Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spoon Mug Rack

We saw this project in the Ready Made magazine, and thought... "That is just cool!". We wanted to share the link with you and pictures of our completed mug rack. We had all the stuff we needed for this project, so it wouldn't cost us anything to build.  We had extra spoons left over from the recycled wind chime project, and had a left over 1 x 1 from a room remodel.  We got started, first deciding where we wanted the rack, then which spoons looked the coolest, and so on and so on, until..... we discovered a problem.  In the original Ready Made project the spoons are screwed into the back of the 1x1, then attached to the wall.  Each spoon and the wall act like a clip, holding the mugs into place.  However, you will notice in their project the wall is just plywood, it is not painted.  All of our walls: painted! So when you put the mug into the "spoon" clip and pull it out of the clip, you would eventually start to wear out the paint, leaving a streak where the mugs scraped the wall. Or worse, start to leave a indentation in the wall from adding then removing the mugs over and over again.  So, as I am sure you can guess, we put our awesome minds to work and set out to change this (just a little) so it would work for our kitchen.

Here is what you will need:

Scrap piece of 1x1
Wood Drill Bits (size will vary on the spoon's handle size)
Tape Measure
Hot Glue or Strong Glue
Screws (at least 2 inch length)

Optional:  Paint.

Start by measuring the coffee mugs.

Most of ours mugs are around 3 inches, although we did have a few at 4 inches.

Next measure the wall, decide how long and how many mug racks you want to make.

(We ending up with about 19 inches in length and started with 3 racks but ended with 4.)

Now take the 1x1 measure and cut to the length. (4 at 19 inches)

Once you have the racks cut, it is time to drill the holes for the spoons.
(This is how we fixed what we saw as a problem with the original project.  The spoons would be far enough away from the wall, that the coffee mugs would not wear out the paint; yet close enough to the wall to keep the mug from falling off the spoon.  The mugs would still slip over the spoons, either by the handles or the cup itself.  After we mounted the racks to the wall, and added the coffee mugs, we all jumped up and down, slammed doors, etc, to see if any of the mugs showed any sign that they would fall off the spoons. None of them did. We heard the drinking glasses, sitting on a shelf, clink together more then we saw the mugs move.)

Find the middle of the 1x1.

Draw a line down the center.

Now mark where each spoon will go.  (This took a little bit of math, a little guess work.....you know how that goes.)  We took in consideration that a couple of the mugs were four inches, and thought we should also think about handles too, so we spaced the spoons 5 inches apart.  The spacing worked out well.

We made a mark 2 inches in.

Then at 7 inches.

And every 5 inches after that.

This left us with exactly 2 inches on both ends.

Time to drill. The drill bits will vary on the size of the spoon handles. (Actually more the bottom of the spoon. Most of the spoons had a large base and skinny handles.)

Once all the holes are drilled, insert the spoons. Make sure you vary the length or use a different combinations of bigger spoons next to smaller spoons. 

Fill the holes with hot glue. 
We found it easier to make... kind of ...a cap on top with he hot glue, then flip it over and fill the hole the rest of the way up. 

(You can use a stronger glue,  hot glue dries faster, so there is less of it running out of the hole. At first we were not sure if the spoon, wood and hot glue would bond together. We took a piece of sand paper and ran it over the part of the spoon that would be inserted into the hole.  We thought the ruff surface would help the glue stick better.  I don't know if it really did anything or not, the spoons do not move at all. It could just be that there is so much glue inside each hole.)

Once the glue is dry, you can paint wood (like we did) or mount the racks on your wall as is. (Make sure you use enough screws to support the weight of the coffee mugs.)

Add your coffee mugs and you are all set.

Like we said, this project "is just cool!!"

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cassette Tape Light

We found this online, one night, looking for something new and cool to create.

However as we looked for instruction on how to make it, every blog or such had a similar picture and this link.

As you can see they do not give DIY instruction on how to create this awesome lamp.  So we set out to do it.

Here is what you need.

22 cassette tapes (you might need more)
Strong Glue
Hot Glue (not pictured)
Eye glass repair screw driver (not pictured)
Needle nose pliers ( not pictured)
Old wire clothes hanger (not pictured)

First things, this is the light we are replacing. It is in the entry way of our house and as you can see it is normal and boring.

We used 22 cassette tapes for this project.  Between both of us we had 10 cassette tapes and only 5 were clear.  So we went to a second hand store and bought the rest.  We also looked for tapes that had screws in them to make opening them up easier.  You can do it with cassettes that don't have screws, just take your time opening them, they will crack and split very easily.

(A bit of a side note here.  We recommend you double check on eBay or amazon or where ever and make sure that the tapes you have collected are not selling for a lot of money.  The last thing you want to do is glue a couple tapes together that could help pay for your child's college!! Just double check before you start!)

Unscrew the cassette tape.

Carefully remove the cover.

Remove the black film.

Replace the cover.

Flip over and carefully remove the cover.

Take out black film.

Reattach cover.

Flip over and put the screws back in.

Do this for all the cassette tapes you have.

Once you have all the film removed and the cassettes back together, it is time to build a box.
At the top of one cassette tape, add a line of strong glue.

Now stack another cassette tape on top. 

Make sure the edges are all lined up. We stuck ours in between two Epsom salt containers (it was the only things we had that were tall enough) to help keep them straight while the glue set.
We used 16 cassette tapes.  This will give you 8 stacks of 2 cassette tapes glued together.

Once they are all dried, take two the the stacks....

...and glue them together.

To glue these two stacks together we switched to hot glue.  The reason we switched? We didn't realize it until this point that our strong glue had a yellow tint to it.  This wasn't a big deal when we glued the tapes on top of each other, you didn't see the glue.  However none of the tapes have sharp or squared corners, the corners are all rounded.  When you put the two stacks together you get a small sort of diamond shape in the middle where all four cassettes meet. Also on the sides of each cassette there are these little....I guess for a lack of a better word....nubs on them.  So when you line up the cassettes together there is a small, but noticeable, gap. We didn't want to have dried yellow glue showing between the cassettes. So we switched. 

Glue the cassettes together.

Repeat, until you have 4 sets of 4 cassette tapes glued together.  These 4 sets will be the walls of the box.

(I am holding this up in front of our dinning room lamp to get an idea of what this will look like)

Now time to build the box.  Take two of the walls and glue them together at a 90 degree angle.

Repeat this until you have a square.

Now it is time to build the cover.

Take the last six cassette tapes, and glue them in 2 stacks 3 cassettes tapes high.

Hot glue these two stacks together.

Then add it to the top of your box.....

....and glue it down.  (Don't forget to glue it on the inside too.)

Now you should have a really cool cassette box. 

You can stop here, put a small light inside of it and set it on a coffee table.  However we want to hang ours on the ceiling of our entry way.

This proved to be a bit of a challenge. We first thought about using the skeleton of a square lamp shade, but this idea failed every which way.  So after a pot of coffee, some wonder twins brainstorming and a little trial and error, we came up with an idea that worked.

First we took the whole light out of the entry way.  Then with needle nose pliers cut a wire clothes hanger apart into three straight pieces around 8 inch in length.

The base of the light fixture has three screw holes in it. This is where the screws held up the glass bowl that covers the light.
We took the three pieces of coat hanger and stuck them in one hole, each wire over lapping the next.

Once the hangers are in place turn the base over and place it over the open part of the cassette box.  Then with a pair of needle nose pliers bend the each of the wires until they fit into the small holes on one of the cassette tapes.   ( In the first picture below (on the left side) you can see the hanger is going through the little hole of a cassette tape.)  This took a little time to get the light as close to center as possible.

Once you have the light where you want it, trim up the hangers so nothing is sticking out. Make a small mark on the cassette above each hole where the hanger goes through. This will help to remember which hole each hanger goes into later. 
Remove the light fixture, turn it back over and add a little glue where the hangers touch each other and a little at the holes where the hangers were inserted.

Reattach the light fixture to the ceiling.

Attach the new light cover.

AWESOME or what?!?!

This will make a great conversation piece when you have people over!