Instructables

Introducing the Fab-brick (a Sew Useful contest project)

A multipurpose, hand-sewn, upholstered brick form. Multiples can be configured and reconfigured to furnish the changing needs of day-to-day living. Like Lego but a domestic rather than a universal system.

Wherever I go, I cannot resist picking discarded bricks out of skips. I always do it very casually, not only to do a mental check that I'm bending my knees and not my back, but also to convince those passersby who watch you out of the corners of their eyes that you are in fact doing the opposite of fly-tipping.

The oldest shaped bricks ever found (on the site of a Neolithic settlement in Turkey) have been dated to 7,500 BC; poor students and other technically advanced peoples have been building brick structures ever since.

I stumbled across the Instructables / Etsy SewUseful contest at the latest possible moment and in a desperate bid to win a much coveted Singer sewing machine I wracked my brains and remembered the catalogue of useful things I've made using bricks - draught excluders, wine racks, desks and book cases, candle holders etc, etc So, I knew at once that I would have to sew a honest, utilitarian brick.
See the Fab-brick listing on Etsy
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Checklist

You will need:
Materials for one brick:
1.40mm (or thereabouts) diameter cardboard tube; a double-walled corrugated cardboard box with two side panels measuring at least 42cm x 29.7cm to make a robust, brick-shaped hollow cardboard form
2. wood glue
3. screw cap spout from a fruit juice carton
4. a pack of yellow dusters, or fabric of your choice
5. recycled textile to pad the hard cardboard form
6. thread
7. heat-fusible hemming web
8. Silver sand and/or sawdust to weight the brick

Tools:
1. scalpel or utility knife, scissors
2. steel edged ruler
3. circle cutter
4.cutting mat
5. pencil & disappearing fabric marker
6. various elastic bands to use as you see fit to hold the cardboard panels in position whilst the glue hardens

ChipUser7 years ago
I like the idea and the concepts listed in the first sentence of your Instructable [A multipurpose, hand-sewn, upholstered brick form. Multiples can be configured and reconfigured to furnish the changing needs of day-to-day living.] However, I like upholstered things to be cleanable (washable if possible - at least removable covers). With the use of cardboard in the construction, this brick will not permit using water to clean it and the cover is not something you can remove. Other issue is that if someone crushed it, the creases will continue to show throughout the remainder of the brick's life. These issues need to addressed for a really usable item.
fake_faux (author)  ChipUser7 years ago
Hi ChipUser Thanks for your comments I guess this is really what Instructables is all about: bouncing ideas off one another. I really appreciate your feedback. If you want to ensure that your upholstered brick is washable/cleanable this would influence the type of material you choose to upholster the form with; you can get some really funky oilcloth these days for instance. I wouldn't recommend wasting brainpower trying to devise a removable cover for this form as the "holes" in the brick make it tricky. Re your points about the brick being crushed - if you read my materials list you will see that this brick's walls are made from double-walled corrugated cardboard which is a heavy duty material. Each wall panel is made of a double layer of this cardboard. The walls are constructed in such a way that the joins overlap and interlock. So even at this stage the form is built like a brick. It is further made solid and near-on impossible to crush once it is filled, as it is designed to be filled, with sand and sawdust. Personally I like the way things get scuffed and knocked taking on the patina of everyday life.
Hi folks, One other filling may be pet bottle scraps - this way you may "get rid" of something that is usually hard to recycle and get a more rigid brick
ChipUser7 years ago
Hi Fake_faux, I saw how the bricks are constructed. Filling them with sand or saw dust may protect from major crushing. If you drop one though, with sand, corners may get damaged. But this was not what I was thinking about when I made the comment about crushing. I was thinking of bigger but light weight things put together by tying together multiple units with matching/contrasting fabric belts - through the holes - or on the outside. For these one may have to leave the bricks empty to keep them light. Making these empty bricks crush resistant was what I was thinking about. Simple furniture shapes come to mind. For single weighted bricks another application could be as bookends. May be I should build one to check out the strength. I have never really sewed anything though :-( . May be hot-glue wll have to do.
fake_faux (author)  ChipUser7 years ago
Hi ChipUser, Unfortunately I can't drop this protype on it's corner until after its Etsy listing expires - its listed for 40 days. But yes a protype should be put through rigorous testing. I am fairly confident that the damage will be minimal. I will post a picture. If you are looking for a light brick I would hold on the sand and just fill it up with sawdust. Here in supermarkets in England they sell small vacuum packed packs of sawdust for pet bedding. The packs aren't much bigger than, I guess, 30cm X 21cm X 10cm which you can pick up with your little finger. That's more than three times the internal volume of the brick and vacuum packed at that. In the past I have built bookshelves and wine racks from actual bricks, pegged with broom handle dowel and incorporating planks where needed, I built a barbecue unit (without cement) and the weight and configuration of the bricks gave stability to the structres. Hmmm do I detect a fellow Lego fan at heart? We only ever had basic blocks but built all sorts of things, for some reason there was only one blue brick which made it special. Alot of the bricks had teeth marks on them because sometimes they would jam together and you'd have to use your teeth to grip one brick whilst pulling to seperate them .
fake_faux (author)  fake_faux7 years ago
Heya, on second thoughts if you need multiples of a light-weight brick, I wouldn't make a hollow construction at all, I would just cut out a number of top/bottom panels required to get a thickness of 70mm and laminate them altogether to get something that looks like a Malaysian Kuih lapis layer cake. Job done!
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!