Like a fish out of water, make your own custom koinobori. Koinobori are windsocks or streamers that are attached to lines or poles and flutter in the wind. They are traditionally decorated with the image of a carp/koi fish.
Use modern techniques, materials and machinery to create your own special koinobori.
As a great rainy day or after dinner project, koinobori are easily decorated and constructed.
You can also add electronics for cool light effects.
Step 1: Deconstruct to Construct...
You can check out how an Instructables Robot themed koinobori is made:
For this project, the discount fabric store had "Chinese Silk" fabric, really some kind of lightweight thin tightly woven synthetic fiber fabric. It was shiny and inexpensive. You can go for a more durable ripstop real kite fabric if desired.
For mounting the koinobori, I used monofilament fishing line and a snap swivel to keep it from tangling up the lines as it spins in the air. Regular kite string would suffice too.
I am using an Adafruit Circuit Playground microcontroller board. It is a small compact arduino type board with built in sensors. To simulate the lightning flashes for Shai Hulud, the board senses vibration or movement and then flashes the onboard neopixel leds. It is running the sample twinkle program. For the Adafruit Circuit Playground Koinobori, it is running the sample demo tilt sensing program. Depending on which way the koinobori is tilted, a different color will light up to show the direction it turned or spun around to. You can even run the demo VU meter program to make it display the intensity of sound heard by its onboard microphone...yes, a babble-fish. Make it a tune-a-fish by playing tones through its onboard speaker, a koinobori wind-chime of some sorts.
Step 2: Gather It Up...
So what can we do to get that coarse crumply texture on the sandworm?
1. The body of the sandworm is composed of segments so we can do something with strips of fabric.
2. If we join the segments by just seaming the strips together we get a nice shadow line but we need more texture.
The trick is to gather or bunch up the fabric along the seam to get a more rumpled look. So from the box of bat-accessories for the bat-sewing machine, there is a special gathering sewing presser foot attachment. This special foot does a consistent gathering of the fabric as you sew. You still have to pull and tug a bit at the fabric to keep the sewn up parts from accumulating and jamming under the gathering foot.
Set the sewing machine for a plain straight stitch. Connect all of your strips together for a case of ringworm.
Maybe some outdoors outfitter outfit will make this into some kind of down-filled sleeping bag.
Step 3: Wrap It Up...
To make the three sectioned mouth, sew on a piece of pink fabric to represent the mouth lining.
A lot of sewing is done inside out meaning we stitch on the back or inside, turn or flip the sewn piece out and get the smooth finished or an invisible seam to show as the end product.
Place the mouth lining fabric on top of the finished side of the sandworm body.
Sew the scalloped sections of the mouth leaving the back part free.
Turn the "pockets" inside out.
You can now sew the body of the sandworm which is essentially a long tube.
Fold it so the outside is inside. I used a serger to do this seam as the serger will trim away excess material and bind the edge along the seam as it goes. Leave both ends open.
Turn the tube inside out. You should now have the sandworm completed.
Step 4: Give It Some Teeth...
So far it's looking pretty gnarly, like it should.
Use some 3D fabric paint to draw on the zillions of crysteeth.
After the paint is dry, we can install the tether lines to the koinobori.
I installed small metal grommets in each of the mouth sections because I had one of those grommet installation kits with the grommet installation pliers handy. They deform the grommet a bit but the same effort is expended as using a hammer and anvil grommet installation kit. Use the pointy end of a seam ripper tool to start a hole for the grommet. Push the fabric fibers around the grommet as you try to minimize cut threads in the material. Get the tool placed on the grommet and squeeze to set the grommet.
There happen to be 3 evenly spaced apart pads/holes on the Circuit Playground circuit board for GROUND. Pass the lines through these holes so that the circuit board is suspended evenly when the lines are pulled taut. Tie it all off to a snap swivel for attachment to the flagpole.
A small LiPo battery could be attached to the back of the Circuit Playground so the entire unit can float in the air.
With some initial wind tunnel testing in front of a fan, I found that you need a high wind to inflate the sandworm fully. I tried to shred the mouth lining ends to reduce air resistance and cut away some excess fabric that seemed to be blocking the airflow through the body. I then used a few nylon tie-wraps to form a ring to place in the mouth to prop open the mouth segments so it would catch the air easier.
And that's all there is to that.
Someone should make a whole bunch of light up sandworm koinobori to fly on the playa at Burning Man.
Step 5: Adafruit Circuit Playground Koinobori
This koinobori is simply constructed and is less complicated to make.
The traditional Japanese way of decorating the koinobori is to use ink and brush and maybe a carved woodblock stamp too. I had some permanent markers to use instead. For all the textile artists out there, I'm sure there are many more ways to get a design on to the fabric, from CAD computer design, 3D printed stamps, batik dye, etc...
So this was all going to be done freehand.
Cut a piece of fabric slightly larger than the finished koinobori. You have to allow for the seams to be sewn. You should have two layers or the fabric doubled over.
Cut a piece of cardboard to fit in between the layers to prevent any markings from getting on the other piece of fabric because the marker or ink bleeds right through the thin fabric. I taped the fabric at several places to the cardboard so it would not shift making it easier to draw on.
Start with sketching the outline of the fish.
Start blocking in the eye, gills, body scales and tail fin.
Fill in all the details.
You can use color but this monochromatic black and white design would do well as it ties into the traditional etiquette/heirarchy of displaying koinobori which signifies it as the main or big fish in the family.
I only decorated one side of the koinobori. You can decorate both sides. I'll pass it off as one of those radioactive flat fishes with both eyes on one side.
You can trim away some of the excess material that is not part of the fish. Use those bits to make the fins for additional decoration.
Now take it to the sewing machine. Place the drawn sides face to face. Line up the sides and seam the upper and lower edges of the fish. You want to sew this inside out so that you will have a finished seam when you flip the sewn tube back out. Leave the front and tail end open.
Take some nylon tie-wraps to form a loop. Adjust to fill in to the size of the front opening. You can enclose it with the lip of the fabric and sew that into the front opening. The semi-rigid hoop keeps the front open for the wind to inflate the koinobori. You can also hem the back edges of the tail end so that it doesn't fray after a lot of use.
You can then attach the hanger string to the front hoop. I installed 3 small metal grommets equally spaced around the front hoop for more durable attachment points.
Attach your kite string, cord, or monofilament fishing line to the koinobori.
Feed your 3 lines through the Adafruit Circuit Playground to mount the circuit board. The 3 GROUND pads/holes make it easy to see where to pass the line through so that the board is suspended evenly.
Tie the strands off into one snap swivel for quick attachment to your flagpole or main line.
Attach the wires for the power source and enjoy!