Introduction: Kids Build- Rainbowtastic Unicorn Part 2!


Last time we posted about our unicorn,it was just a paper mache shell with a horn. She was missing some vital parts - eyes, a rainbow mane, and a rainbow light-up tail. Now that she has these, she looks far more unicorn-like. Here is how we brought out rainbow unicorn to life!

She is still a work in progress, but we are proud of our unicorn and especially of the input the kids of the makerspace have had. We still have work to do on the electronic side of things - the eagle eyed reader will notice the as-yet unused neopixel ring around the horn - but we hope you enjoy reading how the rainbowtastic unicorn is progressing!

Step 1: Add Eyes

We are lucky enough to have a makerspace member who works with enamel. He made us some enamelled unicorn eyes from two-pence pieces (full instructable here), so our first step was to give our unicorn the power of sight!

We used hot glue to attach the eyes, which was a simple task. But, as makergirluk pointed out to us, our unicorn is a girl so she needs some long fluttery eyelashes! We cut individual eyelashes out of black breadboard wire and glued these on as well.

Step 2: The Mane

Creating a rainbow mane was easier said than done. We toyed with the idea of using yarn but then inspiration hit one day while we were having a makerspace tidying session. The perfect mane material was hiding in plain sight! All we needed was part of our 'feather' duster. Though some of the kids would have preferred that we butcher our existing duster (let's be honest, who would rather clean than make?) the adults prevailed, and a new, clean duster was bought to use for the mane.

We snipped hairs off the duster in each of the colours that we needed. We then arranged it into the long, thin sections required between two rulers and added hot glue liberally to the end. We then glued it into place on the unicorn, and proceeded with the next section.

Step 3: Hole for the Tail

Since the earliest planning stages, we had something special in mind for the tail. But to execute our plan it meant doing some delicate unicorn surgery... no, this hole is not what it looks like. It is just a tail hole, honest ;-) We measured the size that we needed and carefully drilled into the paper mache.

Step 4: Fitting the Tail

When I was a teenage (not that many years ago, but still more than I would like) there was a trend for UFO lamps with fibre-optic fountains spilling out of the top. These were marketed as 'calming' and 'mood lamps' but in my experience were good for little other than collecting dust and inducing migraine. But every rainbowtastic unicorn needs a rainbowtastic tail! And the fibre-optics from one of those lamps was just what we needed.

Having measured it, we had drilled a hole to fit it into the unicorn. While initially we had planned all kinds of clever arduino circuits to control it, we realised that actually we were overcomplicating things, and that integrated circuit rainbow LEDs attached to a button cell battery would be fine for our purposes. Each battery lasts several days and we can simply remove the tail and replace the battery as needed. We used several LEDs to create a rainbow effect. the light travels from the hidden LEDs down the tail, creating a rainbow lightshow!

We were very pleased with how this turned out, though we may move to an arduino-controlled system once we start fitting the other electronics that we have planned.

Step 5: The Rainbowtastic Unicorn!

So, here she is in all her glory. We do have further future plans - a neopixel ring around the horn is just the beginning, so watch this space!