The Decisive Hedgehog





Introduction: The Decisive Hedgehog

About: The answer is lasers, now, what was the question? If you need help, feel free to contact me. Find me on Reddit, Tumblr and Twitter as @KitemanX
The Decisive Hedgehog has many uses, but mainly it takes on the responsibility of difficult choices or decisions, saving you from the blame of the outcome:
  • Offspring squabbling over TV channels? Ask the Hedgehog!
  • Don't know what to have from the takeaway?  Ask the Hedgehog!
  • Can't find a coin to flip? Ask the Hedgehog!
  • Teachers, fed up of the same three hands going up, don't know who should answer next?  Ask the Hedgehog!

Step 1: Materials and Tools

I made the Decisive Hedgehog from a piece of old pine board about 21mm (3/4 inch) thick and just over 90mm (3 1/2inch) wide. It was already "finished" quality, since it used to be part of a bed frame.

The spines are bamboo skewers, I used ordinary kids' craft paints for the colour-coding and a fine drawing pen for the numbering.

The whole thing can be made with basic hand-tools (coping saw, hand drill, half-round file, a sharp knife, sand paper), but I cheated slightly, using a scroll saw, power drill and Kitewife's detailing sander.

Step 2: Design

I may have many skills, but art isn't one of them, so I turned to the internet for my hedgehog outline.

I found an excellent little tutorial on "How to Draw a Hedgehog" on Jan Brett's website. It is worth exploring Ms Brett's site, for all sorts of drawing and craft activities, as well as her range of children's books.

I drew the outline freehand, directly onto the wood, but I left the prickles off, since they get added later.

Step 3: Spines

The spines are the point of the Decisive Hedgehog. 

I made mine from pieces of bamboo skewer (I use so much of that stuff!), cut to length by eye.

Obviously, hedgehogs are supposed to be prickly, so you can use the skewers point-out, but keep in mind who will be using it. If it will be used by small or excitable children, consider cutting the points off, just to prevent even more fuss than the Decisive Hedgehog was made to fix.

The spines are colour-coded in stripes, depending what kind of decision you are making.

The tip is black or white, for those binary, yes/no, toss-a-coin kinds of decision.

Then there is a coloured band. I used red, blue, yellow and green, but you can use whatever colours you like. You can use the bands to choose between a small selection of options.  Maybe give each member of the family their own colour, or teachers can assign colors to groups or tables of children.

The third stripe is white, as a background for writing a number. You could write the number directly onto the bamboo, but the ink could soak along the grain, spoiling the look. I used a 0.3mm drawing pen to write on the sticks.

The numbers you use are up to you - they could be favourite options from your local takeaway, or how far you will drive before stopping, or which child will be next to answer the question (I include "zero" as a number, to give the chance of staying still).

Step 4: Finishing the Body

While the paint dries on the spines, you need to drill matching holes in the back of The Decisive Hedgehog.

Spread them out fairly evenly, and make them deep enough to cover all the stripes. Don't forget to allow enough width for both bamboo and paint.

Add what finishing details you like, and then sand the edges to give DH nice "hand feel".

I added an eye by drilling right through, and the mouth is a single cut on the scroll saw. The line dividing head from body is a shallow notch, which I pressed into the wood with the bradawl on my Leatherman.

You may want to paint or stain your Decisive Headgehog, but I prefer plain wood when I can get away with it.

Step 5: Done!

That's it, you're done.  All you need to do is use it. Put the spines into the holes in random order, and when somebody needs to make a decision, let them pull a prickle.

Your Decisive Hedgehog doesn't have to be flat, or even wooden. You could mould the body from papier mache, clay or play doh. You could even print it out in 3d!

The spines don't have to have lots of coloured stripes - you could cut notches,  or add Braille dots. 

The important thing is the idea,  and if you go with the idea, I have a bunch of Pro codes to give away - it would be great to see pictures of your versions in the comments.



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    1 reply

    I don't know if anyone's already said this, but: it would make a really cute drying rack for all those ziploc and vacuum sealer bags some of us use. I really like it--and it would actually look cute on the kitchen counter covered in little baggies. Thanks for sharing!

    2 replies

    You're welcome!

    Another way this could be used is a fun way to organize small children. Make it like above but number each one, then the kids pull the spines, and organize in order according to the numbers, be it groups, or a queue.

    Seems like an easy method to tame herds of little ruffians

    2 replies

    Good idea, and if you look at the last photo of step 3...

    Ah, okay, I didn't notice that, thanks

    Also, why the heck did my comment double-post? That's obnoxious.

    At first I was "What"?? then I was "Ahhhh"... Very cool Kiteman... Klockwork Kevin beat me to the punch with his comment.

    1 reply

    This is definitely one of the best implementations of drawing straws I've seen, and yea it seems like it would definitely be great for kids.

    1 reply I get mine from the local electrical supply house but pretty sure I've seen wall mart carry them

    1 reply

    This is definitely one of the best implementations of drawing straws I've seen, and yea it seems like it would definitely be great for kids.

    Electricians have peel off and stick numbers we use for marking wire circuits. Just another option for numbering. I find I use the things for everything from labels on sparkplug wires to numbering the cables on the back of my TV/ computer so they are useful all over. Not too expensive and last forever.

    1 reply

    Oh! Are they easy to get hold of?

    What a great idea! It would be nice to use it as a pencil holder too!!