Backyard Zip Line

Click here for instructions from eHow.com!

Kid makers, can you imagine zooming across your backyard on your own zip line? A zip line is a tight, inclined cord that has a handle on a pulley. You grab the handle, lift your feet and the pulley and gravity “zip” you down to the lower end! Professional zip lines can be as high as rainforest treetops. If you don’t have your own rainforest, build a safer, lower version to zoom down with your friends in your own backyard.

(Now, we know what you’re thinking: “YIKES!” But with an adult helper and common sense, a low zip line can be tons of fun and no more dangerous than anything on a normal playground.)

Here are some instructions, kits and ideas for how to begin . . .

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Pillowcase Pajamas

Photo by Creative Kismet. Click here for how to!

Sometimes, the simplest everyday things have the most potential. Makers are going crazy with pillowcases – and we mean CRAZY! The lowly pillowcase is being upcycled into dresses, shirts, lunch  bags, curtains, purses, placemats, boxers and, our favorite, pajamas!

Kid-makers, we think you’ll go just as crazy once you get going. Pillowcase projects are good for the earth because their reuse an existing thing – also known as Zero Waste Sewing.  And the best part is that most pillowcase sewing projects are easy for beginners.

Cool Project Instructions:

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Book Furniture

Click here to see book furniture inspiration from Jaqueline LeBeau.

Makers look at regular objects and imagine new uses for them. And guess what? Kids do that everyday! As kid makers, we thought you’d love the idea of using old books like bricks for building.

Makers are reusing old  books to build tables, chairs, beds, counters, even little houses. The tables at right are by designer Jaqueline LeBeau. Click here or on the photo for more of her inspiring examples.

So, how do you physically connect the books to be able to build with them?

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Giant DIY Light Bright

Kid makers, check out this bright way of reusing things in your basement to light up your life! With peg board, old holiday lights and some masking tape, Christian shows how YOU can create a giant lit up version of  the classic 1980′s toy.

Just imagine the cool uses for this: A happy birthday sign for your kid brother’s birthday party? A new headboard for your bed? With an added battery pack, we bet you could even build a costume for next Halloween!  Send us photos of what YOU build at info@makeshopshow.com.

MAKER TIP: In this video, Christian mentions that your design will need to be a backwards – or “mirror image” –  so that it reads correctly from the front. This is most important if you are writing words. Using a bathroom mirror during your graph paper design step will really help. Click here for a simple tutorial on writing in mirror image.

Music: “Strings of Night” © DJ Nicos

© 2012 Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Computer Monitor Cat Bed

Click here to see computer monitor cat beds by AtomicAttic on Etsy.com.

Did you just do a double-take, kid makers? It’s an old computer monitor, emptied of its parts and filled instead with a pillow and cat!

This cool reuse idea is catching on in the blogosphere and we found several examples. The coolest are for sale at the Atomic Attic Etsy Store (Etsy is an online marketplace for makers and crafters.)

But it’s always more fun to make one yourself, so click here for instructions!  If you don’t have an old computer monitor or TV at your house, check a nearby thrift store. As CRT monitors are being replaced with newer, slimmer LCD screens, this is a great way to upcycle something old into something useful.

One of the most fun parts of this project … Read more of this post

Giant Wooden Xylophone

Kid makers, we know you love GIANT stuff! So we know you’ll get excited by this easy-to-build xylophone made from giant 2′x4′s. Click here for instructions. Hang it from a favorite tree or your bedroom door – we even built one into a bench here in the MAKESHOP™.  Special thanks to Chris Bandy of Bandy Woodworks and his co-hosts in this episode, Asher and Eden!

SAFETY NOTE: This project involves basic hand tools for woodworking, like saws. Ask an adult to teach you as you build together and always be very careful when using tools of any kind. 

© 2012 Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Sweater Sleeve Leg Warmers

Click here to learn how to make your own sweater sleeve leg warmers!

Kid makers, we know you’re growing out of stuff all the time. Use your maker skills to transform last winter’s outgrown sweater into super comfy leg warmers that are one of a kind! It’s a simple and green way to reuse a sweater that’s not in good enough condition to donate to a thrift store. (Plus, your kid sister would look totally adorable in these on her way to ballet class!)

Upcycle an old sweater into kicky leg warmers with these simple instructions from the I Could Make That Blog. The secret of why this works SO well is … Read more of this post

LEGO Binocular Camera

Click here for instructions on how to make your own LEGO camera!

Have you ever imagined building a real house out of LEGOs?  What about a Formula 1 Ferrari Racecar that you can really drive?  Lots of makers are exploring how these familiar building blocks can be reinvented into real world things!

We were amazed by these instructions and step-by-step photos on how to build a working twin-lens reflex camera from old binoculars, LEGO’s, duct tape … and patience!

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