Introduction: Magic 8 Ball Decision Maker Spinner

When you’ve tried all the other things like spreadsheets, flipping a coin, dartboard, calling your folks and relatives, etc. for advice on life altering decisions like choosing a college major or maybe what to have for lunch…and they’ve left you even more confused…

Consult a Magic 8 Ball.

But it you don’t have one, make one. If you have giant decisions to make, try this one.

Step 1: Get a Round to It...

This will be constructed mainly from cardboard and some other bits.

You will need some paper for papier mache. Use any newspaper, scrap paper or tear apart paper shopping bags.

Have plenty of glue ready to glue the project together.

There is no liquid involved but I will use a small magnifying glass as a lens to the other side.

I used a short pencil length to be the pin that will fit in the top half of a dried out pen. The plastic pen plunger parts and the upper body part over the pencil stub provide a smooth pivot point for the half sphere. No need for fancy hardware or high quality ABEC-7 skate wheel bearings.

Find a large bowl that will be the form or mold for your half-sphere. We're not even making a whole sphere for our Magic 8 Ball Spinner so this should be easy.

Cover with plastic wrap to keep the bowl clean and to act as the release agent.

And now like laying up a gelcoated fiberglass boat hull, layer and glue your thin paper as the base coat or the outer skin. Coat the entire piece of paper with glue. The mess will be contained in the bowl. The fun part later is peeling off the dried glue from your hands.

What we are trying to do is "reverse" papier mache so this bottom layer will be our smooth finish coating.

Cover all areas and then layer in with pieces of cardboard to form a nice sturdy shell. You might need to press and hold the pieces until the glue grabs so that they fit the rounded shape of the bowl. It helps to crease your pieces of cardboard beforehand so that they don't resist bending too much. Try to overlap each seam with the next layer of cardboard for increased strength.

Glue up as many layers that you think will make a rigid shell. Let dry completely.

Step 2: It's Not Finished Until the Paperwork Is Done...

You can demold the half-sphere when you feel the glue has set up enough. The plastic wrap has to be removed or the glue will never dry.

When dry, trim for a nice even edge all around.

Reinforce the edge with several layers of cardboard to create a stiff rim.

Cut a hole that will be your viewing window with the magnifying glass mounted on the inside.

Papier mache all the rough edges.

Make a base from several layers of cardboard. Mark the diameter by tracing the bottom of your half-sphere or the rim of the bowl. You can embed some popsicle sticks between layers to give it additional rigidity.

Papier mache all the rough edges.

Step 3: Put Your Own Spin on It...

Hmmm, kinda the Death Star or Pokeball-like at this point. You could make it R2-D2 or BB-8 themed if you like.

I used some blocks of wood to support the pivot system.

I drilled out holes to embed the pencil and pen top so they would stand upright. I used E6000 glue for the plastic to wood bond.

The pencil spike is glued so that the pencil is in the exact center of the base.

The pen top assembly slides over and covers the pencil forming a nice spinner.

You will have to play around with adjusting the height of the spinner assembly so that the Magic 8 Ball shell spins freely. I just took a pencil sharpener to whittle down the pencil to lower to the height needed.

If you really wanted to get a precise answer, you would have to go with a more complicated roulette wheel/wheel of fortune type indexing system - that pointer which makes the clackety-clack as it runs through the dividers for each of the responses. This is a Magic 8 Ball Spinner, no need for accuracy wherever it wants to stop.

Put the pen top assembly over the pencil stub. Blob its wood base with hot glue and cover with the Magic 8 Ball shell. You might have to tweak it somewhat before the hot glue sets so that it is perfectly centered and the shell spins freely. If you are really uptight, you can balance it out like a car tire by adding weights to the rim.

Step 4: Spelled Out in Black and White...

I painted the parts with acrylic paint.

Paint an area in white. Use a compass to mark out the circle for where the number goes.

I then filled in the outside area with black paint.

I freehanded and drew in the number 8 with a permanent marker.

I sawed off the handle of the magnifying glass and used hot glue to mount it on the inside of the shell.

Cut out some paper triangles from index cards and write on whatever responses you want to have. It makes it easy to change up your responses according to what kind of questions you will be asking.

You can then use double-sided tape to stick the responses in position to be seen through the magnifying glass.

The answers were so murky that I had to put a flashlight to light up the insides to be able to see.

Put the Magic 8 Ball top back on and take it for a spin. Ask away!


Cardboard Contest 2017

Participated in the
Cardboard Contest 2017