Build your own with common items found around the house. No rocket science involved.
Note: This is based on the realMagic 8 Ball product. Not to be used for games of chance or fair trade where restricted by law.
Extreme crafting involved, papercuts are a hazard, peeling glue from fingers can hurt, and no running with scissors.
Step 1: Crafty Supplies
A couple of corrugated cardboard boxes to salvage cardboard material
referred to as "card" by our metric using friends
An inflatable beach ball (20in round), use one of those inflatable yoga exercise balls for a really giant Magic 8 Ball.
plastic wrap to protect the ball when used as a form
lots of glue( I use carpenters glue for its better tack and regular white glue for the papier mache solution)
masking tape to help clamp the cardboard
60lb thin paper cardstock (you can use any scrap paper for the papier mache - I use this stuff to reduce the need for so many layers and sets up faster)
For the Magic answer module:
An empty clear glass jar with lid (make sure it seals watertight when turned upside down)
A chunk of insoluble foam to carve out for the die (I used some packaging foam I had lying around. You can of course use something else that will survive submerged in water and floats)
water (real one is colored alcohol as the liquid)
a few drops of blue food coloring
black and white paint
electrical or duct tape to seal and secure the jar
Step 2: Construct the Death Star
Inflate the beach ball. Note that you may need to puncture the valve mechanism so air gets through. Seems they are manufactured that way with the seal intact so everyone gets a laugh when you turn blue trying to inflate the ball in front of everyone. The valve is designed to be pressed into the body after sealing but you can leave it out so you have something to grab on to during construction,
Wrap it all around in plastic wrap. This is optional if you want to reuse the ball later without all the glue sticking to it.
Cut out cardboard panels to match the panels on the beach ball.
We want to construct a 3 or 4 layer cardboard shell over the beach ball. We will leave an area around the valve exposed so we can deflate the ball and extract it later.
The first shell is the toughest to construct because there is nothing to stick to.
Crease the cardboard and gently round it to shape to conform to the beach ball. You may need to cut little slits at the edges to get the cardboard to lay flat on the beach ball.
Go around and construct the "globe" by taping the pieces together. You can also glue little scraps of paper to bridge the pieces.
Cut pieces to fit the odd openings where the cardboard pieces do not cover.
The second layer is going around the entire layer with thin strips of cardboard glued on to the first layer. Try to orient the corrugations of the cardboard layers to cross each other for better strength.
Repeat the process a third time. The ball will still be slightly flexible until all the glue dries.
Depending on the thinness of your cardboard, a fourth layer will be necessary. I have gotten the feel for how many layers I will need from the various cardboard projects I have made.
Get a small container of half white glue and half water. Tear up the cardstock in small pieces.
Dunk the pieces and squeegee out the excess glue solution with your fingers.
Apply randomly but overlapping the last piece a bit.
Cover the Death Star with papier mache until complete.
Deadmau5 hats anyone?
Let dry until dry.
I had set it up on a roll of tape to hold it while drying. The weight of the sphere put a dent where it rested on the tape ring. I had to patch it up with more papier mache later.
You can then extract the beach ball for other uses.
Step 3: Reactor Core
Get a piece of cardboard that wil wrap around your jar with lid two times and the height of your sphere.
Crease the cardboard to get it to bend rounder.
Roll the jar in the cardboard tube just lightly snug and glue the tube. You can tack it in place with tape.
Test that you can push the jar out.
Transfer the diameter of the jar holder tube to the opening of the sphere.
Cut radial slits in the excess shell that is in the opening. You can push them down into the sphere and smooth out the opening hole.
Insert the jar holder tube and mark it at the level of the opening.
The excess will be cut as glue tabs when pushed back into the sphere. Pull it out and slit all around up to the mark.
Fold back like a palm tree.
Apply glue to the tabs and insert back into the sphere. The tabs should splay out in the sphere and stick to the walls of the sphere.
Glue the top edge of the jar holder tube to the opening. Finish the edge with papier mache.
Measure the depth of the jar holder tube.
Figure out how high you need to make a jar height stop so that the jar bottom will be even with the surface of the sphere.
Roll up more cardboard to make a thick tube that is the height the jar needs to rest at.
Add more layers of cardboard to the top edge. Roll and glue. Finish off the rough top edge with papier mache.
I think I could have just cut out a cardboard disk to cover it. But hey, I was on a roll....
Drop glue in the bottom portion of the jar holder tube. Push in the jar height stopper tube.
Step 4: Looking Good...
When all the glue is dry, give it a light sanding to remove some bumps. I guess I could have done a better finish with more time.
Prime all over.
Use a compass to draw out the Number 8 circle.
Lay out the Number 8 in pencil.
Go over with magic marker. Use a paintbrush and black paint if you are good.
Paint the Magic 8 Ball. I needed two layers of black to cover the white primer.
I only had flat paints so I may need to go over everything with a gloss polyurethane for the high gloss billiard ball look.
Step 5: Slice It, Dice It, Cube It...
I don't have anything to create the real embossed lettering that the real Magic 8 Ball has on its die. I probably have an old dymo labelmaker that does the real embossing but probably no label tape.
The official die is an icosahedron, a 20-sided thingy of equilateral triangle shapes. You can look up the details.
Hmmmmm, this might be perfect if I had access to a 3D printer or lasercutter to make plastic parts to construct the die.
But.....wood floats but has to be sealed to make it waterproof, no chunks of plastic or plastic sheet to construct somethinig, packaging foam was the next best thing. I could attempt to figure out how to carve an icosahedron...
Well, good thing I am not a diamond cutter. I did a test piece and it showed the die had to be more rounded so it could bounce around in the jar.
This foam did not soak up water so it was some kind of closed cell foam,
I loped off the corners of a cube at a 45 degree angle and came out with something around 14 sides.
Add your own answers with a magic marker. I guess I could have coated it with epoxy or a silicone caulk for a better writing surface. I'm not sure how well hot glue does submerged under water. With the room I had and a medium magic marker, I went with some worded answers and emoticons to fit. Create your own answers.
Let the magic marker dry completely or it will rub off onto your fingers if you handle it right away.
Step 6: Where the Magic Happens...
Fill up to the rim. You really don't want an air pocket in there. It will overflow when you cap it.
Add food coloring so the liquid is dark.
Seal up the jar.
Put a few wraps of electrical tape around the cap to really seal it. I had some of that As Seen on TV miracle silicone sealing tape.
Put a few wraps of duct tape around the jar so you get a nice friction fit in the jar holder tube. Put a few wraps then turn the sticky side out so it will grip the walls of the jar holder tube.
Insert in the Giant Magic 8 Ball and make sure the jar is secure.
Turn the ball upside down, shake and ask away...