How often have you looked at your molecular ball and stick models and thought, “Not expressive enough.” Let’s face it, they capture the atomic structure but not the soul of the atom. Fortunately I am here with your answer.

An advanced degree in chemistry or a related field is not required for this model, but may be desirable for other reasons (we certainly could use more graduates in the STEM fields). This Instructable includes steps for making Ethanol in several forms and a Hipster Caffeine. The coloring is based on standard CPK colors.

Ethanol is, of course, the stuff that makes wine and beer so much more fun than grape juice and...um...soggy malted barley and hop soup. A pair of carbons with an hydroxide bit and five hydrogen atoms. The is most often made the same way as it has for the last 10,000 or so years: by feeding sugar to yeast and dining their...output. Mead makes the notable list as it is nectar that has been eaten and regurgitated by bees then eaten and...expelled... by yeast. This molecule can be heavenly and brewers would claim that content naturally lost in the aging process was "the angel's share". It is well known that the aqua vitae has the power to bring life and fun to the party but also is the Devil’s drink. Not to worry, we also have a bit of the “hair of the dog” for you.

The next most popular chemical "mood-shifter" is, of course, Caffeine. This popular double ring is the source of coffee's power and has done more to propel the nation's astronauts than 1000 tons of hydrogen and a spark plug. You're best bet for making this gift to students and workers everywhere is by taking advantage of its water solubility and extracting it from coffee beans, tea, or reportedly from the dew found on the mountains. This "mountain dew" makes the special list for being both an old slang term for alcohol as well as a lemon lime soda turned awesome by the addition of caffeine and orange juice. We naturally will find the most identifiable form of caffeine is the hipster, with his Buddy Holly glasses and that novel he found at this second hand shop you probably have never heard of and is marking with insightful notes in the margins. He uses a #3 pencil ("H" for my international friends) because #2 is corporate shills. We hate him, but he makes good coffee.

These are by no means the limit! Look through your old, well worn, dog eared, loved chemistry book for fun molecules. Harry Potter fans may choose their potions books, provided that they have good chemical formulae and/or instructions from The Half Blood Prince. Covalent molecules are best as metals and ionic molecules tend to be found as crystals lattices that both go on forever and are not hip. Also be wary of large organics as they will be huge models (e.g. each "rung" of a DNA ladder contains around 30 atoms, but the strand has over a million rungs). Next, search your heart and delve into the soul of the molecule. Try to divine the true nature of your chosen sequence of non living basic matter. Finally...once you are ready and your inner light is bare, go to your local hobby store and gather the following...

Step 1: Materials


  • Pom poms: they come in different sizes and colors. You will need lots of black and white but also some red and blue (sky blue for purists). I go for the smallest I can find.
  • Toothpicks: any small dowel will work, but toothpicks are a perfect size and easy to find. Use the plain round ones. The pointy tips will be used for devil's horns


  • Paper: for wings and glasses. I used white index cards and a marker for color but plain paper or construction paper can be used
  • A marker, black
  • Paint, red
  • Thread or thin string, white
  • Two fingers of Whiskey, neat or on the rocks
  • A Cup of Joe, dark as night and sweet as sin


  • Hot glue and applicator: a hot glue gun is great but I've been really happy with a hot glue pot you will see in action
  • Diagonal wire cutters or a similar cutting device for the toothpicks
  • Scissors, preferably small ones
  • Hobby Knife
  • A Kind Heart and Open Mind
<p>&quot;I was a molecule before it was cool&quot;...this is great!</p>
<p>Thanks! If I can get it become a meme I'll be very happy.</p>
<p>This is so cute and could be very educational! haha Love it!</p>
<p>Thanks! You can have other molecules that kids will like more, such as water, sugars, and simple amino acids.</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a Mechancial/Aerospace Engineer that likes to tinker in my spare time. I make my own Christmas Cards.
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