This article is sponsored by Momentum magazine and MonkeyLectric. The article was published in Momentum Issue 44. Here on Instructables i've posted an expanded build section that has tons more inspirational photos annotated with building tips.
Step 1: Party like its 1895!
Step 2: Methods
There are several ways to do wheels, and the methods are evolving. In 2008 the prevalent method was to wrap aluminum foil around their spokes and spray paint it. This looks great but it gets trashed pretty fast. By 2009 the most common style uses colored tape wrapped around the spokes. This method is clean, durable and easy. As an experiment I made 2 of my own wheels using other methods, but the result wasn't much better than the widely used colored tape method.
Now lets build some rockin' wheels!!
Step 3: Method 1 - Color Tape (and maybe some found materials)
Duct tape, floor marking tape and packing tape are all good choices and available in 8 or more colors. electrical tape also comes in many colors but tends to be a bit more expensive and the thinner rolls mean more work. If you can't find your colors at a home improvement store, I found some online sources:
- identi-tape.com has a huge selection of colors and styles. 24 colors of duct tape and 20 colors of floor marking tape! plus metallic tapes and more.
- fast-pack.com has the cheapest colored packing tapes i can find
- and the old standby - mcmaster.com has some - part numbers 6031T897 or 7769A14
Check out all the inspiring photos. I've annotated each of them explaining how the effect was created. I started with the simplest methods and progressed to the complex ones. Many of these can be made in 1 to 3 hours and won't need much practice to do well. The last 3 shown i think will be fairly tricky to do well and i wouldn't recommend for beginners.
Step 4: Cardboard and Paint
This step shows how to make a wheel using just cardboard and paint. it is not harder than some of the tape methods, the results i'd consider about equivalent in terms of overall looks, durability and difficulty. so its just another way if you have different materials available.
Overview: cut cardboard wedges that fit into the spokes. paint with oil-based paint. 2 layers of paint act as both a glue and waterproof sealant. this keeps the cardboard in place and makes it durable.
for more durability, you can first coat the cardboard in epoxy glue before painting. i did this to my wheel, but it was a fair bit of extra work, really messy, and probably didn't add much.