As a new parent, I'm still just muddling through and finding what works and what doesn't. My son, as wonderful as he is, was reluctant to have baths, but we've thought up ways to make bath-times as fun as any other playtime...
...so I thought to bring a well-known building block to our bathroom - but make it go vertical!
I thought this was a fun 'multi-disciplinary' use of taking a building block that is usually ground-level, and dry, and taking it to be used with water, and going up and off the wall.
It also added a cool opportunity to make all sorts of 'trap doors' to allow the characters to fall into the water (as any parent know's kids like a bit of jeopardy and peril!)..
Disclosure: I used to work at LEGO, so for the record this is not an endorsement, and nor is it associated with the company in any way. Other bricks are available. I would also advise not using the 'enclosed' bricks, that are impossible to clean, but most can be washed with warm soapy water and an old toothbrush I have found... Do so at your own risk. More info here LINK.
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Step 1: Materials
I used a 8x8 stud Duplo base plate, but any will do.
(I happen to think the Pizza Restaraunt is a great set to set started, in case interested). (LINK).
I also got some suction cups (30mm diameter), but pay close attention that you want ones with a thin 'neck' and then a wider 'grip', as shown - as this allows the glue to 'lock' the suction cup in place.
I also used a 2-part epoxy glue, such as this (LINK), but any thick glue that sticks to ABS will work. Indeed, it's unlikely that any glue will stick the the suction cup, so it's really about the glue 'locking' the suction cup around the 'neck' in place.
Some scrap paper and a stick to mix was handy also.
Step 2: Mixing the Glue
I used 90 second epoxy, so it's fair to say you have to be confident with this, or it will set too fast!
I'd recommend using a 3 or 5 min (or longer) setting epoxy, as this gives you time to get the suction cups in place.
Pro tips: Glue should be at warm room temp. Mix thoroughly (really for like 30 seconds).
Step 3: Load the Suction Cups
Have the suction cups fit snugly into the holes on the back of the base plate. If the are tight, cut them down with a sharp craft knife, or a pair of scissors.
Step 4: Pro Tip: De-Gassing
If your suction cup back is a tight fit to the hole in the base plate, you risk that the glue may not flow behind it, or that the air pressure may force it out after you pushed it in place!
To avoid these two issues, I suggest:
a. applying the glue around the 'neck' of the suction cup, so it is liberally coated.
b. using a pin or cocktail stick to allow any gas to escape from behind the cup as you insert it.
Step 5: Leave to Set
Many 'quick set' epoxy glues claim '3 or 5 mins', but be aware this is 'set' and is not meaning it's 100% reached its full strength. It's better to leave it overnight or even a full 24 hours to be sure, ideally in a warm place, with some wight on top of it (e.g. a hardback book).
Tip: You can of course place i anywhere, but I pressed mine on a sheet of glass to see how well it inserted with the glue. You can do the same, but take care that the glass is strong enough, to avoid breakages and cuts.
Step 6: Mission Impossible - Accomplished!
Now you're ready to stick the base-plates to the tiles. For best results give the tiles a clean of any grime or mildew, and you can even stick it with warm, slightly soapy water for best results.
To remove, use a blunt tool like a spoon handle, or lollypop stick to break the seal on the suction cup from behind the plate. I've cleaned mine about every 3 months or so, and it's not too grotty, I was surprised to see!
Step 7: Trap Doors and Shark Infested Waters!
Have fun creating all manner of games for your heros/heroines to overcome, after a long day. So far they seem to be great fun, and even the very art of looking sideways at something has given us now ideas for play with this arrangement.
Games to date:
- Trap Doors and Catapults.
- Rock Climbing.
- Secret 'Cloud Base'
- Shark Infested Waters.
Have fun and do post any that work well for your kids!
And do please vote if you like it =D
Step 8: Origin Story: Walking With Bricks
I'd actually 'tested' the concept of vertical building previously, by screwing a building plat to the side of his cot, to help encourage him to stand and start walking.