Introduction: TIDE BOTTLE TOTEM HEAD
This is an instructable for a quick and easy lawn decoration made from any liquid detergent or
softener bottle that has a side handle (nose). Facial features are added first, then the bottle is
mounted to a piece of pvc pipe. The totem head is then spray painted your favorite halloween color, (I chose black). BUT DON'T STOP THERE! Your totem head can be further tricked
out with light up led ping pong ball eyes and/or a mask or wig. Light up eyes make for a
cool effect at night. Make several at the same time and you can line your driveway, sidewalk or spooky path with these "sinister sentries of sorrow."
Step 1: GATHER UP THE NECESSARY MATERIALS
You will need items pictured here: liquid detergent or softener bottle (the type with side handle), a length of 1&1/2 diameter pvc pipe (4-6 feet would work fine), wooden stake that will fit inside pvc
pipe, spray paint (black is what I used), and 2 optional ping pong balls for light up eyes if you
care to add to your totem head.
Step 2: OKAY NOW GATHER UP SOME TOOLS OR BETTER YET BORROW THE NEIGHBORS!
You'll need a hammer, drill, 3/32 drill bit, phillips screwdriver or drill driver bit, propane torch or similar, Exacto- type knife , 1&1/2 inch long drywall or machine screw, and optional soldering iron and hot melt glue gun to construct light up eyes option.
Step 3: MATERIALS NEEDED FOR LIGHT UP LED EYEBALL OPTION
For this added feature you will need two 2.4 to 2.6 volt led's (your choice of color--green shown in last photo), a roll of light gauge color coded two-conductor wire, solder, 1/8" diam. shrink wrap tubing, small toggle switch, and two cell AA battery holder. I bought these materials at Radio Shack for about $22.00. I spare no expense when it comes to halloween decorations. Ha ha
Step 4: DRILL FACIAL FEATURES
Using the 3/32 drill bit, drill a closely spaced holes in a circular pattern to make the outline of the eyes and mouth. Eyes are drilled at bottle corners and mouth at the base of the "nose" handle. They don't have to be perfect, the more "out-of-round" the better.
Step 5: REMOVE HOLE CENTERS
Using an Exacto knife or similar, remove the hole centers by " connecting the dots: with the blade. BE CAREFUL AND TAKE YOUR TIME AS NOT TO CUT YOURSELF!
Step 6: MOUNT TOTEM HEAD
Place one end of pvc pipe up against bottom of detergent bottle. Drill a 3/32 hole through the bottle collar and the pvc pipe at the same time. Using drill driver bit in drill or screwdriver, drive
the 1&1/2 INCH drywall screw or sheet metal screw through the predrilled holes, thereby securing the totem head to the pipe.
Step 7: SCREW MOUNTED IN PLACE
This is the screw after securing in place. Be careful not to overtighten. The plastic is easy to
strip. You can always add a screw to each side if you need more holding power.
Step 8: DISTORT FACIAL FEATURES
NOW FOR THE FUN PART!
Drive wooden stake in ground with the hammer 8-10 inches. Place pvc pipe with head
attached onto stake so as to stand upright. Use propane torch or similar to bathe the eye
and mouth openings with heat. The idea is to get the openings to shrivel and shrink. Keep
going until you get the look you want. You can reopen collapsed areas with a screwdriver
if the plastic is still soft.
CAUTION: BE CAREFUL WITH THE OPEN FLAME. HOT PLASTIC CAN BURN YOUR SKIN IF IT DRIPS ONTO YOUR ARM OR HAND. WORK OUTSIDE AND UPWIND TO AVOID THE SMOKE AND FUMES. IF PLASTIC CATCHES FIRE EXTINGUISH WITH A SMALL SPRAY BOTTLE OF WATER.
Step 9: PAINT AND DECORATE
Spray paint your totem head with whatever color you choose. I used black because it
helped to hide the detergent bottle decals. Add a hat, or wig and/or mask if you wish. Give your
totem head some character. Optional light up led ping pong balls are a great enhancement. I describe how to make these next.
Step 10: PING PONG BALL LIGHT UP LED EYES
Start with regular white ping pong balls. Drill a single 3/16 diam hole in each ball. The following steps will guide you on soldering connections to wire up two (2.4-2.6 volt) led's in parallel with a two cell AA battery pack and a toggle switch to turn lights on and off. Hopefully
the picture of the completed light assembly shown in the picture will help you..
EACH LED MUST BE WIRED TO THE CORRECT POLARITY using two conductor color
coded wire. This means the positive leads of the led's must be connected to the positive source of the battery pack and the negative leads must be connected to the negative source. (via switch). Cut two 12 inch pieces of color coded 2 conductor wire from spool of wire. I used black and white. Also cut at least seven pieces of 3/4" long shrink wrap tubing Use these pieces to insulate all your solder connections. (SLIP OVER WIRE BEFORE SOLDERING).
Start by soldering the positive (red) lead of the battery pack to the same color of one end of each of the two color coded wires. Twist the ends together to secure before soldering. This color is now the positive lead for the leds. Then solder the other color of the same end of the 2 conductor color coded wires to one pole of the toggle switch. This color is the negative lead for the led's. Again it helps to twist the ends together first before soldering. Remember the shrink wrap has to go on before soldering the connection). Solder the negative (black) lead of the battery pack to the other pole of the toggle switch. You should now have four free ends (two of each color) of the 2 conductor color coded wires to wihich you will solder the leads of the led's. Use the diagram on the led package to help you determine which lead is negative and which lead is positive. Solder the corresponding wires to the correct lead of each led. One wire connected to one lead of each led. Once again remember to slide shrink wrap over wire leads before connections are made. ( I made this mistake several times--frustrating) Slide shrink wrap tubings over the solder connections and shrink with a match or heat gun. Test to make sure connections were wired correctly. If leds do not light up they may have been soldered to the wrong polarity lead. If everything is working properly lets move on.
Step 11: CUT ACCESS HOLE IN BACK OF TOTEM HEAD
Using the same drill/knife technique used to make the eye and mouth holes, cut a large
access hole in the back of the totem head to help with installation of the ping pong.ball
eyes and led/battery/switch assembly. Dremel tools with cutting bit would make quick work of this and the other holes if you have one handy.
Step 12: MOUNTING THE EYE "BALLS"
Hot melt glue the ping pong balls in the eye sockets with the 3/16 diameter hole (if installing light option) facing inside bottle. Socket openings can be shaped with the Exacto knife for a better fit
( If you are installing led lights): Through the access hole in the back of the totem head, insert the rounded end of an led into the hole of a ping pong ball. Repeat for the other led/ping pong ball. There is a small flange on the led which should stop the led from being inserted to far. If led's are loose they can be secured with a drop of hot melt glue.
Step 13: FINISHING TOUCH
Add a mask or hat or other decoration to your totem head if you wish to embellish it further. I
aligned the eye slits in a latex mask with the ping pong balls to give this totem a "bug-eyed"
look. (see intro picture). Hit the switch and wait for the ooooohhhhs and ahhhhhhs to begin!