Vortex Cannon

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There may not be many practical reasons to create a cardboard box that shoots rings of dust or fog, except it is F-U-N.

The vortex cannon creates spinning rings of liquid or gas, also known as toroid vortices, and shoots them across the room.  (These are sometimes commonly known as “smoke rings.”)  All you need is a large box, a compass (or you can make your own), scissors, smoke, fog or dust for the rings and about 20-30 minutes, and you’ll be in business!

And it’s not everyday you can make a cannon without threat of injury or pretty major destruction – but one that has enough power to knock over a pyramid of styrofoam cups (as you can see in this video from the URN Science Show).

Download the instructions here:  Vortex Cannon DLC FINAL 2

If you like this project, you can graduate up to more elaborate versions with an adult’s help.

Recycled Planter

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Using household recyclables to create a planter is a fun and simple way to make your home or classroom a  little “greener”, and does its own watering!  It’s perfect for starting seeds indoors and growing seedlings until they’re big enough to plant in your garden.

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Gumball Machine Fish Tank

No, your eyes are not deceiving you:  that is a goldfish swimming in a gumball machine.

Click here for steps to make this from Instructables.com.

Here at The MAKESHOP Show, we love creative ideas for reusing old things and we know kids do, too. So we’re sharing this project idea for transforming an old gumball machine into a real, usable fish tank! PLUS, these instructions will also teach you the basics for turning other vessels into comfy fish homes.

Click here for the how-to on Instructables.com by maker wold630.

Some important notes on this project:

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Warm Fuzzies Hand Warmers

By Guest Maker Theresa Baughmanfinale

These rice filled heating pads are great for colds, toothaches, muscle aches, cold winter days, glove warmers, heating pads, headaches and more. They are a simple sewing project perfect for young makers or those new to sewing technique. Plus, there’s tons of room to be creative! Don’t miss
our inventive suggestions at the end.

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Soup Can Microphone

What’s more fun than eating soup? We’ll let you think on that one.  But lot of things can happen after eating soup.

Click here for full instructions by CuriousInventor on Instructables.

One of them is making a soup can microphone!

We found these instructions for making a real tin can microphone over at one of our favorite websites, Instructables.com. Maker expert CuriousInventor gives you clear explanations of the steps, plus helpful photos along the way to build a microphone that will give you a retro, lo-fi sound perfect for your new garage band or just giving yourself a bigger way to enter a room.

Look Closer: One of the key parts in this simple electronics projects is called a Piezo element. Piezoelectricity is electricity that results from applying pressure on certain materials.  The piezo element that you use for this project is a sensor that, when pushed by sound waves, creates a changing voltage to power your microphone. You can find a piezo element for about $1.50 online or for around $5 at your local RadioShack. It’s a fun example of a very affordable, easy-to-find part that you can use to make all kinds of fun sound-making projects. Read more of this post

Sweater Sleeve Slippers

Kid makers, you are growing all the time, growing right out of last year’s winter sweaters. Transform those old sweaters into cool new slippers – maker style!

Click here for instructions from the Organized Everyday blog.

Sweater sleeves are a great beginning to make other things (like one of our favorite projects, Sweater Sleeve Leg Warmers). By using the existing cuff and sleeve in your design, it only takes a few adaptations to make something new.

That’s what maker mom Jena did to make darling rainbow striped sweater sleeve slippers. She teaches you how to do it, too, over at her blog, Organized Everyday. Click here or on the photo for full instructions and pictures of each step.

You’ll need these materials:

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Cardboard Canoe

Can you build a canoe out of cardboard and tape that could really float your weight?

You can! All you need is simple materials you have at home like cardboard duct tape and …. the formula for displacement so your canoe is bouyant. That means your canoe has to be big enough to push away (displace) the right amount of water so you float (are bouyant).

Design Challenge: We gave 2 maker teams all they needed to design and build their own cardboard canoes to float in the 53′ water table at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. The results were super creative – and we learned how to build a canoe that would really work! Special thanks to our adventurous makers Kristin, Marie, Dave and Christian.

Do It Yourself: Of course, this is The MAKESHOP Show: we want YOU to make it yourself at home. Below are all the instructions you’ll need to make your very own cardboard canoe:

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Party Pennants

Party pennants decorating the MAKESHOP

Today is the MAKESHOP’s First Birthday! We’ve made things with 250,000 kids, teens and adults this past year. To celebrate, the MAKESHOP™ team and kid makers decorated the shop with fun party pennants and soon we’ll blow out the candles on a giant, light up robot cake.

Party pennants are a simple sewing project perfect for makers just learning to sew. Click here to download our Party Pennant How To. Here’s our step by step instructions so that YOU can make party pennants for your next bash! . . .

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Electronic Jack-O’-Lantern

Tech-loving makers around the world are inspired by Halloween to create pumpkins that shoot lasers, flash messages with lights or shoot silly string when someone walks by … all using LED lights, sensors or arduinos. They call them Hack-O’-Lanterns. Roll up your sleeves, clean that cold goop out of your pumpkin and get making.

Click here to learn how make a “hack-o’-lantern” from Instructables.com!

This easy how-to, Tiny LED Jack-O’-Lantern, from Instructables.com is a great start for YOU, kid makers!

  • Maker Zack Scott takes you step by step through the lighting of a pie pumpkin with an LED module. He shares photos for each step. When its done, you have a little jack-o’-lantern that lights up with the flick of switch on the back of the pumpkin!
  • Zack draws his circuit diagram to show you just how the electricity needs to run between the batteries, switch and light. Learning to build a simple circuit like this opens the door for all kinds of other projects. For example, make your Halloween costume light up with the simple circuit in our Light Up Wristband how-to.

Wondering where to find the parts to make your own hack o’lantern?

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T-shirt Bags

Click here to make this no-sew fringe bag from Tealou and Sweetpea.

On a rainy weekend, nothing is more comfortable  than sitting around at home in your favorite T-shirt and jeans. If you’re like us, kid makers,  you may have a whole collection of clothes that you don’t wear but dont’ want to throw out … especially favorite t-shirts. Whether you outgrew it, it’s stained or it’s just last year’s style, we have the perfect upcycling fix: BAGS!

We all carry a lot of things this time of year, like a book bags for school, grocery bags for apple picking, and of course, trick-or-treat bags for Halloween! Grab your oldest summer tee and start making.

T-shirt Bag Project Ideas:

T-shirt bags are a great example of one of kid-makers favorite types of making: UPCYCLING! What is “upcycling”?

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