If you ever had an airsoft gun, you should know that it is recommended that you do not use your airsoft ammo twice. Thus, you probably have thousands of BB's laying around your yard doing nothing, at least until now. I discovered a way for you to gather up those old BB's and put them to good use and create amazing decorations (I don't have an airsoft gun, but I still have a collection of BBs, which I will explain how I obtained later)! "Ammo Art" is my new creation, and nothing like it has ever been published before (which is why I would like credit if you ever use this). With Ammo Art, you can create your favorite 8 bit video game characters, or create very large scale creations.
Before I explain how to make these creations themselves, I would like to explain the two things that collided together to lead to the creation of this idea.
When I was 7 years old, I stayed at a family's house while my mom worked late. In this family, there was a 14 year old boy (at the time), and I usually followed him around. One day, he took me out to the back yard and showed me these unusual colored spheres that were embedded throughout the yard. These little spheres were airsoft bullets (also called BB's) that had been fired from his (and his friends') guns. I immediately developed a fascination for these little spheres; perhaps it was their multitude of colors, or the perfection of their shape. Every time I returned to the house, I would bring a small pouch and fill it up with some airsoft BB's. I eventually amassed a large collection of various colored airsoft ammo.
This event would collide with another idea I had when I was 8 years old: I was watching TV, when a commercial for Pixos came on. Pixos are small spheres that can be arranged in a pattern and sprayed with water so the pattern can be lifted and played with. I noticed that the Pixos had an unusual resemblance to the airsoft ammo that I had collected. So, I took some of the BB's, arranged them in a pattern, and sprayed them with water. Sure enough........ I got a huge mess of water and spheres.
Ever since I noticed how similar the two products looked, I became determined to make my own Pixos. I tried water activated glue and tape, but nothing worked. It was not until I was rummaging through my dad's craft box and found a hot glue gun did everything change. I have used hot glue in every single Instructable I have published so far (in some way or another), and today I continue that trend! It was about a week ago that I finally created a way to get the same final product as Pixos: good old fashioned, glue every single one together. It might be tedious, but it is a labor of love, and the final product turns out to be spectacular! Now these little creations have taken over my "workshop" (aka my room desk). These creations make great wall decor or magnets, and are an excellent DIY gift for that gamer or vintage person in your life!
Enough with the history, lets make "Ammo Art"!
Note: Since I already made Mario and the mushroom before hand, I will only be showing you how to make Boo, Luigi, the Cube, and the Triangular Pyramid. However, you can use the same principle to make the characters I have not shown you how to, or you can be original and create your own!
Step 1: Gather Your BBs and Get Them Ready
If you are in need of a specific color, you can order them online, or purchase them from a store. For me, I had a difficult time finding yellow, so I ordered a bag of 1000 yellow BBs on Amazon for $1.99.
Now, grab all the BBs you've collected. If you gathered your BBs from the woods, you need to make sure all your BBs are clean before you begin working. To clean them, I usually take a plastic water bottle and fill them with whatever BBs I collected and add water. Then, I screw on the cap and shake the bottle. Finally, I pour everything out through a strainer, and I am left with thousands of clean BBs ready for assembly. Cleaning the BBs is important because it determines how the final product will look, and how the glue will adhere to each BB.
Tip: If you want to make assembly easier for you, just organize all your BBs by color. It makes it much easier to find a certain color when you are making a figure.
Step 2: The Stuff You Will Need
- Variety of Airsoft BBs, all of the same size (see previous step)
- Cardstock or Cardboard
- Razor Blade (optional)
- Masking Tape
- Hot glue gun
- Hot glue
- Tons of patience
- Magnet Strip (optional)
Step 3: Make a Prototype Board
The reason for using the tape is because it prevents the BBs from rolling around while laying out the pattern.
Step 4: Select a Model and Select Your Colors
To find a pattern by which to make your Ammo Art from, search for the name of the character you want to make on Google Images, but then add either "8 bit" , "8 bit grid", or "Perler" (Perler Beads are small plastic beads that can laid in a pattern and then melted to form a figure. The patterns for Perler Beads can be used for Ammo Art as well). All these should give you an image providing a pattern for you to lay out your BBs. For example, since I want to make Luigi, I will first type in "Luigi", and then add either of the phrases listed, so my final search would be either "Luigi 8 bit", "Luigi 8 bit grid", or "Luigi Perler". You could even search for "Minecraft Patterns" if none of the phrases I listed work.
Once you find a pattern you like, check the colors of the pattern and how many colors there are: If the colors in the model are not the kind you have, chose a different pattern or model. In the pattern I selected, there are 5 colors: green, black, blue, yellow, and brown. These are also all colors I have. Also, check if you can see the individual squares in the grid. This makes it easier to arrange your BBs into the pattern. Since I have all those colors and the pattern has visible outlines on each square, I am ready to begin assembly,
The pattern I selected was created by Deviant Art member: raivcesleinadnayr. Thank you very much for creating your fantastic pattern and releasing it to the web!
Step 5: Begin Laying Out the Pattern
Step 6: Gluing the Pattern Together
The First Row:
Always started with the BB in the furthest left of the top row. Pull it off the board, and apply a little glue to its right side. Then, grab the next BB and place it where you applied the glue. Continue this until you get the first row done. While doing this, make sure the row remains straight.
The Remaining Rows:
For all the remaining rows, there are two types of glue joints that you need to know. The first is the "Top Joint", which only applies for the furthest left BB on each row. On this type of joint, apply a small dot of glue on the top of the BB and stick it to the BB above. The second type of joint is the "L Joint". This joint is used in every other BB. In this type, apply the glue to the BB so an upside down L is formed, and stick it so the glue comes in contact to the BB on the top and the BB on the left.
Continue gluing row by row until you finish the model! My Luigi turned out great!
Step 7: Reinforcement and Finishing Touches
To finish up, remove the strings and burrs of hotglue that are still on the model. You can do this by pulling them out with your finger, but to make the job easier, I used a razor blade. Once you've done this, your model is done!
I am very happy with the way my Luigi turned out!
Step 8: Making Boo!
Step 9: Making 3-D Models
Just like before, grab some random colors, your hotglue gun, and your prototype board, and get ready to go!
I decided to only use white because I have several thousand white BBs, and I could use the other colors for something else.
Step 10: The Cube
To begin, lay out these 6 "6x6" squares on the prototype board. Then, glue each square using the exact same technique from the 2-D models. Once each square is done, just glue them on top of each other by applying some glue on top of a layer and putting another layer on top. And ta-da! Your cube is done!
Step 11: The Triangular Pyramid
First, you need to decide how large your bottom layer is going to be; I want mine to be 7 BBs wide on each side. Lay this out on your prototype board. Then, add a row on top of this one with 6 BBs, then another with 5 BBs, then 4 BBs, and so on until 1 BB. Once you've done this, make another triangle with a width of 6 BBs, and another with 5, then 4, then 3, then 2, and finally, a single BB. When you finally have all this laid out, go ahead and begin gluing them together, but this time, start with the bottom row, and use the same technique. However, position your L Joints so they are in the bottom-middle of the BBs to account for the overlay pattern. Once you've made all 7 triangles, put some glue on the largest one, and put the next largest one on top. Repeat until you put the single BB on top! Congrats, your Triangular Pyramid is done!