Intro: How to Make Your Very Own Psychedelic USB Creature
So you woke up today bored.
Really, really bored.
Then the day went by, and not much changed.
Don't worry, it happens to us all the time. Most days actually.
Then you saw this weird looking creature online, or maybe you remembered it from a party, or some kind of quality flashback from the late 90s.
Either way, the mediocrity of reality has made you at least slightly interested in how this thing is made.
Maybe you will be inspired by something we have done during it's creation and can use it to escape from your own tedious reality.
Maybe you would like to make one of your own, increasing our army of two to a force previously unknown on planet earth.
Maybe you're looking for a way to pimp out your bike with UV lights but you got lost.
Anyhow, welcome to How to make your very own Psychedelic USB Creature.
Step 1: Ingredient One - the Fur
The first thing you are probably thinking, is where did they get that sexy fur?
No doubt there are similar fabric superstores everywhere other than Australia.
It was $23AUD per metre(1.2m width.) Each creature required 1.5m.
This fur looks incredible under UV light.
Step 2: Ingredients Two - the Screen for the Face, and Cables
Next up comes the screen for the face. In future versions we plan to do bigger ones, including some with projectors inside, however for this one we went with something small and simple.
It turned out to work well, as many people simply asked 'how did you get the eye in the head?' - with the small (7") screen throwing them a little.
We used the Lilliput Mini USB Monitor 7" from Thinkgeek which is a very nifty little device. Combined with a couple of USB extension cables(they are self powered and require two usb leads to be plugged in) these were relatively cheap (we ended up paying $150AUD each including delivery) and very effective.
Step 3: Ingredient Three - Welders Helmet
We used this to create the head shape.
We learnt that welders helmets are usually costed according to the lenses - so you can usually still get some pretty cool looking ones for a decent price, just make sure you are not paying for some fancy piece of glass you don't need anyway.
We paid $27 AUD for these ones at Mitre 10, a hardware store here in Australia.
In terms of labour saved, they were an absolute bargain.
Step 4: Ingredients Four - Football and Foam for Shape
We used an old footy(ripped up) for our jaw and some acoustic type foam for the back of the head(just stuff that was laying about).
Step 5: Ingredients Five - Paper Mache - Flour and Water
We created the shape using paper mache, google it if you need more information, it's basically flour and water to get a gluey consistancy, dip your paper(we used a phone book) and whack it on, use a paintbrush to smooth it all out if need be.
Step 6: Ingredients Six - Cable Ties, Glue, Varnish, Turkey, Rid
We used cable ties to attach the helmet to the body before applying more mache.
We used glue to stick the fur on and also to strengthen as we went.
We used a lacquer for protection before applying the fur.
We used turkey for inspiration and continuation.
We used Rid to kill bastard mozzies whilst working outdoors and late.
Step 7: Ingredient Seven - One Blow Up (mini) Sex Sheep
Seriously. If you are not willing to buy one of these, stop now.
It's absolutely essential.
Step 8: Step One - Buy the Sex Sheep
Don't be all 'well I could just use a pinata for that.'
No you can't. That would just be wrong.
It's nowhere near as much fun as rocking up and buying a sex sheep.
And the only thing more fun than rocking up and buying a sex sheep, is rocking up AGAIN 30 minutes later (and a little bit more drunk), after you have realised they are ideal for your purposes, and telling the guy behind the counter that it is freaking great and you would like another one.
This cost $30 AUD. It was worth it for the extra strength rubber it was made of, it was much more durable than balloons or your average blow up children's toy.
Then you take it home, and blow it up.
We condemn all who skip this vital step.
Step 9: Step Two - Mache It
Paper mache it.
We used Wild Turkey cans for the feet just because we happened to have a few empties laying about. You can use a can opener to take the tops off and gaffa them on.
We used lots of plaster re-enforcement type tape in between layers to add strength, particularly between the legs and body.
This took ages. Total mache time around 30 hours per creature.
Total time from beginning to end, 40 hours plus per creature.
Step 10: Step Three - Discard the Corpse
Using scissors or a knife pop and remove the blow up sheep.
Do not leave the corpse where it could be discovered by minors.
Step 11: Step Four - Give It a Head
We attached the helmet(after removing all the extra stuff from the helmet) using cable ties and screws.
We then padded out the back using the acoustic foam and tape, and created a mouth using one quarter of a football.
We then continued to mache.
Step 12: Step Five - Add the Monitor/face
Okay so we didn't take many useful pics of this one, but basically we created a box (measured to fit the monitors) which we mached onto the front of the helmets.
The boxes have a hole in the back through which we could pass the usb cable.
We used a golf tee poking through a small hole in the side to assist us when removing the screen, with the fur on it's very snug.
You can't see in these pics but the screen slides out the right hand side.
Step 13: Step Six - Give Them Some Skin
The skin took some preparation and care, and still could have been better.
Firstly cut some stencils using newspaper.
Using these cut out 2 inch larger shapes from your fabric, being sure to get the pattern the right way.
We used seperate parts for the head, body, and each of the legs.
Practice placing your fur on the body before spraying glue, noting where you are going to make neat and hidden folds.
Spray your body part.
Place the fur on.
Cut along the folds. If you have done it right you should be able to cut fairly clean seams.
Measure once and cut twice. Or something like that.
Step 14: Step Seven - This Is It
So after leading two usb leads out of the sheep's butt, this is it.
One psychedelic usb creature.
Ready for orders.
Step 15: Step Eight - Plug It In
Now it's time to plug those screens into a laptop.
We had two creatures, and could either plug them into separate pcs or the same one. For this test we used the same one.
We used VLC media player, playing at an aspect ratio which filled the screen.
We used a short animated clip of an eye which we color adjusted to make it suit our more psychedelic colors. The 2nd and 3rd pics here show it before adjustment.
Step 16: Step Nine - the Final Test - Tribeadelic NYE
We took it to a festival.
People enjoyed it.
Some asked how we made it.
Some wanted to buy one.
Hopefully they are reading this, and can make something even better.
We hope to see more USB powered decor in the future.
The first picture below features a guy in a police shirt and fairy wings. If that's not awesome we are not sure what is. He should do an instructable too.
Tribeadelic really does create a set like no other for any type of decor.
The second pic features a passed out member of the Journeymen, which is an interesting story in itself.
The final two pics are at night and under UV light, when the psychedelic USB creature is at it's best.
Here is that video once again.
Thanks for reading.
Please feel free to post any queries or comments.