Each year, our family does a theme costume, and this year, we decided to be classic toys. One of my favorite toys from my childhood is the Etch a Sketch. I knew it would be easy to make a billboard / sandwich board style costume to look like the Etch a Sketch, but I wanted to go one step further... I decided to make it FUNCTIONAL!
A real Etch a Sketch works with aluminum powder on the inside, and this is too messy to expand to the large size. I decided to use the same style of wiring as inside a real Etch a Sketch, but use a piece of Plexiglas and a dry-erase marker in place of the stylus removing aluminum powder from the glass.
Complete build photo collection:
Videos describing wiring, showing functionality:
Step 1: Materials List
- 2 pieces of 1/4" plywood, 1 the size of the finished piece, the second slightly smaller. (Had them already)
- 1 sheet of plexiglas (I used a 24"x36" from hobby/craft store)
- 2 lawnmower wheels for the knobs (I got 8" wheels from hardware store)
- 1 crib mattress bed sheet (mine was a jersey knit material) - red
- 40-50' of 1/16" wire rope
- many 1/16" wire rope ferules
- 8 small springs
- 1 long steel rod, cut into pieces just less han 24" and 36"
- 9 screen door ball-bearing wheels, I used these as the pulleys. (hardware store)
- 2 long (3"?) standard 3/8" machine bolts.
- several 3/8" nuts, washers, a couple nylon lock nuts, rounded nut caps.
- 8 small machine screws and nuts to attache the denim shoulder straps
- 2 cheap drawer pull handles (one on each side to help hold it steady when someone is drawing)
- old pair of jeans, cannibalized to make the shoulder straps.
- silver and white spray paint
- small block of wood to act as the "shuttle" for the pen / cross-piece for the two rods
Step 2: Initial Board Layout
Each corner has 2 stacked pulleys, as there is a loop of wire on each end of each steel rod, and the horizontal wiring has to be separate from the vertical wiring. I used the "bottom" pulleys for the horizontal bar, since the bar was longer and heavier - it could rest on the backer board.
Step 3: Drawing Rod Preparation
Cut a small block of wood and cross-drill two hole that will be the cross block that also holds the marker at the end. Thread this block onto the rods before wiring.
Crimp one end of the wiring onto the one end of the rod, and string around the pulleys on one end to measure the length of cable. Cut the cable slightly shorter, finish the end. I used a small spring to act as a tensioner to keep the loop taught. Start by doing the four loops attached to each end of the rods.
Step 4: The Secret to the Etch-a-Sketch
Step 5: Knob Preparation
Step 6: Last Chance for Wiring Fixes!
Step 7: Open the Window in the Front
Cut the front board window, and glue the bed sheet hole and Plexiglas to the back. Attach to the pulley stack bolts and tighten down. Stretch the bed sheet over the backer board. Cut holes into the bed sheet where the knob posts are.
Step 8: Finishing Touches...
Paint or print out an Etch a sketch logo and attach to the bed sheet with spray adhesive.
I created two criss-cross shoulder straps out of an old pair of jeans: Cut two long strips from the legs, sew into nice straps. Attach each end of the straps with two small bolts through the backer board.
Attach a dry erase marker to the block of wood with a rubber band or zip tie.