In this Instructable you'll find out how to make a fun Spinning Crazy Scientist Hat using the Strawbees construction toy which allows you to make things by joining together 6mm drinking straws. This project is designed as a getting started with Strawbees activity to get children used to making things with Strawbees using a variety of useful connection techniques.
Once they have made the hat, kids can wear it and give the crazy bit on top a spin. Then they'll be in character for some inventing of their own with more Strawbees and straws.
We made our hats using pieces from a Strawbees Crazy Scientist set plus some extra colourful and bendy straws but you only need a small number of Strawbees. If you don't have exactly the right connectors then you can improvise.
Strawbees are recommended for children from age 4 up, we've found that young children sometimes need a bit of help making some of the connections so an adult helper is useful.
Note that you need 6mm or 0.25 inch diameter straws to work with Strawbees. These can be difficult to get hold of in some places. To add some more color we used transparent straws with normal thin straws inside, this also has the advantage of strengthening the straws. You could also add thicker smoothy straws around the outside of a 6mm straw to add some color.
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Step 1: Gather Your Materials
You will need:
- 3 8" x 6mm (0.25") transparent straws
- 3 6mm thick straws in any color
- 3 thin colorful straws (bendy or straight)
- 5 8" x 6mm neon bendy straws
- 1 one-legged Strawbees
- 3 two-legged Strawbees
- 1 three-legged Strawbee
- 1 five-legged Strawbee
Step 2: Cut the Thin Straws
Take the three thin straws and cut them down to 6 inches long. If your thin straws are bendy then cur just before the bend. These are the straws you will thread inside the 6mm thicker transparent straws. (You can skip this step if you are using thick coloured straws.)
Step 3: Prepare the Hat Band
Take your three transparent straws. Insert a two-legged Strawbees into each one. Then push one of the thin straws you prepared into each of the Strawbees at the open end to add some color.
Step 4: Make the Band
The band of the Crazy Scientist Hat is a triangle. Make it by joining together the three transparent straws so that the leg that is sticking out of one goes into the open end of another.
Make sure that your Strawbees are all aligned. You want the Strawbee at the end of each straw to be at the same angle.
When you make the final join you will form a triangle. The Strawbees will flex, you can bend then a little to help the shape if you need to.
Put your triangular hat base to one side.
Step 5: Make the Tall Part of the Hat
The tall part of the hat is made from one three-legged Strawbee and three thick straws. Take your three-legged Strawbee and add a straw to each leg.
Step 6: Form the Hat
Take the triangular base of your hat and notice that the two-legged Strawbee at each corner has a hole in it. These holes are just the right size for threading a straw through.
Take your tall hat part and post one of its legs through each corner hole of the triangular base. You now have the basic hat structure. You can adjust the height of the hat to your liking.
Optionally you could add a single Strawbee connector to the open ends of the straws but we didn't find this necessary for the hat to hold its shape.
Step 7: Now for the Crazy Bit
Now take the 5 thick bendy straws and the five-legged Strawbee. Join the straws to the connector and shape them using the bendy bit. We put the bends towards the middle but you can play around here to create an effect you like.
Now bend up the legs of the five-legged Strawbee, it will hold its position so the straws are held up in the air.
Step 8: Add the to Connector
You can probably see where this is headed. But, don't be tempted to put the crazy part on yet. It's quite tricky to push a Strawbee connector through two others at once.
Just take the one-legged connector and push it down through the center of the five-legged Strawbee.
Step 9: Join It Together
Now you can push the same one-legged Strawbee through the top of the three-legged Strawbee on top of the hat.
Spin the top part a few time so it spins freely.
Step 10: Adjust the Hat
Now it's time to try the hat on. We found that it's a much better fit if you put a bend at the mid-point one one of the straws in the hat band. This bent straw then goes at the front.
Don't forget to give it a whirl!
Step 11: Go and Invent Something Cool
Okay, now you're in character as a Crazy Scientist. Grab some Strawbees and straws and invent something cool.