This 'ible will take you through the creation of an easy, surprisingly entertaining magnetic toy.
The Back Story
Kaiden will be turning 4 this month and he knew now was the time to decide on his party theme. He knew that big brother's December Skylander's party was awesome and he didn't want to settle for anything less. Yu-Gi-Oh, Poke'mon, Plants VS Zombies, Ben 10, all were tempting options; but there is just nothing better than Skylander's. With no further debate and despite the efforts of his Mother and Aunt to change his mind, he chose Skylander's like his brother, but not just Skylander's, Skylander's Swap Force!
Mom jumped in right away with research. She took notes on all the Swap Force characters: their powers and back story. After the initial information gathering was complete, it was time to begin designing the games. There would be a game for each of the 8 elements as we did before. The characters were chosen, game ideas were formed and the party was beginning to take shape. Some of the games need no preparation, others need a lot, and some things needed to change from the way it was done at big brother's party. For Zander's Adventure, the guests wore passports around their necks and got each element hole punched upon restoration after completing a game. This time, we want something less cumbersome, and thus stumbled upon the idea to incorporate the gathering of the elements into the final game. Magna Charge is a Skylander with magnetic powers and most 4 years olds are fascinated by magnets; therefore, a magnet game is the solution. At each game or station, the young portal masters will collect an element magnet token to be used in the creation of the magnet game at the end.
Step 1: Chapter 2: Supplies
This endeavor will need quite a bit of equipment. To prepare for this task, you must gather:
craft sticks (100 for $1 at dollar tree)
Small sheets of foam paper (32 for $1 at dollar tree)
plastic card protectors (35 for $3 at walmart)
green neon spray paint ($5 at walmart)
pack of mini brads (100 for $3 at hobby lobby)
sticky back velcro
hot glue gun and sticks
elmer's glue stick
printer and computer
magnets (snake eggs pack of 2 for $1 at dollar tree)
Step 2: Chapter 3
The Chaos Ensues
To mark the start of this journey, set up a work station with all your supplies handy. You should also add to your station some form of entertainment like music or and audiobook of greatness, a beverage, and a snack for this may take a while.
Settle in to your work station and begin by sorting the craft sticks into piles of 16. This can be done randomly or orderly by color, your chaos, your choice. It is nice to have rubber bands handy to gather each group together neatly to sit aside until all groups have been made. Gather the extras for use later.
Prepare your glue gun for battle. When it is warmed up to the task, forge ahead. Divide one group of 16 into 4 groups of 4, a nice nuclear family size if you will. Squeeze out a line of glue along one stick and stack a second stick on top in a neat alignment. Repeat until all 4 sticks are stuck in a stack, Then do the same to the other 3 groups. Gather all 4 stacks of 4 and band them together for later. Continue down this path until all your groups are completed as so.
Step 3: Chapter 4
The Window to Fun
Summon your fleet of foam paper and a solitary card protector. Place the card protector centered on a sheet of foam paper and trace its outline with a pen. Repeat the outlining on all sheets you will need ( 1 sheet for each group of sticks). Then banish the card protector until later.
Lay out a scrap of cardboard to use a cutting board. Lay atop it a sheet of foam paper. Brandish your Xacto and carefully cut out a rectangular shape within the outline. Do not cut on the outline, cut a few cm away from the line to leave a boarder. Cut out the window the same way on all sheets.
Now place one sheet of foam in front of you atop the cardboard and summon one card protector for duty. Carefully squeeze a line of hot glue along the boarder of the hole. Try not to get any glue webs across the opening, they don't look good. Then masterfully, with precision, guide the protector into place atop the glue within the outline and press firmly.
Continue with the mating process until all windows have been made.
Step 4: Chapter 5
Collect several sheets of stiff cardboard and pull out one of the extra foam sheets. Use the pen to trace the outline of the foam onto the cardboard as many times as toys you are making.
Use exacto knife to cut out each one
Take your small army outside and lay them out on yet another piece of cardboard and give them a good coat of green spray paint. Let that coat dry and follow up with a second coat.
Step 5: Chapter 6
Once your army has dried, relocate them to your workstation. Place one on your cardboard green side down. Use your ruler to trace out a rectangle centered from top to bottom but slightly to the right that measures 4" by 2". Then use the Xacto knife to carefully cut on the top, bottom, and left lines. This will make a door that can open and shut.
Now grab an extra craft stick and run a line of hot glue from one end to about 3/4s the length. Align it with the door so the 1/4 of the stick without glue protudes off the left side of the door and press firmly into place.
Cut a sliver of velcro that will fit the protruding end of the stick. The 2 velcro sides should already be stuck together so the sticky backs are facing outward. Peel off the backing of both sides and stick it to the underside of the stick, then press the door down into place which will stick the other side of the velcro to the cardboard. This creates an easy way to open and close the door.
Repeat this with each of the backings.
Step 6: Chapter 7
Now it is time to decorate the wall. Attached is the design I used for my decor. This is Kaiden's Party so the Skylander's logo has been redesigned as such. Shrunk to the size of your average business card and arranged several to a sheet, these were printed and painstakingly cut out. The photoshop files are also attached so you can play with them. Whatever design you use, make sure it will fit in a 2" by 4" area, print it out, and cut it out.
Coat the back of the design in elmer's glue and stick it centered on the door on the green side.
Step 7: Chapter 8
The Walls Go Up
Its time to reconnect with those craft sticks from so long ago. Select one group of sticks and one window foam sheet. Place the window foam sheet face down, so the outlined side is facing you.
Take one stack of sticks and run a line of hot glue down one side. Stick it to the foam centered along one of the long sides of the window. There should be just enough foam around the edge to support the sticks. Do the same to the other long side of the window.
Run a line of hot glue from one end of the foam to the other just beside the ends of the previously glued sticks to add another wall. Repeat with the final wall. There should now be a rectangle of walls.
There is a little space between the joints of the walls, so squirt a bit of hot glue at each joint to make it stronger.
Now squeeze a line of glue along all four walls and grab a backing door piece. Hold the door piece above the walls with the green side facing down and carefully press it into place atop the walls as centered as you can. Press firmly to get a get good hold.
Turn it over and admire your casing for your toy
Upon finishing your admiration, groan and do the same with all the other toys.
Step 8: Chapter 9
Attached, can be found a sheet of dizzying disarray. This sheet has 9 sets of 8 elements. Print as many sheets as you will need for your toys: 1 sheet = 9 toys, 2 sheets = 18 toys and so on.
Painstakingly cut out each and every circle... I know.... ugh.....
Once the hand cramps have eased, its time to make them magnetic.
Here is where the brads come in. These little things are pretty magnetic. All we need to do it insert one into the center of each circle and spread out the tines on the back. Now is a great time to call for reinforcements if you haven't already.
Once all the brads are attached, you are finished!
Step 9: Chapter 10
Once all the elements have earned, the young portal masters can collect their toy casing, open the door, and deposit the elements for safe keeping. Then the magnet of power shall be bestowed upon each hero for endless fun.
Stay tuned for the entire Skylander's Swap Force Party 'Ible coming soon.