Flagship Project: Building A Boat
This was a long and tough project - I built my own boat - The Snow Pea - starting completely from scratch, with no experience of boatbuilding
Other Projects And Craft Articles
Cohesive Dendritic Painting
August 2014 - This is a spin-off from an interesting effect I noticed in another project where I pulled apart two glued boards and spotted that the glue had formed a branching, treelike pattern.
In this article, we'll put that effect into use to create decorative painted effects.
Drink Can Tinwork - Metal Sign
July 2014 - Another project with embossing sheet metal cut from discarded drink cans - this time, to make an embossed metal sign
Cray-con - Bacon Coloured Crayon!
April 2014 - Colouring by numbers - Ho Hum. Colour this part red. Colour this part blue. Colour this part bacon. What?
We've all been there - right? - well, now there's a way to colour things in bacon without all that tedious hand-drawing of bacon rasher texture - introducing Cray-con - the bacon coloured crayon.
Moth And Lightbulb Automaton
March 2014 - I love moths, but there are times of the year when they are seldom seen.
To make up for this shortfall, I decided I will make a fluttering moth automaton.
Bronze Effect Book
March 2014 - Another pocket notebook makeover - this time, I wanted to create the effect of a panel of cast, burnished bronze with an ornate organic design of vines and tendrils.
Blue Panelled Door Book - TARDIS Style
February 2014 - Spurred on by the success of a previous project to make a vintage-look notebook, I decided to try making a book with the appearance of a blue panelled door - TARDIS style.
Distressing A Book For A Worn, Vintage Effect
February 2014 - We saw an old-looking journal in a film and my daughter wished out loud that she had a book like that.
So I set about making one - starting with a brand new book and applying vintage effects to it.
More Plastic Moulding - Re-Making A Missing Handle
Here's another plastic moulding project - this time, to make a new handle for a broken horn serving ladle.
Recycled Network Cable Basket
I was commissioned to make a trophy for a Christmas quiz party for the IT department where I work - I wanted something that was zero-budget and nice-looking but slightly weird and super-geeky.
So I made this colourful coil basket completely out of scrap network cables.
Making A Cider Press
September 2013 - here's a project to make a cheap and simple press for apples (and maybe cheese), from readily available materials and components.
This is going to differ from some of my previous projects in several ways, but most notably - it needs to be quick (at the time of starting, the apples are already nearly ripe), and it's going to be properly designed - there will be no guesswork or cut-first-then-measure.
Making A Replica Roman Dodecahedron
All across Northern Europe, curious dodecahedral objects have been found at Roman archaeological sites. The original purpose of these intricate objects is not known.
In this project, I will attempt to make a replica dodecahedron - to see if I can work out what they can and cannot be used for.
Even the most creative people get stuck for ideas once in a while.
Here's a way of generating brand new ideas - Invention Dice - a method for making the Muse less fickle.
Plastic Moulding - Replacing A Broken Lid
Alas! The plastic lid on one of my kitchen jugs broke.
This snap-on lid was one of the main reasons for buying it - as it makes the jug useful for storing leftover gravy or custard in the fridge.
So I set about making a replacement - out of my new favourite material - recycled HDPE.
Making A Stirling Engine
This is a project to make a small working model Stirling engine - designed to run off a small heat source such as a candle or cup of hot water.
Travelling Spice Kit
When I go camping, or when I cook foraged food in the field, I've often wished for a little pinch of some kind of spice or condiment, only to have forgotten to bring it.
So I set about making a compact, all-purpose spice kit, containing a basic, but dependable inventory of seasonings, that I can keep packed and ready to go.
The Atomic Shrimp Atomic Shrimp
No, you're not seeing double - this project really is the Atomic Shrimp Atomic Shrimp!
An experimental attempt to make a giant version of a childhood favourite - Pink Shrimps.
Pressure Diver Fish
Back when I was a kid, we never had the Internet, or even computers - we had to entertain ourselves.
Here's a slightly up-to-date version of a cool science toy that I made way back then - the Pressure Diver.
Nuttish - Reverse-Engineering The Rowntrees Nutty Bar
Up until some time in the 1980s, there was a confectionery bar made by Rowntree Mackintosh, called 'Nutty'. Sadly, it's just a memory now - discontinued years ago.
Well, I thought it was time to try to bring it back - so here's my attempt to reverse-engineer it.
LED Tealight Lanterns
Here's how to make charming little hanging lanterns from LED tealights.This is a great fun craft - quick to make - and the end result is safe for kids of almost any age.
Making A Recycled Plastic Boat
Many of my past projects have thumbed their noses at convention or have been absurd, foolhardy or otherwise non-conformist, but this one extends the boundaries further than ever.
I'm going to try to make a boat by recycling plastic bottles.
More Plastic Moulding - Experimental Stuff
Spurred on by the resounding success of my project to mould a replacement kitchen knife handle from recycled HDPE, I thought it might be worth a little experimentation, to try to get a measure of the potential for small-scale, amateur remoulding of this material.
Plastic Moulding - Using Recycled Bottle Tops
Although modest in scale, in concept, this may well be my most ambitious recycling project yet.
This is an attempt to mould a new plastic handle for my favourite kitchen knife, using recycled plastics, without any of the proper injection moulding equipment.
Recycled Paper Butterflies
These colourful paper butterflies are great for brightening up a dull wall, or pinning on a gift - they're easy to make, using any colourful paper - even an ad page from a magazine.
Project Wholegrain - Garden-Scale Cereal Crops
Most vegetable crops that are grown commercially are also popular with small scale home gardeners, however, this doesn't seem to be the case for cereal crops. So this year - 2011 - I'm going to give it a try - growing grain on a very small scale
That's Handy - Model Hand Project
The objective of this project was to make a life-sized humanoid hand that can be controlled with wires or cables - and hopefully to achieve fairly realistic finger movements and grasping action.
Orange Peel Box
I've noticed that citrus peel dries out to form quite a tough, leathery material.
This is an experiment to see if it can be made into anything useful - starting with this small trinket box.
More Lost Wax Casting - Silicone Moulds
Pewter has a sufficiently low melting temperature that it can be cast into natural or silicone rubber moulds. But the materials to make these aren't always cheap or easily obtainable... Or are they?
Electroplating with copper is a classic science experiment that is easy to set up, but loads of fun and can produce highly attractive results - something I haven't tried since my schooldays. I decided to give it a go again.
This is a simple little oil lamp specially designed to burn fuels that are solid at room temperatures - such as leftover fats from cooking bacon, sausages, duck or other greasy foods.
The Beadmen Are Back
Years ago, before the Atomic Shrimp website existed, I made some little bamboo and wooden mannequins, which I called The Beadmen.
Now, at last, it's time for them to come home.
More Drink Can Tinwork - Star-Shaped Box
More tinwork fun with drink cans. This time for a star-shaped box with a convex profile - the design is still a bit half-baked, but I'm putting it online in case anyone wants to experiment with it.
More Drink Can Tinwork - Hexagonal Snowflake Box
Building on the basic techniques I developed to make decorative metal boxes out of empty drink cans, let's get a bit more clever and try different shapes - here's how to make a hexagonal one.
A Simple Electric Motor
"Dad, I'm bored! What can we do?"
"OK, let's make something, how about an electric motor...?"
The Triumph Of The Snow Pea
August 2010 - We took a trip to picturesque Lulworth with my little boat - the Snow Pea - and spent a couple of very pleasant and serene hours sailing around the cove.
So why is this a 'triumph'? - read on...
Project Samwise - Grocery Gardening
This year, 2010, I'm going to be growing vegetables in a small plot in my garden, but I'm going to do this without visiting the garden centre or hardware store for seeds - I'll be starting using nothing more than seeds and vegetables from my kitchen.
More Drink Can Tinwork - Printing
My page on making little decorative boxes out of recycled drink cans was enormously popular - but what else can we do using these techniques? - I've been experimenting with printing.
Recycled Christmas Card Gift Boxes
These little gift boxes are made from recycled Christmas cards - they're easy to make and can be filled with tasty treats or small gifts for the tree or as stocking fillers.
Lost Wax Casting
I fancy having a go at metal casting - I'm going to start by trying the lost wax method.
Lucet Cord Making
The lucet is a device of ancient origin, used for knitting yarn into strong, slightly elastic cord that has historically been used for many purposes, including lacing clothing
Using A Braiding Board
I made a braiding board out of a piece of coconut shell (they can also be made from ordinary wood, or even just stiff card).
In this article, I'll demonstrate how it can be used to produce a variety of decorative and useful braided cords and ribbons.
Out Of A Nutshell
I like coconut - I was opening one the other day and started wondering what I could make out of the tough, durable shells.
Prospecting For Micrometeorites
My roof guttering downpipe was blocked - I collected the trapped soil and sediment blocking it and searched it for micrometeorites.
Plastic Bag Recycling
Another bash at recycling plastic bags by knitting with them, but this time with a couple of differences - I'm only going to use bags that are at end-of-life - that is, otherwise to be thrown away, and I'm making something sturdy durable and useful - a basket.
I collected some natural clay from a river bank - with a view to making a pot and firing it in a wood or charcoal fire.
Drink Can Tinwork
Soft drink cans are easily recyclable as scrap metal, but I fancied trying something a little more direct - a simplified form of tinwork
Working With Plastic Bag Yarn On A Knitting Loom
I'm using a knitting loom designed on the same principles as the French knitting bobbin, but larger - and this time, I'm going to knit with a recycled material instead of wool - plastic bag yarn
The Two-Hour Trebuchet
Using only scrap timber, I built a tennis-ball-launching trebuchet in less than two hours.
French knitting has been around for centuries - here's how to make and use a French knitting kit
I can't quite decide if Heath Robinson would nod approvingly, or run away screaming - my berry picker isn't going to win any design awards, but will it actually work?
CD Spindle Case Propagator
How to make a mini propagator from an empty CD spindle case.
Tuna Can Oil Lamp
How to make an emergency oil lamp from a can of tuna.
Braided Friendship Bracelets
How to make braided friendship bracelets
Spin Art Machine
Building a zero budget spin art machine