Miniature Desktop Zen Garden




Introduction: Miniature Desktop Zen Garden

This is a little project I wanted to do. I was inspired by the keyboard zen garden. Total build time was less than half an hour.

This is my first instructable and I welcome feedback! It's very easy to do with an old Saitek Command Pad (it's a programmable macro pad that came with my old keyboard). You can also just cut the numpad section off an old keyboard if you don't have an external pad.

I wanted to make a cubby section in the bottom of the pad, but I liked the way it looked without it. For the time being I'm not making a cubby, however, I included instructions if anyone wants to (it should be really simple).

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Step 1: Materials

First off, all you really need is:
- Safety Goggles
- Saitek Command Pad (or some kind of numpad attachment for a keyboard)
- Some kind of cutting tool (I used a hand-held rotary cutter)
- Adhesive (hot glue works well because it's quick)
- Phillip's head screwdriver
- Sand
- Wire cutters
- Electrical tape
- Clamps

Remember, safety first! It's not worth losing an eye to a piece of flying plastic. Also, if you're using power tools to cut, you'll probably want to wear a face mask.

Step 2: Take Apart the Pad

Take apart the command pad to remove the working parts, keep the shell for your desktop garden. Keep the numbered keys as your "Rocks" (or get actual rocks).

I'm still looking for something to do with the internal parts, so if I figure something out I'll post it here. Ideas are welcome.

Step 3: Get Cutting!

Put on your safety goggles and clamp down the section that needs to be cut (unless you feel confident free-handing it, but I wouldn't recommend that).

Cut out the area that used to hold the keys, that will be your sand pit. Make sure you seal up any holes (I had to seal the hole in the top where the cable used to come out).

Optional step: If you want to create a storage area for some of the stones or the rake you'll want to seal off the wrist rest area (so no sand seeps in) like I did. I was going to use a piece of cardboard, but it turns out the gap is so small a piece of electrical tape and a bit of glue sealed it perfectly.

Step 4: Make the Rake

Make the rake out of some of the removed parts. I decided to use the cable (I just cut a section out of the middle so I can splice the ends back together if necessary).

Once you've got a length of cable long enough for the rake (keep it under 10cm or about 4" if you want it to fit in the cubby), strip one end and bend the individual interior cable ends to create your rake. I wound the like-coloured wires together to make 5 points on the rake.

Step 5: Make the Cubby (Optional)

I haven't done this yet, but I intend to at a later date, right now I'm content with how it looks.

Make sure you're wearing your safety goggles! Cut a hole in the wrist rest for the pad (essentially leaving a very thin border), this will be the lid.

Make a hinge on the inside (electrical tape will work). You can sand down the edges to make it a little smoother, but this might make it so the lid doesn't fit properly. You can address this however you like.

Store your rake and extra rocks inside the cubby until you need them.

Note: If you're using the keys as rocks, you may need to cut off the little back piece in order to get them to fit into the cubby so that it can close.

Step 6: Add Sand and Rocks

Add your sand and as many "Rocks" as you like.

Start raking it and feel soothed.

When you're done, put the rake in the cubby (if you made it) with any extra rocks and leave it on your desk to impress.

Also, a variant of this would be to make a Zen Snack Garden. I got the idea when I couldn't find sand (sanitize, fill with sugar, add some chocolate covered raisins or peanuts... or whatever tasty snack you like!)

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