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Ashe County Public Library Online

maker monday at home. it's science, technology, engineering, art, and math with things you have at home.

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Click the tabs below to get the instructions for these projects

 

Weekly Challenges

Coffee Filter Tree
Chemistry is the study of matter and changes and transformations within matter. Everything you can touch, see, hear, or smell is  matter.
You Will Need:
  • Posterboard
  • Coffee Filters
  • Scissors
  • Double-Sided Tape
  • Glue (a stick works well)
Cut your poster board to the size you desire.
Stick double-sided tape along your long side.
Roll posterboard into a cone keeping the tip tight -- Tip: The shiny side should be inside cone.
Secure cone with glue or tape. — Masking tape works well.
Cut the excess posterboard off until your cone sits flat.
Fold coffee filter in half and cut out the middle. Cut the outer rim into three pieces.
Starting at the bottom, glue filter pieces onto posterboard in a swoop. Make sure to preserve the natural curve. You can choose to glue the back of the curve to the inside or outside, depending on how fluffy you want your tree to be.
Layer filters around the cone, varying height and curvature. Make your way up the tree. As the cone gets smaller, you will need to cut your coffee filter into more pieces — usually 4 or 5. 
When you reach the top, roll your coffee filter into a tip and place it on the top.
Fluff it out and secure it with glue. You’re done!

 

Play Snow
November is Picture Book Month. To celebrate, we’re going to create our very own Snowy Day. **This activity is really messy, so keep that in mind when choosing your play area and clothing.
You will need:
  • 1 part baby oil
  • 2 parts cornstarch
  • container, measuring cups, something to stir with
Optional:
  • white glitter (to make your play snow shimmer like real snow)
 
Gather your supplies. Measure 2 parts cornstarch into container.

adding cornstarch

Add glitter. Mix well.

adding glittermix glitter and cornstarch

Measure out 1 part baby oil. Slowly add, mixing all the while. Mix thoroughly. This step will take a long time.

measure baby oiladding baby oil to mixture

Your play snow should be soft but flaky. Add cornstarch or baby oil to get desired consistency.

mixing play snowadding cornstarch

To fully mix, you will need to remove your play snow from your container and knead it.

kneading mixturekneading mixtureflaky, soft, moundable snow

Now you can play with your snow. Have fun! Make a mountain for Peter, a snowman, or snowwoman.

making snowmansnowman from play snowpeter from snowy day playing in play snow

Watch the video to see the whole process

Thinking Putty
If you love pulling and squeezing things, this putty is just the ticket. Thinking putty will stay pliable (flexible, easily bent) for a while if it's stored in a tin or bag. 
You will need:
  • 2 cups or bowls
  • 1/2 cup elmer's white glue
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 tsp borax
  • food coloring
  • popsicle sticks, spoons, etc. to stir mixture
Optional:
  • gloves (to keep food coloring from staining your hands)
First, gather your supplies. Pour glue into one bowl.
Add cornstarch to glue and mix.
Add food coloring and mix again.
In a separate bowl, carefully add borax to hot water. Mix until borax is disolved.
Add glue mixture and borax mixture, stirring all the while. This will take some time and will be a little messy.
When putty is mostly mixed, remove from container and knead remaining liquid from mixture into putty until it's no longer sticky. Excess water can be thrown away.
Stretch, pull, and play with your putty!

Fluffy Slime
It's Frankenstem week at Ashe County Public Library! Every mad scientist knows how to make fluffy slime. During this week's Maker Monday, you can learn too!
***This activity is really messy, so keep that in mind when choosing your lab table and your mad scientist clothing.
You will need:
  • 2 cups shaving cream
  • 2 tbsp (1/4 cup) white glue
  • food coloring
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tbsp saline solution
  • container, measuring cups, something to stir with
Gather your supplies.
Measure out two cups of shaving cream, the foamier the better.
Add two tablespoons of white glue.
Add food coloring. Mix until you reach your desired color.
Add 1/4 tsp baking soda.
Add 1/2 tbsp (1 1/2 tsp) of saline solution (must be saline, contact solution will not work)
Mix thoroughly. This step will take a long time.
Once your mixture has thickened, you can remove it from your container and knead it. Eventually, you can use it to clean up the container and your hands.
You're done! Yay fluffy slime!
Don't forget to watch Bright Star Touring Theatre's FrankenSTEM show on the library's Facebook page on Tuesday, October 20th, at 5:30 pm!
Come by the library to pick up your Frankenstem activity kit, full of activities and projects and check out our Frankenstem 2020 library lesson for more cool STEM activities.

 

Hojalata Tin Art
Hojalata tin art is a Mexican folk tradition that goes back as far as the 1500s. We love that you can express yourself any way you choose with this art!
You will need:
  • aluminum foil or a tin pan that you can cut
  • a sheet of paper
  • a dull pencil
  • permanent markers in whatever colors you want
  • scissors
  • tape (We used masking tape because it wouldn't damage the art.)
Gather your supplies.

Cut your aluminum foil/tin pan to the appropriate size. Set aside
Draw your design on your paper with your pencil.
Place your tin under your design. Tape your design to the tin to hold it in place.
Trace your design. If you want, you can change it a little during this step.
Remove your tape and flip your design over.
Color in the indented spaces with your permanent marker. Depending on your design, it will take a while to finish. This design took about twenty minutes to color in.
Cut the sides so you have a square.
You can touch up your design or round the edges now.
You're done! Display your art so everyone can enjoy it.

Sidewalk Chalk Paint
Maybe you're tired of sidewalk chalk, maybe you don't have any, or maybe you just want to try something new. Either way, this is a fun outdoor art activity.
You will need:
  • Equal parts cornstarch and water
  • Container for each color you want to make
  • Something to mix with
  • Food coloring
  • Paint brushes
  • Somewhere to paint
Optional (for mural):
  • masking tape
Gather your supplies

Mix equal parts cornstarch and water in a container.
Add food coloring and mix until you reach your desired color.
Mix thoroughly.
Find an area and paint! Optional: If you want to make a mural like we did, tape off a square or rectangle. Criss cross your tape until you have the desired shape.
Paint in the tape lines.

Watch our quick how-to video
Maker Monday at Home: Magic Growing Crystals
You will need:
  • coffee filter
  • markers
  • paper plate
  • spray bottle of water
Gather your supplies.
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Put your coffee filter on your paper plate. Color your coffee filter with your markers.
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Spray the coffee filter with water. The more you spray it, the more abstract the design will be.
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Leave it in a warm, dry place to dry out.
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Display it in the window to brighten up your day.
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Watch the video to see the whole process!
Maker Monday at Home: Magic Growing Crystals
You will need:
  • ½ quart (2 cup) glass jar
  • 1 cups of very hot water (I used almost boiling-but with great caution)
  • 3 tablespoons borax (included in your kit)
  • pipe cleaner/chenille stem
  • string
  • two (2) craft sticks
Gather your supplies.

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Make a form for your crystals with your pipe cleaners. I made a heart and a circle.
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Tie a string to the pipe cleaner form. You will want the string to be long enough that your pipe cleaner can hang from a craft stick into the jar without touching the sides or bottom. Your crystals will be larger if you hang your form lower in the jar. If it touches the sides or bottoms, it will stick to them later.
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Set aside.
Heat the water in a larger, microwave safe measuring cup in the microwave, or in a pot on the stove, aim for almost boiling. Pour it in to your glass jar.
Add your borax to your jar, stirring with your craft stick until the borax dissolves. If the borax won’t dissolve, add more hot water. 
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Carefully lower your pipe cleaner into the water using the string. Place your craft stick across the top of the jar and tape or tie your string from it.
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Place your jar in a safe place where it can be observed but not touched or bumped. You will want to leave it in the solution for 6-24 hours. Check it throughout the day to watch the crystals form and grow.

 

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Ideas for More Crystal Projects
•    Try using different colored pipe cleaners to make a number of crystals. Which color is your favorite?
•    Explore twisting your pipe cleaners into different shapes. Which shape makes the best crystal? 
Maker Monday at Home: Nature Windchime
For this project, you will need sticks, stones, leaves, and other natural items that you want to use for your wind chime. Go outside and gather them! You will also need string and scissors.
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Choose a stick to be your base. You will hang all of your strings from this stick. Tie two long pieces of string from each end of the stick. The strings should be long enough to tie around the branch of the tree you've chosen to hang your wind chime from.
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Begin to tie the items you've chosen to hang from your base stick. You can tie them any way you want, mixing or matching as you please.
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Now, tie the strings to your base.
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Take your windchime outside. Hang it from your branch, tying your base strings so that it hangs evenly.
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Your windchime is done! Enjoy it.
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Watch the video to see how we made ours.

Maker Monday at Home: Bow and Arrow
Bow and arrows have been around for centuries. People of many different cultures used them to hunt, protect themselves, and for sport. Robin Hood was known for his skill with a bow and arrow. In some versions of Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow, the archer splits another contestant's arrow down the middle with his shot. In modern archery, this shot is called a Robin Hood.
While bows and arrows can be fun to play with, they can also be dangerous. Please use caution while you are making and playing with your homemade bow and arrow.
You will need:
  • five popsicle sticks
  • rubber band
  • scissors
  • phillips head screwdriver
  • tape (electrical or duct works best)
  • skewer to use as arrow
First, gather your supplies.
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Cut the round ends off one of your popsicle sticks.
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Trim a second popsicle stick to match up with the first.
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Slide a popsicle stick between the two cut sticks at one end. Wrap tape around the three sticks.
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Repeat on the other side.
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Using your phillips head screwdriver, make a small hole in the middle of the cut sticks. Flip over and line it up to match on the other side.
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Make a notch on the end of each side of your popsicle stick contraption.
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Cut a rubber band in half and tie a small knot in each end. Slide the knots over the notches.
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Put your skewer through the hole, pull the rubber band back and put it in the flat end of the skewer. Depending on the length of your skewer, you might want to trim it down.
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You're ready to aim and fire!

Maker Monday at Home: Ocean Zone Model
Did you know that the ocean has five distinct layers? Each layer has different properties, wildlife, and plant life. This week, we're going to make a model of the ocean zones using some household items.
You will need:
  • Blue food coloring - light and dark works best
  • Water
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Cooking oil
  • A large glass or plastic container you can see through (32 oz works best)
  • Small containers to mix your water and alcohol with your food coloring
  • Craft sticks or spoons for mixing.
Optional:
  • White corn syrup ( We didn't have any corn syrup, so we used honesy. It worked okay, but was hard to get out of the jar.)
  • Black or purple food coloring
First, gather your supplies. I went ahead and added the food coloring to the alcohol and water for this picture.
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For the optional trench layer, mix corn syrup with black or purple food coloring. Pour the mixture into the bottom of your see-through container.
 
For the abyss layer, pour a sizable layer of dish soap into your see-through container.
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For the midnight layer, mix water with dark blue food coloring. VERY CAREFULLY pour the mixture on to the dish soap layer.
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For the twilight layer, carefully pour cooking oil on to the water layer.
oil
For the sunlight layer, mix alcohol with light blue food coloring. Carefully pour the mixture on to the oil layer.
alcohol
You now have a model of the ocean zones.
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Note on this project: When we made our first model, the alcohol did not sit on top of the cooking oil like it was supposed to. We thought it was because we didn't use enough cooking oil. When we tried again, it did a little bit better, but the colors of the alcohol and water were too close. While we could see the layers at first, it became a big mess by the end. 
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So we did it again! This time, we decided to go ahead and put the oil on top and the alcohol below it. When we poured the alcohol into the water, we could see a distinct layer. When we added the oil, it sat on top. Although we tried three different times, we couldn't get it to work exactly right. We added glitter to the third try. It was a lot of fun to watch the glitter blobs rise and fall.

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Lesson learned: sometimes experiments don't work out exactly like you want them to, but if you try again, you might be able to achieve your desired result. Sometimes, it still doesn't work. When that happens, you can decide to be upset about it or you can think about the fun time you had. We decided to revel in our fun.

 

Update: I kept trying! I did some research about densities of different oils. I thought that maybe since we were using olive oil, not canola oil, there was a big difference. But my research showed that wasn't the case. It turns out the proof of the alcohol matters a lot in this experiment. The isopropyl alcohol we had was 50%. When we tried with 70% and 91% alcohol, the alcohol sat on top of the oil! Yay!
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Thanks for making ocean zones with us! We hope you had fun.
If you liked this experiment, here's a seven layer density tower you can try from Steve Spangler!
You will need:
  • Old T-Shirt
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
First, gather your supplies.
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This project goes through four dog toy types: easy braided, crown knot, donut, and knotted. Scroll until you find the type you are looking for or try them all out. One t-shirt will make 1-2 dog toys.
To make the easy braided and crown not dog toys, you will want to remove the seams and hems of the shirt.
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For the easy braided t-shirt dog toy, measure three strips two inches wide and twelve inches tall. (The instructions for this toy are intended for a small dog. Make your strips longer and wider for a medium-sized or large dog.)
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Roll your strips into sausages.
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Tie the sausages together using an overhand knot. Push the knot to the very top of the sausages so it is tight.
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Begin to braid your three strands together.
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Leave a small section at the end so that you can tie your end knot.
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Use a pencil to tighten the knot and push the knot down to the end. Then tuck the ends in to the knot using your pencil.
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For the crown knot toy, cut your t-shirt into two strips that measure 24 inches long (at least) by 4 inches wide. Roll the strips into sausages and cross them in the middle. Use the diagram below to make a crown knot.
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When you are finished, it should look like the picture below. Continue to make crown knots until you are unable to make another one.
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Using your pencil, tuck the ends into the toy.
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For the donut toy, we used the sleeve from a long-sleeved shirt. We did not cut off the seams or hems. You could also do this with a different kind of sleeve  or even a sock!
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Starting at the larger end, roll into a donut shape.
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When you have finished rolling your donut, take a long piece of fabric or string and begin to wrap it around the donut.
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Tie the ends together with a double knot.
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You can twist your remaining strips around each other or cut the end off. I decided to twist mine and tie another double knot at the end.
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For the knotted dog toy, I used the body of a shirt. This shirt was sewn on each side, so I cut it along the seam.
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Then, I rolled it into a sausage using the seam to give it some stability.
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Knot the two strips together.
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Continue making knots until you reach the end of the strip.
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Using your pencil, push the ends back in to the toy as best you can.
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If you've followed along with this whole project, you now have four new dog toys!
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Share a picture of your pup and its new toy with use via email or on the Maker Monday at Home Facebook Event
You will need:
  • Cardboard in the size you want your loom to be (Mine was 13x9 in to start.)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Glue
  • String
For weaving:
  • Yarn in the color(s) you want to use
  • Needle or guide (use the items below to make your own)
Optional (for weaving):
  • Toothpick
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Popsicle Stick
  • Tape
First, gather your supplies.
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Use your ruler to measure three one inch pieces off the length of the cardboard. Cut them off cleanly. You'll use them later on.
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Now, find the middle of your piece of cardboard. Mark this place with a 1/4 inch line from the top and the bottom. Make sure the middles match.
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From the middle point, make a line that is 1/4 inch from the middle line and 1/4 inch tall. Continue this process.
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Leave a gutter that is approximately one inch from the end of your cardboard on each side. Cut your lines into notches.
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Now, glue a one inch cardboard strip beside your notches on each side.
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Make a small knot in your string. Turn your cardboard over. Guide the knot into the first notch on the bottom.
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Cross the top of the cardboard and pull the string through the first notch of the top of the cardboard. Cross to the next notch and pull the string through. Continue until you have woven the string through all of the notches.
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Tie a single knot in your final notch. The finished product will look like this. Your knots should both be on the same side of the cardboard.
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You are ready to start weaving.
If you have a needle, thread your yarn and move on to the next step. If you don't have a needle, it's time to get creative with what you have. I made four different needles/guides to figure out which one worked best. My favorite was the popsicle stick.
For the toothpick needle, tie a piece of yarn around a toothpick, tape all along the toothpick. Try to avoid parts that will stick out, they might get stuck.
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For the pipe cleaner needle, make a loop around one end of the pipe cleaner. Twist it or tuck it around the long side. Trim the pipe cleaner so it is shorter and less likely to bend while you are weaving.
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For the cardboard shuttle, snip a notch in one end. Slide the yarn into the notch.
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For the popsicle stick shuttle, tape yarn on one side of the popsicle stick. Wrap tape around the stick so that the tape won't get caught on your loom.
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Now that you have your needle/shuttle ready, begin weaving.
Go over the first string, under the second, over the third, and so on until you get to the end of the row. Gently pull your yarn across and push it down so it is even. When you feel like you have a rhythm going, you can do several strings at a time.
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I wanted my project to move a little faster, so I created a shed stick out of the third 1 inch cardboard piece from earlier. I wove it through the strings and pushed it up so that I could weave easily from the left side of my loom. I was also able to follow the pattern much better when weaving from the right side of the loom.
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Change colors as you want. Leave a tail of at least three inches hanging from the loom so that you can finish your project later. When my tails started to get in the way, I taped them to the back of my loom.

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You will need:
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Glue (heavy duty is best)
  • Tape (masking or duct is best)
  • Something to decorate your shield - markers, paint, crayons, etc.
  • Shield Template
First, gather your supplies.
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Cut out your shield template. Trace the template onto your cardboard.
 
Optional: You can make your shield more sturdy if you add a second cardboard layer that's a little bit bigger than the template. Use your ruler to measure an 1-1 1/2 inches from your shield template. Use dots to mark your measurements and connect them. You can also use this method to make your shield just a little bit bigger. I had to do this with mine so I could make a handle that I could use on the back.
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Pro tip: Do a rough cut of your shield so you don't accidentally mess up the shape of your shield. Then, go back in and clean things up.

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Now is the time to design your shield. I made a variation of my family's historic shield. You can find information about your family's shield, crest, coat of arms and more on this website: House of Names. If you want to find out about the symbols in your family's crest or create one of your own, check out this A-Z list of common heraldic symbols from Heraldry and Crests.
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If your shield is two layers, you will want to glue the two pieces together with heavy duty glue.
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Now, it's time to make your hand strap. I used three strips of cardboard and lots of masking tape to make my shield's hand strap strong. The first piece should be about two inches longer than you need your hand strap to be. The other two pieces should be about half an inch shorter than your hand strap. They will make the strap more stable.
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Bend the hand strap piece in one inch on both ends. Tape the other two pieces to the ends of the hand strap piece.
Flip your shield over and find the appropriate position on the back of the shield. The hand strap will be vertical (up and down), not horizontal (side to side). Tape the first stability piece tightly on to the back of the shield.
Bend the hand strap so that the other stability piece lies on top of the first one. Tape down the second stability piece.
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Your shield will be ready to go!
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Paper Flowers

These paper flowers will brighten up your day!
You will need:
  • Paper (colored or you can color it!) for flower, stem, and leaves
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Glue
  • Something round with a small circumference that you can wrap your paper around (toothpick, pencil, paintbrush, etc.)
 
First, gather your supplies.
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Using your ruler, measure out strips of paper for your flowers. I cut mine 2 in by 8 in.
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Fold your paper in half. Begin to cut small strips through the fold, leaving some space between the cuts and the outer edge of the paper. I drew a line with my pencil so I could cut my strips evenly.
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Unfold your paper and start to roll the strips around your guide. You can start in the middle or on the end.
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Now you'll start to make your stem. Measure and cut to 2 x 10 in and cut it. 
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Roll the paper strip around your guide. Glue each end to secure it.
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On the opposite side of your rolled paper, glue along the edge of your paper.
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Starting at the top, roll the paper around your stem. Go slowly and use care so you don't rip your paper. The flowers can be close together or you can leave a bit of space between them depending on how tightly you wrap the paper.
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Cut paper for your leaves. Mine were a bit smaller than 2 x 3 inches. Accordion fold these pieces of paper.
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Cut a tall point on one end of your accordion fold. When you unfold, your paper will look something like this. The taller you make your point, the taller your leaves will be.
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Glue the bottom of the unfolded paper and begin to wrap it around the stem below your flowers.
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Your flower is done! Make as many as you want and display them somewhere you'll be able to see them.
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DIY Fidget Spinner

Make this super cool fidget spinner to play with. It might help get your wigglies out. This project was a really fun math and engineering exercise. If you want to make it hard, you can skip the template and do those parts yourself. Just remember, the more mistakes you make along the way, the better your end product will be. :)
You Will Need:
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Something to decorate your spinner with (markers, crayons, colored pencils, paint)
  • Pennies, washers, nuts (something to weight down your spinner)
  • Glue
Other Items:
  • Fidget Spinner Template
OR to make your own template you'll need. See the bottom of the post for information on making your own template.
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Something round (at least quarter size) to make the ends of your spinner
  • Paper to practice on
First, gather your supplies.
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Then, figure out which spinner design you want to make. You can use our template or you can make your own spinner. Visit the bottom of the post to find out more about making your own template.
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Trace your desired spinner on cardboard and cut it out. Cut out two of the small circles. (These will go in the center) Design your spinner. You can design the front and back or keep the back bare. Keep in mind that you will have to glue your weights to the ends of your spinner. 
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Find the middle of your spinner and poke your toothpick through it. Twist the toothpick around so it has plenty of room to spin.
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Glue your pennies or weights on the end of your spinner.
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Glue your toothpick to one of your circles. You can poke it through the circle and glue on both sides so it will be more secure. Later, you can snip off the end.
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After your glue has dried completely and everything is secure, stick your toothpick into the hole you made in your spinner earlier. Put the other circle on top, leaving a bit of room so that the spinner can move around the toothpick.
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Glue the top of the top circle to secure it. When the glue has dried, snip off the ends of the toothpick.
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To make your own template, you need to be patient. The cool thing about engineering a design is that you can make mistakes and learn from there. Look at all the work Miss Ashlin had to do to make the template for the project.

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To design a two sided template, trace a penny to make your middle. Then, draw a horizontal and vertical line through the middle. Depending on the size of your other round piece (large coin, bottle cap, or another small circular object), you will want to place it directly beside the outline of your coin or give it a little space. Trace the circular object on each side, doing your best to line up with the center of your middle circle. Using your ruler, draw a straight line to connect the two circles. Cut around the outer edges, but don't get too close. You will fold your design in half on the cross mark in the center of your coin to make sure that each side is equal. You can now trim your design, taking care that it matches along the horizontal and vertical folds.
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For the three-sided spinner, trace a penny to make your center. Trace the other circular object on one side only. Draw your straight line to connect the two circles. Cut out the wing, leaving the inner circle in place. Move the wing approximately 1/3 of the way around the side of the inner circle. Lightly trace the wing and move it to the next 1/3 position. If there is a gap between the wings, split the difference and move your wings. When you're done, they will meet in the middle. Here's what my process looked like. 

​To make sure that everything worked, I cut out each wing and the center. Then, I pieced them together like a puzzle until they fit. Then, I traced that on another piece of paper and cut it out. I used that newly-made template to trace the design onto my cardboard.

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Galaxy Suncatcher
This colorful suncatcher will brighten your day.
You will need:
  • lid from yogurt, oatmeal, sour cream, etc. (Plastic works best, but metal will do)
  • 1/2 cup white glue
  • food coloring or liquid watercolors
  • toothpicks
  • tool to punch hole in suncatcher (We used a toothpick, but a hole punch is much better!)
  • string
First, gather all your supplies
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Generously spread your glue around the inside of your lid.
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Put one or two drops of the food coloring you want to use around the lid. Less is more with the darker colors.
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Using your toothpick, swirl your food coloring. Take care not to combine colors too much or you'll end up with a nasty, brown mess.
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Once you are done, leave your suncatcher in a warm, dry place to harden. Depending on the amount of glue used, it will take one to three days. When it is completely dry (the edges will start to lift off the lid), remove your suncatcher.
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Punch a hole in it and hang it to catch the light. If you have a window that faces the sun, you can hang or tape it up there!
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We loved the way these looked so much we made three different sizes!
Here's the video of all the steps:

Folded Paper Bracelet
Maybe you've got a great piece of art, but you don't know what to do with it. Maybe you want to make something completely new. Either way, today's project can be completed with just a few items you should have around your house.
You will need:
  • paper
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • tape
Optional (to decorate your paper):
  • markers
  • colored pencils
  • crayons
  • watercolor paints
First, gather your paper. You can use paper you already have or you can create an all-new design especially for this project.
We opted to make all new designs for our bracelets.
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With your ruler and pencil, create 4:1 strips of paper. We did 12 cm long and 3 cm wide. This was exactly the width of our ruler, so that made life a lot easier. We drew our lines on the front of the paper, but turning it over would have been better.
Cut out your strips of paper
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Fold your paper strips in half from top to bottom and then side to side. 
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Slide one strip through another, leaving a loop at the top that is big enough for another strip of paper to slide into. You are ready to begin weaving your bracelet.
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Fold your paper up towards the intersection of your paper strips at a right angle.
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Now fold that fold up. Flip your paper over and do the same thing on the other side. Lightly tape or paperclip the folds. You will removing this at the end of the project to complete your circle.
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Slide another paper strip through the top loop. 
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Turn your design to the right and complete the previous steps.
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Here's a video going through the steps. It's really loud, so make sure you turn down your volume!

 

Turn your design to the right and complete the previous steps for each strip until your bracelet is long enough to fit around your wrist. You will need to use an even amount of strips or you won't be able to close your design.
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Remove the tape from the other end. Slide the strip from one end through the loop of the other end.
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Repeat your folding process and tuck the tails of the final strip into the pockets on both sides. You're done!
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Great job!
T-Shirt Book Bag
One of the best ways to help the environment is to repurpose materials that you have to make something that you need. Reusable bags are great for carrying books after your trip to the library, grabbing a few things at the store, or carrying your lunch.
The best thing about this bag is that since it's made from a t-shirt, you can wash it when it gets dirty!
You will need:
  • old t-shirt
  • scissors (fabric is best)
Optional:
  • ruler
  • washable marker
First, gather all your supplies.
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Lay your t-shirt out neatly. Line up all your seams.
You'll start by cutting off the sleeves. I started at the top and worked my way down, but it was much easier to start at the bottom and work my way up.
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Then, fold your shirt in half. You'll be cutting your neck off your shirt, so make sure to line everything up so your cuts will be aligned.
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Turn your shirt inside out and line up the bottom seams so your cuts will be even. You can cut your strips by eye or you can measure them out. The recommended width is 1/2 inch. The strips should be around 4 inches long. I decided to measure mine so they would be the same width and length.
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Cut your strips through the front and back of the shirt all the way along the bottom. When you get to the end, you'll need to cut the outside edges.
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Now, tie the strips together. You'll want to pull your knots tight.
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Once your shirt is tied all the way across, you'll start to tie the strips to make the bottom of your bag tighter. Tie the top of one knot to the bottom of the knot beside it.
Double knot the strips. Continue to tie this way all the way across.
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Once your knots are tied, you can flip your shirt so that the ties are on the bottom inside of the bag.
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Congratulations, your bag is ready to go! Load it up and enjoy!
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Pendulum Painting
What is a pendulum? A pendulum is a weight that hangs from a string or wire attached to a fixed point. A pendulum can swing back and forth from the point and will not twist or spin while it is moving on its own. 
Today we're going to make beautiful (and fun) art with a pendulum!
You will need:
  • two things of the same size to hang your cup from i.e. chairs, tables, stacks of books. We used a box with a cut ledge.
  • a broom, ruler, or other pole
  • a cup to put paint in (This cup should be something you can also put holes in -- paper, plastic, styrofoam, etc.)
  • a tool to put two holes in the sides and a hole (or multiple holes) in the bottom of your cup
  • paint
  • warm water
  • something to stir your paint mixture
  • some thread, string, or yarn to hang your cup
  • tape
  • a sheet of paper, cardboard, or paper plates
  • paper towels or wipes
Optional:
  • carabiner
First, gather all your supplies.
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Then, set up your pendulum's fixed point. For this step you will need your two items of equal height and your stick (ruler, broom, etc.). If your fixed point is tall, a carabiner works great for hanging your cup. You won't have to put the string through the stick over and over again.
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Start to prepare your weight (cup). Punch or cut holes two holes on the opposite sides of your cup. Try to keep these holes directly across from each other and the same depth in the cup. This will help the weight distribute evenly.
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Make a hole (or holes) in the bottom of the cup. It is best to start with a smaller hole and make it bigger so you don't end up with a big splatter when you begin to paint.
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Tape the hole so your paint will not come out of it. Make sure to make a tab on the end of your tape so that you will be able to easily find the end and pull it off when it's time to start painting.
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Now, tie your string on your cup. You will want to make the string long enough to swing back and forth off your fixed point. This will be different, depending on the size of your setup and the size of your cup. If your string ends up too long, you can always tie a knot in the top of it later. You'll see a picture of this a few steps down.
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You will now create a mixture of paint and warm water. Add water to your paint and begin to stir it. You want it to be thin enough to drip quickly off the end of your stirrer. If your paint is older (some of ours was) you will have to use more water than if you have newer paint. You can pour your water into the paint and shake the bottle, or you can add paint and water to your cup and stir it.
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It's time to hang your cup from your stick. Make sure that you can get to the pull tab on the bottom of your cup easily. Here's the knot we talked about earlier.
Now the fun and amazingly messy part. Grab the pull tab and hold your cup at an angle. Pull the tape off the bottom of your cup. The cup will start to swing in the shape of an oval. The paint will trace the shape as it moves. When it slows down or stops, you can push or flick your cup to make it move again.
Here's a video of ours:
When you're done, wipe of the bottom of your cup, tape your hole, add more paint, and repeat the process. Do this over and over until you've used all the colors you want. When you're done you will have a really cool painting!
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Leave it outside in the sun or in a nice, warm place to dry. It will take a while to dry depending on how much paint you used, how watery your paint mixture was, and how warm it is. If you leave it outside, make sure it's in a place where the wind can't flip your paper or fold it. That happened to one of our paintings. :(
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For more information about pendulums, including additional experiments and activities, visit the following links.
Just for fun, here are two more videos from our Pendulum Painting experience


Coffee Ground Fossils
Make fossils of your own! This recipe makes around 12 two-inch diameter fossils
You will need:
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup dried used coffee grounds
  • 1/4 cup cold coffee
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • Mixing bowl
  • Wax paper
  • Shells, rocks, beads, legos, etc. to make impressions in your fossils
Optional:
  • Toothpicks
  • String
Mix flour, coffee grounds, cold coffee, and salt in the mixing bowl.
Lay wax paper out on your surface.
Knead dough and make it into a small ball. Flatten the ball onto the wax paper.
Quickly, press your objects into the dough to make indentations. This must be done quickly or the dough will dry out.
You can take the object out or leave it in the dough to remove when the dough has hardened a bit (in 2-4 hours). 
Do not leave the item in the dough longer than that or your fossil will break when you try to remove it.

Once your fossils have been made, you can poke a hole in them with a toothpick so that you can hang them from thread.
Leave your fossils in a warm, dry area to harden overnight. If the dough is thick, it may take longer for them to dry out completely. It took ours about five days to dry out completely. :O
You'll know your fossils are dry when the back color is consistent throughout, meaning there is not a light colored ring around the outer edge.
Now you have amazing coffee ground fossils!
Egg Carton Flowers
Create a bouquet of flowers with an egg crate, some paint and buttons, and a little ingenuity.
 
You will need:
  • Egg crate
  • Scissors
  • Paint of your choice (acrylic)
  • Paint brush
  • Chenille stems/pipe cleaners for stems
  • Buttons

First, cut your egg cartons. You can give each flower petal a different look by shaping it as you cut.
The flowers are ready to paint. You will want to paint several layers on your carton. You may also want to try different designs for your flowers. Tempera and washable paints will not work on styrofoam egg cartons. The paint will flake off.
While the paint is drying, begin to work on the centers of your flower. Feed a chenille straw through a button. You will poke this straw through the middle of your petal.
Voila! Your flowers are done! Now you can display them as single flowers or make them into a bouquet.
Hanging Hot Air Balloon
Create a cool, hanging hot air balloon display using items you have at home.
 
You will need:
  • Hot air balloon template
  • Colored paper (You can also color white paper if you don't have any colored paper)
  • White paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue (I'm using a glue stick because it dries faster)
  • Fishing line or other string
First, print off the Hot Air Balloon Template and cut out the pieces. Card stock works well for this.
Second, trace the balloon, raindrops, and clouds on your paper. I use a pencil to trace. Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect, you can always smooth things out when you cut.
Third, cut out your shapes. Make sure you're using good scissors so your hands don't get tired.
Fourth, begin to assemble your clouds with rain drops.
  • For each cloud and drop you will need two of your cut outs.
  • Put the string in the middle of the cloud, leaving six inches or so hanging out of the top so that you will have room to hang it and around nine inches hanging out of the bottom for your drops.
  • Line the cloud pieces up and glue them together.
  • Making sure to leave a gap between the cloud and the drops, glue your drop pieces to the string. Don't worry about spacing them out evenly.
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Now you can begin to assemble your balloons.
  • Starting from the bottom, fold each balloon in half. The balloons are not exactly symmetrical, and they will be a little uneven. 
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  • Glue the right half of a balloon piece to the left half of a different piece. Do your best to line up the edges.
  • Continue to do this until you have at least six pieces glued together.
  • Before you glue your last two sides together, make sure you put your string in place. I messed up the first time :(
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Once you have made all the balloons and clouds you want, you can hang them from a hanger, pole, or ceiling. Make sure you get help from an adult.
         
Thanks for making Hanging Hot Air Balloons with me! Check in soon for more activities.
There are so many cool resources for Maker & STEAM learning out there. Here are a few of our favorites!