Intro: USB Drive Heart
The USB Drive Heart is exactly what it sounds like. My original idea was to recreate a conversation heart, but as usual my execution turns out something different than I had planned. The design details are not set in stone (rather plaster), so this project can be modified for different styles of hears or anything for that matter.
As for what you put in your USB drive, that is up to you. For me, it is a gift for my girlfriend, so I compiled all of our photos together (we are into photography). You could put music for a MP3 "mix tape" or maybe a series of photos to simulate a treasure hunt. The idea is to be creative.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
Here are the materials:
-USB drive of any size
-plaster of paris
-card stock paper
Step 2: Make the Mold
I do not profess to be a master of plaster, so let me get that out there first. I made my heart-shaped mold out of a manila folder and masking tape. I am not going to go through the whole process because it is pretty simple and can be done a couple different ways. I cut out a strip of the folder and taped it up in the shape of a heart on the rest of the folder. Don't forget to cut a hole for the USB drive.
If I changed anything, I wouldn't have used paper as a mold, but the paper mold did work well enough and took no-time to build.
Step 3: Mix and Pour
My method of mixing the plaster involved pouring some water into an old cup and hand scoop the plaster until it "looks good." You could measure out a 2:1 plaster to water ratio, but that would take out some of the fun.
After the plaster looks good, add the food coloring. You can skip this step if you are going to paint the heart instead. I like the food coloring because you can keep the texture of the plaster, which reminds me of a conversation heart.
Pour the mold. Remember to tape the USB drive up or the circuit will short ; that is very important. The plaster dries darker than it is when it is wet.
Step 4: Finishing Touches
This is probably the most time consuming step. Take the heart out of the mold and get ready to sand away. Depending on how perfect you want to make it look and what types of abrasion tools you own, you will have a variable amount of time before the heart is done. I had some missed spots that I filled with instant spackling, but that isn't necessary if you are careful in the previous step. The food coloring probably won't be evenly distributed, which gives it a nice tonal effect. You could mix the plaster more to get the food coloring better integrated, but that is up to your personal taste.
After the heart looks like you want it, load it up with the data you want (you could have done this before if you wanted). Wrap it up and give it to someone who deserves your heart. I recommend combining this with a dozen duct tape roses. Enjoy!