothpick and wooden skewer (shish kabob) stick for antenna
  5. 1 inch thick foam
  6. black Sharpie
  7. glue gun, knife, scissors, paint brushes, blow dryer
    paper mache bowlsWhen we decided to do this project, we were lucky enough to have these paper mache ‘bowls’ on hand from a previous project. The most basic of paper mache shapes, these were made with balloons and would just require a day of paper mache making pre-prep to get ready for the making of the robot.
    cutting a hole in paper mache ballSince we were making a Valentine box we needed a hole for the receiving of Valentines. We decided to make the hole look like one of BB8’s markings. We marked the area with a cup that was the right size and a Sharpie and cut it out with a sharp knife.
    paper mache ballWe placed one side of the paper mache half circle into the other side until it made a nice round circle shape.
    duct taping ball togetherFor lack of a better idea and short on time, we duct taped the two sides together and within each other. We knew that it was still not held together very well, at all. The duct tape didn’t stick well to paper mache so we needed another layer of support, this is where a bit of creative thinking came in handy.
    creative combiningI found an old ace bandage in a drawer, one that we didn’t need again, was still plenty stretchy and even had the velcro swatch for closing and holding the bandage in place.  I pulled the ace bandage as tight as possible over the duct tape, effectively holding the 2 sides together and helping out with the roundness. Then I cut off the excess bandage, just past the velcro closure.
    paper mache ball for BB8 bodyThe body ball of BB8 needed to be painted white but first the surface needed to be smoothed out to hide the ace bandage connection. I used a thick spackling sort of paint we had on hand (usually for creating a crackle looking finish on surfaces) and I painted/blobbed it on as thick as possible with a paintbrush.
    drying paint on BB8Since we were in a hurry, we used a blow dryer to dry the layers of paint as fast as possible. While I was working on the body, my son was painting the head of BB8.

painting BB8 head

He went straight for the white paint on the head since the surface was already smooth and ready to go.  Looking at a picture of BB8’s details he penciled in, then painted on the orange, gray and black markings. He used a cereal bowl to make the circle of orange and gray paint around the head nice and even.

BB8 antennaBB8 has two antenna on top of his head, one slightly larger than the other. We used a toothpick and a wooden shish kebob stick for the antenna. We cut the stick about an inch longer than necessary, then used the sharp knife to poke small holes and put the antennas into place. From the inside of the head we hot glued the sticks into place (see below).
cut foam for headWe decided to attach the head to the body with foam to give it the ‘hovering’ appearance of the real BB8 droid.

cutting foamMark the foam with the actual head for the correct size and shape, then cut the foam with a sharp knife.

glue foam inside BB8 headPut a small bead of hot glue on the edges of the foam and quickly place the foam inside the robot head and allow it to dry.

glued in foamYour finished BB8 head should look like this from the bottom.

painting BB8 bodyWe finished painting the body the same way the head was painted, but by also placing the body ball on a roll of duct tape turned on its side- or any other way you can think to protect your paint job and keep it from rolling away.

where to put the glue onTo attach the head to the body we also used hot glue. We attached the head right at the ace bandage’s lumpiest point so the lump would be hidden from view.
gluing BB8 head onWith a square of hot glue on the body ball, we lightly pressed the head into place and held it for about a minute, until the hot glue set.

painting BB8A Sharpie pen was used to create the smaller lines on BB8’s body.

BB8 back viewThe look at the painting on the back of the body.

BB8 robot from Star Wars

corrugated metal fence update

fancy metal fenceMy corrugated metal fence update- the fence is now in it’s 3rd year and I like the way it’s aging over time. The patina of the corrugated steel darkens and changes bit by bit every day and I’m enjoying watching the weathering process.

ceiling tiles on fenceThe two wide gates to the side yard are so heavy and awkward to move, we needed a solution to high daily foot traffic without having to leave the gate(s) constantly open and sagging (due to the slope in the driveway) and also a solution without the wear and tear of constantly being pushed and shoved opened and closed. So we came up with the Euro-gate solution. I’ve seen many large gates with a tiny door for daily passage all over Europe and decide this was the answer to our problem.  It works well with the patchwork look of the fence. My plan is to weld a rectangle tiny door to fit the opening that would essentially be invisible when it was closed. Since we don’t have any animals to keep in right now, the tiny door has fallen to the bottom of my list of things-to-do. Soon though.

flag stone pathThe view of the gate from the backyard, looking through the side yard to the back of the gate. I put this pathway in in the spring and the ‘stepable’ plants we put in the cracks are filling in nicely. That process- building the flagstone pathway- in another post coming soon. The shipping container will also have French doors where the flagstones come up like a patio area.

tin ceiling tiles in fenceThe inside view of the gates. After getting ripped apart in a microburst in their first year, I rebuilt and reinforced the gate panels with these metal beams based on a suggestion of a very wise friend. The gates are so much more stable now and not likely to sag or get blown away. Another key element to restricting movement of these gates, that act like sails in the wind, are the pins going down into the concrete that hold the gates in place in the center. Absolutely essential.

rust on metal fenceThe tin ceiling tiles rust very easily so anywhere the paint was thin or in some way been scraped off  has been rapidly encroached upon by rust.

corrugated metal fenceRust details on the front side of the fence. This is 3 years worth of rust. This part of the fence isn’t hit by a sprinkler but it does get pelted every time it rains which explains why the rust is more pronounced at the bottom of each panel.

ceiling tile fenceThe garden side of the house and much smaller gate. As you can see the areas that are hit by the sprinkler or rain, are much rustier than the panels closer to the house. This gate was much easier to build, open and close and maintain. I never intended to leave to 2×4 across the top of the gate area, but the post on the right side of the gate is twisting and warping, and it became necessary to leave it to slow the unfortunate movement of the 4×4 post and hold things square.

flagstone patioThe back three sides of the fence around the yard are straight corrugated metal. It is aging comfortably with a beautiful patina. I love all looks and every stage. We finally got the pergola put in in early spring. It was a kit that we had to paint ourselves and piece together lego style. Once the footings were installed, a process I find stressful, it was an overall easy project. I carried over the flagstone look to this side of the yard also.

backyard pergola, metal fencePerennials, plants and trees are growing and filling in into the look I have been anticipating and looking forward to for so long.

corrugated metal fence2We found this outdoor seating on KSl classifieds, a local market for used everything, for a great price and had some wonderful summer moments and parties under the pergola in our newest ‘room’.

Note: When we were digging the trenches for the sprinkler system, we laid electrical line alongside the pipes and ran wiring to the pergola area for easy, invisible electricity.

 

corrugated metal fenceThe whole backyard is relatively small and cozy (only 1/4 of an acre) but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Just enough to have to take care of, and big enough for a party.

shipping container in backyardThe shipping container is next. We found some perfectly good, durable doors and windows at Habitat for Humanity in Park City that had been pulled out of another house, I’m assuming for a remodel, that are all ready to be installed when the time comes- hopefully soon!

For a look at the making of this corrugated metal fence DIY click here.

For a look at the fence after 1 year look here.

backyard update part 3, corrugated metal fence DIY

For the post on the making of this corrugated metal fence click here.
corrugated metal fenceThe backyard progress, part 3– the back 3 sides of my fence are now finally finished.

backyard shipping containerThe shipping container is also in place but yet to be cut into to add doors and windows.

corrugated metal fenceThe fence was build with wooden posts, 8 ft. apart, set directly into concrete. Wooden rails are held between the posts, with metal building brackets.

corrugated metal fenceThe metal we used is non-galvanized corrugated metal. Non-galvanized  meaning it will rust and with a thickness of 26 gauge. It’s actually more expensive than galvanized (won’t rust) corrugated metal which is 22 gauge, thinner, and flimsier. Galvanized seemed very shiny, reflective and contrived, if that makes sense. I was told you can remove the galvanized layer, and allow it to rust, with muric acid but due to the thin-ness of the material, it will rust all the way through in about 10 years. We decided it was worth the extra expense to go with the non galvanized metal and get the rusty, organic look.

metal fence, wood postsI like the look of the wood with the metal so I built the fence with the rails on the inside. We just stained the wood and it looks even nicer. I think it will look even better as the fence starts to rust.

metal fence, wood postsThese corrugated panels have been up for about 3 months and have just barely begun to rust. I did spray the entire fence with the hose, about a week ago, with the hope of speeding up the rusting process, but honestly I’m enjoying the way it looks now.

corrugated fenceJust the beginnings of rust starting to show, after a few rain storms and a spraying with the hose.

clear garden, metal fenceOn the south side of the house, the space was a little narrow, I put in raised beds but the beds were going to be too close to the fence to get enough sunlight to grow vegetables. After puzzling it over for months, I decided to put up clear corrugated plastic panels to let enough light through to keep my vegetables growing. These improved plastic panels shouldn’t get brittle and try yellow like the plastic of your grandma’s greenhouse.

corrugated metal fenceHere is what the fence looks like from the outside, only the posts are visible from this view. You can see the retaining wall that we put in to maximize space and flatten out the backyard.

fancy metal fenceHere’s the front ‘fancier’ part of the fence, after surviving the snowy, windy winter. I’m sad (and ashamed) to say that my gates didn’t fare as well. They were taken out, ripped off in 2 different wind storms. I don’t even have a picture of the wreckage because I was too sad and mad to photograph the wreckage. Mean Old Mother Nature. So, now I re-engineer better, stronger gates and pray every time the wind blows that they will survive, and that I won’t ever have to rebuild them, ever again.

tiny door in metal fenceOn the back corner of the fence, where the kid traffic is the heaviest, we have left a tiny door panel. I have a door (piece of corrugated) made for it but haven’t gotten it put up yet. It will be hinged into the post and on a spring so it stays closed when not in use.

metal and wood fence

garden backyard areaThe garden beds from the inside of the fence, as you can see there’s a lot more light with the clear panels than there would be with metal in place. Also, you can see the backside weathering of the tin and corrugated panels from the fancy  front-of-the-housepart of the fence.

clear garden fenceThe tin ceiling tiles rusted a lot faster than the corrugated, I’m loving the backside non-painted look.

fancy metal fence, backThe corrugated is rusting much slower, taking it’s time in the weathering process, but it’s a nice contrast.

rusting corrugated metalThis (above) shows about 8 months of natural (no spraying with the hose) weathering. The tin isn’t weathering at all where it’s been painted.

tin ceiling tile fence, back

tin ceiling tile metal fence

tin ceiling tile fence

raised garden bedsFor a look at the making of this corrugated metal fence DIY click here.
For a look at the fence and yard after 2 years, click here.