Jardín Portátil / Portable Garden

About: I'm an Electronic Engineer and I have build some small robots and microcontroller based systems. I started with 14 years old controlling an arm with the parallel port of a Spectrum. I studied microprocessor...

This is a typical craftwork project to do at home with your kids or in the classroom with cheap materials, but the result is very compelling.

For the basic garden you need at least:

1 eggs box for 6 or 12 eggs.

Colour paper. It can be mate or brilliant. Different types is better to give more variety between flowers.

Hot glue.

Painting colours, at least one which will be the main color for the box. In this case it is green. But other colours and variations are also interesting...

For the advanced garden with at least one firefly:

1 x red LED

2 x green LEDs

You can use these: http://amzn.to/1oYFboO

1 x 3 V battery


2 x AA 1.5 batteries

Rigid electrical cable, small section, different colours for better electrical circuit building.

Electrical tape

1 x small piece of metal

1 x small spring from a pen

Step 1: Step 1: Paing the Eggs Box

You have to paint the eggs box to give more feeling of portable garden.

Green was my daughter first selection. It's a typical colour for it, but other colours and variations are possible.

Be sure you cover everything with the colour when painting. Maybe you have to paint it twice to have a nice finish.

Don't use too much paint every time as the eggs box material absorb a lot, make itself too soft and can be finally destroyed. So don't hurry up in this step.

Tip: working in team other people can start making the flowers.

Step 2: Step 2: Prepare a Background

A proper background will give the extra touch to your garden. They are like the background flowers behind the main ones.

Some colour papers cutted very small can do the effect.

Through them across the whole base inside the box. Don't cover it too much, otherwise sticking later the flowers can be tricky.

Tip: through the little papers while the paint is wet, so they will stick naturally.

Step 3: Step 3: Prepare the Paper Flowers

Now we are in the main step: making the paper flowers.

We can use many kind of flowers, but they have to be both small and resistant.

So selecting them is a bit tricky. Take your time while browsing to get ideas. I use usually Pinterest looking for paper flowers. Then I make smaller versions and see how they fit into a little hole in the box.

To fix the flowers to the box I used glitter wires (see attached picture).

  1. Make a spring with a glitter wire surrounding a pen, to achieve a length of the spring that is around 3 - 4 cm, enough to hold the flower but not to tall to make it difficult to close the box and spoil the flowers.
  2. fix with hot glue the spring to the base of the flower, also to the bottom of one internal hole of the box.

Tip: some flowers will need the use of a screw to hold all the petals, like the pink in the picture. Others can be done with paper glue or hot glue. The art here is to stick the petals but not showing the glue to get a real flower effect ;-)

Step 4: Step 4: Adding Complements

To finish this main part, you can add some "lianas" (creepers) to the garden, so it looks busier. You can add also a background green small paper so it covers the holes of the box cover. On that way people can't see what is inside the box until you open it: more surprise!

  1. Make a small paper accordion at least 12 cm long.
  2. Cut the accordion in thin strips
  3. and stick the strips randomly inside the box from the bottom to the top of it.
  4. at the internal side of the cover you can stick a piece of paper accordion.

Tip: don't put too many lianas otherwise you can make difficult to enjoy the flowers.

Step 5: Step 5: Add a Firefly

The firefly gives light and a bug that attracts attention while enjoying the whole garden.

It's not a compulsory step but it gives an extra point to the garden.

To make the firefly:

  1. get 8 x 10 cm different colour wires and pell out a cm of cable in each of its extremes. Tip: use 4 black wires, as they will identify the negative terminal for the LEDs and battery.
  2. wind the nude extreme of a wire to each terminal of the LED, starting at the very base of the LED. Black wire for the shorter terminal, as it is the negative one. Tip: cut the terminals of the LEDs to have only 5 mm of terminal.
  3. now make a small spring for the red LED with its wires as you see in the picture. That will be its belly.
  4. get the two green (or other colour) LEDs as close as possible and wind themselves together. Cover it with a small piece of paper. It will be its head.
  5. Make the shape of the firefly with the three LEDs, and wind together the three pairs of wires.
  6. Now connect the three pairs of cables in parallel, all black wires together so all LEDs get the same polarity. To check it use the battery for testing the LEDs. If all three LEDS get ON, you have it! ;-)
  7. Now you have the nude body of the firefly.
  8. Cut a small piece of paper like you see the yellow one in the picture. That will be the firefly's wings. Stick it with hot glue to the body of the firefly.
  9. also stick well with tape the nude extreme a wire to each terminal of the battery, black wire for the negative terminal (identified with a minus "-"). Be sure the pealed extreme of the wire touches always the terminal of the battery for a good conductivity.
  10. stick the battery to the bottom side inside the box, better covered by a blower. You can put at the top of the battery a piece of green paper so nobody can see the battery.

To make the firefly works you need a switch. I made a "hidden" switch covered by a green paper at the rear part of the box, so when you show the box and hold it, you can also press the hidden switch and make the firefly glow!

Make the switch as follows:

  1. stick with hot glue a small piece of wire to a little piece of flat metal. you will press that piece to turn the firefly on.
  2. stick with hot glue the wire to the box at the rear side as seen in the pictures. Leave a bit of wire clean as you will need it as part of the circuit.
  3. stick another piece of wire to the box, behind the little flat metal piece mentioned above. That will be the other side of the closing circuit.
  4. stick a short piece of pen spring with hot glue to the box and the flat metal piece, so it makes go back to the non contact position, as shown in the pictures. This is a tricky part, so do it patiently.

Closing the circuit:

  1. Connect the three LEDs black wires to the battery's black wire.
  2. Connect the other terminal from the battery to one side of the switch.
  3. Connect the other three wires of the LEDs to the other side of the switch.
  4. Try to close the switch and check the LEDs glow. If not, check the circuit. Usually you have to adjust the switch until it connects fine.

Cover the switch with enough paper so nobody can see it. You have finish it. Enjoy!



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