Flash back, two weeks earlier, I just installed Pokémon Go! on my phone and sneaked out in the middle of the night to try it out. Catched some Pokémon and got home a lot later then anticipated. Pokémon Go! does get people to get out more and walk more, 2 hours to be exact. Our oldest got up in the meantime, waking up the entire house, except me, cause I was out.
Flash forward, today. I deleted the Pokémon Go app from my phone and went without for two weeks, until I decided that our 3 year old was old enough to discover this piece of human history and thus I installed it back again. After a couple of tries I decided that the game could be a lot more fun if it had real life Pokéballs, some running action and physical Pokémon. I had one naptime (or about 2hours) to make a game. This is what I came up with:
Materials needed for this project are:
- a tennis ball
- red, white and black electrical tape
- a sharp knife
Step 1: Experiment With (Team) Rocket Powered Spray Paint and Fail
Prepare for trouble! Make it double! To protect the world with devastation! To unite all people within our nation! To denounce the evil of truth and love! To extend our reach to the stars above! Jessie! James! Team Rocket blast off at the speed of light! Surrender now or prepare to fight! Meowth. That's right!
Going in confident I took my white and red spay paint, taped of half of the tennis balls, put them in a makeshift paint studio that was nothing more than a cardboard box on our lawn and started spraying paint on the tennis balls in short bursts. I quickly noticed that it was a defeat for team Rocket when all the wool on the tennis ball rose up and none of the pain made it to the bottom of the ball.
Just like Team Rocket, I didn't give up and went for another go. I took my razor blade and tried to eliminate all hairs and loose wool on the tennis bald and took another go. Just like team Rocket, another defeat as well. That's when I gave up on my team Rocket strategy to use spray paint and followed the path of Pikatchu.
Step 2: Follow Pikatchu and Use Electrical Tape
Ok, spray paint doesn't work. Time to look for another solution. Browsing the web and Youtube I found people suggesting acrylic paint and a brush or even red, white and black sharpies. Since both those methods required quite some time and are possibly not durable I chose to get inspired by Pikachu and looked in my box of electrical supplies: red, white and black electrical insulation tape to the rescue!
- I started with the white tape and taped around the bottom half of the tennis ball. First tape two or three circles, then use shorter ends to cover the remaining part. Be sure to avoid wrinkles in the tape.
- Repeat the step with the red tape for the top half.
- Take the black tape and run a single line across the intersection of the two colours.
A disadvantage of this method of Pokéball construction: the tennis ball looses a bit of its bouncing abilities. When applying the tape (and stretching it a bit to get it tight), the tennis ball gets an even pressure around it circumference which limits the deformation when bouncing. No worries, it is still soft enough to play and bounce a little bit. It is not a wooden Pokéball like Carl Jacobson made one in this Instructable.
Step 3: Add the Button to the Pokéball and Make Some More
After the main features it is time to add the button to the Pokéball. I used the following simple technique:
- take the black tape and tape a line around the ball, put some stretch on the electrical tape
- without stretching the tape to much, add two aditional pieces above and below the line
- draw a circle on the tape and cut away the excess with a knife. Don't use to much pressure or you will damage the layers below
- repeat with some pieces of white tape to add a second white circle in the black circle
- and repeat again for the final small black circle.
I had two more tennis balls laying around, so I made a total of three Pokéballs. Ik took me about 5min to finish a Pokéball once I figured out that spray paint was not an option and got used to the electrical tape.
Step 4: Have Fun With the Kids and Forget About Pokémon Go!
Last, but most important step: go out and enjoy yourselves. I did two little games with my oldest son (3 years old):
- set up some stuffed animals and try to throw them over with the Pokéballs
- daddy is a Pokémon and you have to catch him by throwing a ball at him and then climbing on him.
Especially the second game was a lot of fun, running around in the garden, laughing, rolling in the grass, ... Get inspired by the movie I quickly made whilst running away from Pokéballs thrown at me and let me know in the comments below which other games are fun to play too.
- after one afternoon of play, there is still no sign of wear on the Pokéballs, and they did get a fair amount of beating, kicking, ...
- I started to make a collection of different Pokéball Instructables (right here), if you have any to add, let me know in the comments below