Introduction: DIY Dalek Ornament
This December it's less about the Whos in Whoville - Dr. Who is rocking this crib. Given the good doctor is still going strong after almost 50 years of episodes, the Things have been running some serious catch-up marathons. So...this years Christmas ornament gift was one of the easier decisions, at least the theme was. Thing One wanted a TARDIS, and Thing Two of course wanted a Dalek...just to be different. Both had to incorporate LED lighting...okay, that was my idea - a possible sign of excessive instructables surfing.
So, new for this year - two different ornaments. New for next year - no discussion or input, you get what you get, etc. etc.
So...here is the Dalek. TARDIS instructable coming right up.
Here are some supplies I used (this was awesome because 100% of the materials were re-used/hacked from things found in the house:
Toilet roll tube
cardboard (I used some upholstry tack strips because I had them)
Upholstery tacks (if you don't have any lying around, they're a few cents each at the upholstery supply store)
Epoxy putty and Epoxy glue
Part of an old hanging light fixture
Rivets, washers, grommets - whatever catches your magpie eye
A couple of LED lights - I used tealight and small white lights from Halloween
Old phone wire
Acrylic paint (raided the Things art supplies)
On the topic of supplies, I usually like to use what is already lying around the house, and often round up stray leftovers from other projects to re-purpose. I have a treasure trove of bits and pieces...so here's my tip of the day for you: go to an estate sale (look for ads that have the key words: workshop, full garage, tools, etc.) and buy you some supplies. For $20-$30 and a friendly chat with the guy working the garage, you can usually acquire a few of those shop compartment boxes. And chances are that they are loaded with all manner of screws, nuts, connectors, grommets, etc - a lifetime's collection. And a better than average chance that they are very well labelled - you knew dude would have a label maker. I'd like to think that whoever gets mine will appreciate this dead man's taste in a lifetime's accumulated necessary parts and supplies, and will admire the organized and tidy storage. Well the last part is a lie - I'm not tidy, but do know where everything is :)
Step 1: Forming the Body
1. Find a toilet roll tube - I raided Modfrugal's stash that she was saving for making Christmas crackers. Or cut a paper towel tube down to size.
2. Mark and cut out a skinny wedge from the roll. You can always widen the wedge asyou need to.
3. Join the sides. I used the tape and ended up taking it off and gluing the ends together with craft paper - I wanted a good bond when adding the cardboard strips and thought the tape may not hold up to season after season in the attic.
4.Cut off the top end - about a quarter of the length. The cut will be angled slightly - you want the top to be level/horizontal when the base is sitting on the surface. Set it down and then eyeball it from the side to get a level cut.
Step 2: Add the Cardboard Strips and Tack Pins
1. Cut the vertical cardboard strips - I used upholstery tack strips (we already had a bundle of 'em), otherwise would have cut out from a cardboard box. A pair of super heavy duty Fiscar scissors helps. If you don't currently own a pair, add them to the list for Santa - you won't regret it. There were just a couple of strips at the back that needed a trim up top to fit together. They don't fit tightly together at the bottom because it's wider. And that's okay.
2. Glue the strips onto the tube - I did them one at a time with white glue, walking away for ~30 minutes in between. There's probably a better way...
3. Glue two layers of strip around the base, and offset the joins. I glued one on first, then added the other.
4. Then I filled in some of the gaps with epoxy. Probably overkill, but I wanted a nice strong base, plus it looks better without the gaps and cracks.
5. Add 4 upholstery tacks to each cardbaord strip. I believe in symmetry, so drew a center line and also measured for each hole 1/2" apart. I also pre-drilled tiny holes for an easy time of it, and dry fitted the tacks to make sure all looked good.
6. Now it's time to paint the body before glueing in the tacks. I also snipped off the ends of the tacks with wire cutters - otherwise the inside would look like something out of Hellraiser.
Step 3: The Arms/Appendages
1. The toilet plunger arm thingy....wouldnt be a Dalek without it. I re-engineered a rivet (turned the end around) and epoxied it to a washer that I hammered into a cup shape (placed washer over a large-ish nut and hammered down with the rounded end of a machine screw).
2. The 'other arm' was just a short piece of grooved dowel.
3. Both arms were glued to a cardboard base, made up of more tack strip layers.
Step 4: The Head
After a botched attempt at the head with paper mache and Bondo filler, I ended up using an old light fixture.
1. Mix up some epoxy putty and shape out the dome head. Sand it to a nice dome when dry.
2. Drill a hole for the LED eye/arm thingy, same diameter as the arm (made from a rivet tube in the next step).
Step 5: The LED Lighting
I decided to hack/ recycle some inexpensive lights we already had. The tealight body would be great, as it has a nice push-button switch on the bottom. It would be housed in the bottom of the Dalek. It's LED was flickering yellow, so I needed to swap it for a white one.
1. Cut out the top of the tealight, carefully.
2. Heat up the ol' solder iron and remove the LED and wires.
3.Open up the other small white LED and remove the bulb.
4. Solder the ends of the white LED bulb to two wires (recycled from an old phone cable). This will give enough length to connect the bulb to the tealight base that will be in the base of the Dalek.
5.Wrap the two LED legs with scotch tape (so that they won't touch each other and short out) and feed it through a rivet tube (remove the rivet nail and just use the tube).
6. I added a small black rubber grommet to the LED bulb, along with a white one (cut off the base of the white 'wick' from the original tealight LED. Gave the LED arm a Dalek-y look.
7. Feed the two wires through the hole and glue the arm to the head with epoxy.
8. Solder the two wires (now protruding from the base of the Dalek, to the connections on the body of the tealight.
Step 6: Finishing Touches
Now all that remains is to attach the head to the body, a bit more paint, and secure the tealight in the base.
1. The two left over original yellow LED bulbs from the tealights...I glued them to the head as antennae/ears. They don't light obviously, but I'm confident someone's Dalek Ornament 2.0 will fix that.
2. Glue the head to the body on the inside with epoxy. Firms things up nicely.
3. Glue another cardboard strip around the head/body join. It covers it up beautifully. Paint.
4. There was a hole in the front (where the light fixture switch once poked out). I just covered it up with a square of cardboard....V 2.0 I'm sure can improve on it.
5. The top part can now be painted. I did a black strip around the head, and had intentions of painting on that grill pattern that Daleks have. I let it lie though.
The last step is to glue the tealight into the base, after soldering on the wires from the bulb. On mine the short leg on the bulb was connected through the switch, the longer was connected to the battery.
Step 7: Finished Dalek Ornament
And there you have it...the 2012 Dalek ornament for Thing Two.
And don't think I didn't ponder long and hard about some swivel head action on the Dalek...it's just an ornament...is what I told myself...
Participated in the
ThinkGeek Sci-Fi Contest
Participated in the
Holiday Gifts Contest
Participated in the
Make It Glow