Intro: 5 Simple & Nerdy Christmas Tips
In this Instructable we will go through 5 nerdy christmas tips, may it be a simple and beautiful christmas present or something that will add a "flair of geek" to the traditional holiday decoration! If you find yourself inspired by any of these ideas, make sure to show us what you have made!
Step 1: The Easiest Infinity Mirror (pt 1)
Most infinity mirrors are big, immobile, and requires the use of glass-cutters, mirrors, and complex frames. In this quick build, we'll make one so simple that anyone could do it in an afternoon. This works great as a unique kind of christmas present, and this particular one is purposed for my 10 year old niece.
To get started, here are the things you will need for this:
- A wood or stiff cardboard box. Any from the dollar store one will make things cheap and easy.
- Acrylic glass!
- "One way"-mirror film (link)
- LED-strip (any kind of strip, also link)
- 12 volt power supply for the LED-strip (link)
Time estimation: 1.5 hours, when all supplies are acquired.
Step 2: The Easiest Infinity Mirror (pt 2)
The shape of your box defines the shape you have to cut out in the acrylic. I'll say this is the most difficult part of the build, and it's not particularly hard, but it takes a little while. If you have a cardboard box with a lid, you can use the lid to trace the shape out on the acrylic. If not, you could for instance color the edges of the box with a wet marker, and then stamp it onto the acrylic glass to print the perfect shape.
You need 2 cut outs with equal shape. One to put inside the box, and one to put on top of it.
There are many options for cutting it out, but I think the easiest one is using a contour saw. If you don't have one, try with a lightweight hacksaw. It's a little slower, but in many cases more precise. If you cut your shape out, and it doesn't fit inside the box, don't panic! Put the glass on top of the box, see which edges stop the shape from entering, and take a low grit file and get to work.
If your edges are rough, use a file or sandpaper to clean it up!
Step 3: The Easiest Infinity Mirror (pt 3)
Paint the inside of the box black (if it's not already), and paint the outside of the box the color you like, or don't paint the outside at all. Cheap acrylic paint works great for this.
Drill a hole on the inside of the box, right where the wall meets the bottom. Preferably on the side that the box will rest on when it's done (if you're not making it to be hung on the wall).
Take your acrylic glass and give it a water soak with a spray bottle. Then put an appropriately sized sheet of mirror film on top of it. Use a precision knife or a utility knife to cut away the excess on the sides, and then use a squeegee or a similar tool to push out all air bubbles on the film. Remember to do this on both pieces of acrylic glass!
Step 4: The Easiest Infinity Mirror (pt 4)
Pull your LED-strip through the hole we previously drilled in the bottom, and then insert one of your pieces of acrylic glass (now a box-shaped mirror) into the bottom of the box.
Use glue, for instance hot glue, to stick the LED-strip all around the wall of the box. If you box is tall you might have a better effect if you do two parallel LED-strips on the inside of the box. In that case, the first one needs to be soldered to the second one.
When that's done, solder the wires that goes out on the back of your box to your power supply. Preferably sealing it with some shrinking tube.
Put the last piece of acrylic on the top, either inside the lid, or just glue it straight to the top of the box.
And that's pretty much it. It takes a little bit of planning, because some of the supplies you might not have lying around. Once you have it though, it's easy to make several in different shapes, and they work great as decoration and christmas presents! Loved by both children and adults, they never fail to fascinate.
Step 5: The Pokemon Stockings (pt 1)
With the 2016's Pokemon frenzy, this quick little DIY is going to be appreciated in any home with kids in it. Or, if you're like me, just a 90's child that never grew up.
In this build, we'll be making Charmander, but the same process can be applied to any Pokemon.
- Different colored felt fabric (black and white is usually a must, plus the main color, and eye color)
- Hot glue
Time estimation: 30 minutes
So let's get going.
Start by drawing out a sketch of a stocking on a piece of paper. Cut the sketch out with a pair of scissors, so you end up with a stocking shaped piece of paper.
Step 6: The Pokemon Stockings (pt 2)
Put two sheets of felt on top of each other, and then use the paper template and a pencil to trace a line on the top sheet of fabric. Use a pair of scissors to cut along the lines, so you end up with two equally sized stocking-shaped felt cutouts.
Bring your ever loyal glue gun to work, and apply glue right on the edge between the two layers of fabric. Press firmly together until its dry, and voila, you have now made the most basic kind of stocking. Let's make it a little more interesting.
Cut out a white piece of felt that is 4 cm wide and as long as the top of your stocking, preferably one or two cm longer. Then glue it right to the top. This makes for a nice, white, stocking-styled top border.
Step 7: The Pokemon Stockings (pt 3)
Now, a stocking should be able to hang somewhere, so we'll make a little handle by cutting out two pieces of felt, and glue them together at the top. Then glue each of the pieces to their respective side (on the inside) of the stocking. That's how easy making a handle is!
For the eyes I suggest googling an image of the specific Pokemon, and then trace the eye on a piece of paper. Use the trace to cut out the proper pieces of felt, and glue them together in the right position, then glue each eye to the stocking. On the image, look at how the mouth curls, then cut out a long and slim piece of black felt and try to impersonate the curvature of the mouth using hot glue to position it. The nostrils are very simple, just use two tiny and thin pieces of felt, and place them where it looks best.
And there it is, you have made your Pokemon stocking. This is very fast, and very simple, and I think it turned out pretty good looking. This is the first time I make these, so I am not sure how durable they are. I expect not very durable, but then again, they are not supposed to withstand long use. Only once a year! I'm sure this technique can be used for other motives as well. Be creative!
Step 8: The Christmas Ornament Makover (pt 1)
This one is so straight forward that it's more like a handful of ideas than it is a tutorial to how to do it. The idea we had was to take some of the christmas ornaments we already had, and then create something unique out of it. We made three different styles.
Red ornament to Pokeball
Use masking tape to mask the top half of the red ornament, then paint the bottom half white. Remove the masking tape, and right on the edge between the red and the white, paint a black strip. Somewhere on that strip, make a black circle, with a white circle inside of it. Voila, that's a 3 minute pokeball for you!
Step 9: The Christmas Ornament Makeover (pt 2)
Chain of blue LED-lit ornaments to Legend of Zelda Navi(s).
Draw two pairs of wings on a piece of white cardstock paper. Cut out a double set of these two pairs, and glue the corresponding pieces together (for extra stiffness). Use hot glue to stick the wings to the ornaments. Repeat this for all the ornaments, and you have a sweet looking Navi chain.
Green ornament to Ninja Turtles
You can use some of the leftover felt from the previous tip to create bandanas for your green christmas ornaments. Stick on a pair of googly eyes, and you have yourself a christmas mutant ninja ornament! D
Step 10: The Snowflake Canvas Light (pt 1)
This one is a warming and quite unique decoration piece, that can be customized in many ways. If you didn't see it, we had a similar and more detailed Instructable with a star wars theme.
- A piece of canvas
- Some battery driven christmas lights
Time estimation: 40 minutes
Begin by folding some paper and cutting it out as snowflakes, preschool-style. If you don't remember how to do it, or you have never done it, check this video out.
Step 11: The Snowflake Canvas Light (pt 2)
On the backside of the canvas, trace a 1 cm wide border around the wooden frame. This is so that our lights will be concealed later.
Then use some double sided tape and stick your snowflake designs to the canvas. Use a regular pencil to trace around the snowflakes, so all the outlines of the snowflakes are transferred to the canvas. Then take a precision knife or a utility knife, and cut along the lines so the shape of the snowflakes are the only canvas left inside the border we drew before.
Step 12: The Snowflake Canvas Light (pt 3)
Take your battery powered lights, and stick them to the wooden frame on the inside of the canvas. Using hot glue to stick the wires in place, works fine. Then take some cardstock paper, and glue it to the backside of the frame, concealing everything and making a nice and white background when looking at it from the front. If you glue the battery box (the wires has to pass under the back paper to the outside) to the bottom when it´s standing, it will support the canvas so it can stand by itself. Also it's really easy accessible when you need to change the batteris, or turn it on.
Turn it on, and you have a great holiday decoration. I think this would work great with some cold white lights as well, or even blue!
Step 13: The DIY Christmas Cups (pt 1)
Sometimes you just have to live out the cliché, sit down in front of the fireplace with a nice cup of hot chocolate. What is better than to sit down with a cup that is self-designed? This also works great as a present.
- Stencil, stencil-cutter or steady hand
- Porcelain markers
- Access to an oven
Time estimation: 10-30 minutes
Step 14: The DIY Christmas Cups (pt 2)
Apply your stencil to the cup. An alternative to a sticker stencil, could be printing out the design on paper, and use double sided glue to put it on the cup. Free handing would also work, and for this design I think I would have managed fine, even though I am an abysmal drawer.
I am drawing 3 standard game health hearts, where the last one is only partly full. For the retro-game effect, I made sure that the outline was very square and jagged, so it looked almost pixelated. I then filled in the lines with red, making sure to leave a white spot on the left side to make it look like reflection.
Step 15: The DIY Christmas Cups (pt 3)
Remove the sticker stencil, and then put it in the oven. Let it bake 40 minutes (or whatever the instructions on the porcelain makers said). And there you have them, finished and very self made.
I think creating your own cups is really nice, because even though the markers are not very cheap, if you make several designs it's going to be worth the investment in a very short amount of time. Also, you can create personalized gifts, which I think is really cool.
That was 5 nerdy christmas tips for you, I hope it gave you some inspiration.
If you didn't want to read it all, catch the video on the top of the Instructable, or on our YouTube channel!
Until next time,