Picture of DIY TARDIS Ornament
2012 ornaments 086.JPG
This year's Christmas ornament gift is different for each Thing. We're all about Dr. Who these days, so Thing One wanted a TARDIS, and Thing Two wanted a Dalek, which is on here as a separate instructable. It's probably the last year I'll do different ones, but wanted to accommodate wishes and mix things up a little. The good news is that both Things are thrilled with their respective ornaments.

I do write a message, the year, and Thing name on each year's ornament. I do it at the end, after all pics are taken - so they will (and already do) each have a great collection of one-of-a-kind ornaments. Maybe they will carry on the tradition with their kids...

They were a lot of fun to make, and it's always nice to make something out of 100% recycled stuff - I didn't buy anything for these ornaments, all materials were scavenged/re-purposed from around the house or leftovers from Modfrugal's various projects.

This was also the first year that the ornaments glow...the LEDs added a nice touch.

So - read on for a how-to on the Time And Relative Dimension In Space...


Thin ply-wood for the walls, floor and roof - I used an old fruit box
Craft Paint and Sharpie pens
Wood glue or White glue
Epoxy glue (you could use a glue gun...it's just that I'm an epoxy man)
Label paper for the sign stickers
A small hinge
plastic pen
LED tealight plus a small LED white light
Assorted tools (pliars, wire cutter, screwdriver, box cutter etc.)
small eye hook (to make this thing an ornament)

Step 1: Cut the Walls, floor & Roof

Picture of Cut the Walls, floor & Roof
2012 ornaments 003.JPG
We had a few old grocery boxes, and I thought the thin plywood was perfect construction material. Think this housed tangerines or somesuch.

1. Remove the heavy duty staples holding the box together.

2. You should have plenty of undamaged materials for the walls, floor and roof of the TARDIS.
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StoryAddict2 years ago
One of our favorite ornaments is a Hallmark Darth Vader that plays a famous line when we turn the lights on or press a button. You just need to rig your Tardis to play the Whovian theme and you're golden!
I'm working on that. I'm starting off with the light that fades, in and out, but ultimately I want it to make the TARDIS sound. I /think/ I can get an Arduino to do it, it just depends on the amount of space I can cram the code into it.
Arduino Wave Shield.
sabu.dawdy2 years ago
i just loveddd ur ideaaa
jimmysymo2 years ago
Yes a good Christmas present,for the kido.and your perfection ig great.(smile)
Peale2 years ago
The tealight on the top - does it flicker?

It would be really cool to have a light that fades in and out. I wonder if there's an off-the-shelf solution.
lburch1 Peale2 years ago
With an http://www.arduino.cc you could. I would suggest an Arduino Nano. See http://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/DimmingLEDs for a code example.
Peale lburch12 years ago
Oooh...just found this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=30rPt802n1k

But, of course, I don't have an Arduino to program one of these chips. Oh, well.
Peale lburch12 years ago
That particular example could especially work for the Dalek ornament, since there are three LEDs.
Peale lburch12 years ago
Ah, yes, that would work. I'd want to program just a chip to handle that function, rather than use an entire Arduino for that.

craftycounterpart (author)  Peale2 years ago
Yeah that would be cool...there probably is one out there, or the techies on here could show how to wire one up?
lburch12 years ago
It references a English SiFi TV show "Dr Who".
wolfkit lburch12 years ago
'Doctor Who' actually.
kevinhannan2 years ago
I've been planning on a tardis-shed for the garden. For weeks and months now I have tried to find an enamel sign for the front door and a suitable blue lantern for the top but cannot find any. Any help, please? Many thanks.
You won't find a original sign, unless you want to pay a ton for it. Go to kinkos and they should be able to print out a suitable plastic sign. There's also the option of getting one screen-printed on wood/metal, but that will cost ya.

The lantern glass used in the tardis's is very similar if not identical to blue glassed railroad lanterns. Go check out eBay. If that doesn't work they make very similar clear glass domes for porch lights. Go to your local home improvmentand get one that looks close. After that you can actually paint it. They make translucent paints for faux stained glass windows and model kits. Try either one.... I believe Testers makes some really nice colors for models.
Thank you all for your time and trouble - I will now go and order one! Many thanks again!
HowardC HowardC2 years ago
Actually, I take that back... you won't find an original sign that looks like any of the ones on the show period. Although the Tardis is based upon a English police box, the Tardi (there were several designs over the years) were all custom built and had custom sinage.

A wooden police box, even way back when Dr. Who was a new show, was quite rare, possibly even non-existant. They were usually made out of cement for durability.
The MacKenzie Trench design used for the TARDIS was introduced by the Metropolitan Police in 1929 and finally phased out around 1970, so for the first seven years of the show, the real thing was both familiar and accessible. These were designed from the beginning (1929) to be constructed of cement except for a teak door. Great suggestion regarding the signage -- Kinko's or any local sign shop can make one just as good as the prop originals.
I remember reading somewhere the uk had a large number of the red telephone booths in a warehouse they were selling for close to nothing. I cant find the article anymore..
sibu2 years ago
Pantone 2955C is called Tardis blue if you don't want to mix your own paint.
craftycounterpart (author)  sibu2 years ago
Ha - awesome!!
sibu2 years ago
Well done!
Nirgal382 years ago
I have every intention of making one of these for my Whovian family!
craftycounterpart (author)  Nirgal382 years ago
Please post a pic when you do!
ynneb2 years ago
Mine didn't work. It made the woo woo noise, but didn't disappear.
craftycounterpart (author)  ynneb2 years ago
You must have missed the elf magic step.
HowardC2 years ago
Fantastic idea! I have some suggestions for improvement on the build though in case you want to do more.

1. I wouldn't use wood. It's certainly sturdier, but heavy ornaments and Christmas trees don't always mix well. I would suggest using the foam project board we all used in elementary school. It's not as sturdy, but it wouldn't be any more fragile than your typical glass ornament. You can get it in different colors as well, so you might be able to skip the painting step!

2. We have a few commercial ornaments on our tree that are lighted. Instead of using a power source, what they do is use a length of wire with a christmas bulb connector coming out of the back. So once you put it on the tree you simply unplug one of the bulbs and plug the ornament in. Now obviously if you are using led lights on your tree you have to use leds in the ornament and incandescent if otherwise. It does save you from having to deal with batteries, and switches, and a cumbersome top-hinge though. If you don't want to do it that way, I would make a hole in the bottom of the tardis indstead.. the size of the tea candle base. Then you can glue it in place flush with the bottom, paint the base blue and you have access to the battery and switch.

3. They actually sell blinking and fading leds on ebay these days for next to nothing. It would be a lot cooler if it pulsed. ;)
craftycounterpart (author)  HowardC2 years ago
Thanks...like the improvement ideas! The wood isn't actually that heavy, and we have plenty of heavier ornaments so it's not a big deal for us - but yes, lighter is better in general for any ornament. Agree that the light in the base would be more accessable (that's what I did for the Dalek), and also blinking/fading LEDs would be a good enhancement, if you have them. Would love to see pics of others improvements...it can only get better :)
dantistus2 years ago
Nice! Are you planning to make an instructable about the awesome Dalek? :)
craftycounterpart (author)  dantistus2 years ago
Thanks...yes it's on here: http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Dalek-Ornament/
ladykila2 years ago
Has a light for sale but it also has instructions on how to buy and build your own.
M.C. Langer2 years ago
Amazing job! TARDIS ornaments are cool!! :-)
kouellette2 years ago
This is great for a FB friend...Dark Atlantis, I know she'd love anything from Doctor Who..!
Dark if you see me post this check it out maybe you want to build it for yourself! <3
gafisher2 years ago
VERY nicely done, and a great use of recycled and re-purposed materials!
tn.2 years ago
Very nice.
You are awesome!
Jmae2 years ago
Voted! This is awesome! I love the Dalek one as well. Great job!
oldmicah2 years ago
That is very cool. Thank you for sharing!
btw do the Things relate to dr. Seus?!?!
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