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This instructable is part of the City Storyteller series.
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A City Storyteller may need a unique backpack in her pursuit to collect and tell stories about her city.
This backpack have 3 possible functions:
1) To provide storage during gathering of stories.
2) To provide a storage for the props to be used during a performance. It can be a prop itself.
3) To differentiate a City Storyteller from a rambling madman.

Materials needed
- a doll cabinet/wadrobe/cupboard/box
- the supporting aluminium frame of old hiking bags
- about 2 metres of twine/rope
- drill set
- different colors of paint (if necessary for decoration purposes.)
- other objects that you may feel necessary when you are building it.

I recommend scavenging for the materials at your nearest second-hand shop or dump area. You can also make all the parts by yourself. Old or hand-made objects has a certain story-like quality that new objects lack.

Duration
A leisurely 1 hour.
(not including the scavenging time and waiting-for-paint-to-dry time)

Step 1: Sketch and Scavenging

For this instructable, I am reusing old objects.

Sketch
I created a brief sketch of what the backpack may look like. It helps to have a loose plan.
To take note while sketching your backpack:
What do you think it will be used as? eg. it needs to change into the evil wizard in your epic knight story. For my backpack, I need it to be a storage area and stool for me to sit on when I am performing.

Scavenging
Visiting second-hand shops and dump areas in your city can be as pleasurable as shopping at boutiques. Finding the right objects may take some time. Do not put pressure on yourself to find the perfect objects. Improvisations can create wonderful things too.

Most likely you will also start getting other stuffs that you don't need - like the bronze lion-head that will never fit into your minimalist living room. This is where your sketch comes in useful. It helps you to focus on the work at hand.

Never the same
You can never find the exact things that I have. That is the fun part. Your backpack can never be the same as anyone else.

For me, I found a red/gold toy wardrobe and and an old hiking backpack. I also took some pieces of wood which i think may come in useful.

Step 2: Modifying the Toy Wadrobe

As maybe you have already thought off, I will be using the toy wardrobe as the storage part of the backpack and the aluminium frame as the carrier. But first we have to modify the two parts so it fits each other nicely.

1) Drill 8 identical holes on both sides of the wardrobe. Make sure your rope/twine can pass through these holes comfortably. I used an 2.5mm drill bit.

2) Clean the toy wardrobe. Also check for wood chips and sand them down so they won't hook to your clothes or cut you when you are using it. You can also modify your wardrobe at this stage.
Eg. I added a "catch" to the door handles so the doors will not slide open if I fall.
I can also change the wardrobe doors from sliding to hinges - so I will be able to access the stuff inside better.

3) I did not paint it as I am happy with the original red/gold colors. The colors fits the aluminium frame that I will modify in the next step.

Step 3: Modifying the Old Hiking Bag

This step is easy. It involves only pure brute strength.

1) Rip of the bag from the aluminium frame. Do not rip of the shoulder straps though as you need them. Clean it if necessary. Ermm...and thats it.

Note: You may want to separate the bag gently though, as you can reuse it for some other projects.

Step 4: Joining/Finishing

I do not like screws for joining.

1) Prepare the twine/rope. Cut them to 2 pieces, about 1metre each piece.

2) Now, "sew" the wardrobe and aluminum frame together (as shown in the diagram). Do not sew it too tightly as unnecessary tension on the twine may snap it. It will be nice if your knots are at the inner side of the wardrobe. Once done, you have the basic form for the City Storyteller's Backpack.

3)You already have the basic form for the City Storyteller's Backpack. You can enhance it to fit your needs. As mentioned earlier, I need it to be a stool for me to sit on. A piece of the scrap wood was used to create a backrest. I added a knitting piece I did a long time ago as a cushion. I also added pockets to the inside.

Step 5: Strength Testing

Like any object, the City Storyteller's Backpack need to go through some quality control and tests before real-world usage.

1) Figure out how much weight it can hold? The aluminium frame can hold quite a bit, and a City Storyteller is most probably a light traveller. Since my backpack will be a stool, I have to do tests on whether it can hold my weight.

2) Figure out how much weight you can carry? Do a strength test of yourself.

3) Ergonomics is important for your back. Check if you can carry it comfortably. You may need to adjust the straps or put extra paddings.


The number of quality tests are infinite. It depends on the City Storyteller's work environment.
Be safe.

Step 6: Enjoy

Now its ready for real-world use! Enjoy

PS: You can use it as normal backpack too, if you fancy.
thanks for the comments Anoniempje, j_l_larson, nagutron. :) before anyone think i am a wandering storyteller, i will like to say i that i am design student. i make up weird stories (like devil babies attacking spaceships etc..), but only among friends. this is part of a project (rather conceptual) of making storytelling a part of everyday life again. there are a lot of talented storytellers (real ones) that only share their stories at specialty festivals and libraries, mainly for a children audience. I want these people to go out on the streets and work their imaginations on their city. I feel it will be incredible if this becomes big culturally in the "developed" world. That is part of the motivation for this project. i will love to work with real experienced storytellers. (maybe i should start telling stories myself too hhaha)
Awesome idea. I love stories and story telling. To bed I'm to yellow to pursue things like that. I have too much I want... Keep it up, Cultureman!
very cool! This encourages me to pursue an idea about backpacks that I've been musing about.
I'd love to hear some stories from your backpack adventures. In my imagination, they consist of puppet shows conducted from right within the backpack itself :)

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