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30 days of instructables (for real, this time!) Answered

Today I am beginning my "30 days of instructables" project, in which I will work on at least one instructables project every day for the next thirty days. No, really, this time I mean it! Last month I realized that such an undertaking would require a little more forethought than I had given it. For one thing, it was essential to identify good candidates in advance, partly because I could easily spend half of my day choosing "today's target" from the literally thousands of choices here, partly because many of the projects I'm interested in require supplies and equipment that I do not yet have, and partly because my wife and I have more-than-fulltime jobs and two activity-prone kids that leave little time for anything else. I've tackled a number of instructables projects, but for this month's challenge I'm only doing projects that I haven't done before. Sadly, I don't think I have the time to complete an instructable a day (unless I limit myself to pretty simple ones), though that's what I'm aiming for. At the least, I will work on a project every day (I know, pretty weasily, but see above comments about scarcity of time).

The projects I currently have in mind are some combination of fun, useful, and challenging (okay, not all of them are likely to be too challenging, but then again, I often overestimate my competence!). For today's inaugural project I was going to do something in the realm of photography, but then we got invited to dinner at friends, so I switched over to try Nanaimo Bars. Easy, right? (Er, what was that about competence overestimation?)


Yowza! Unexpectedly difficult time with the Pantone clock, which I worked on every day this past week except Monday, when I made Chocolate Chip Bacon Cookies instead! (Hint on those: if you're trying to keep the secret ingredient secret, so you prepare the bacon the previous day and serve all but six slices to your family to throw them off the scent, you'd better hide those six slices so that they will survive through the night for cookie use!).

Anyways, every aspect of the Pantone clock had to be customized; the samples were the wrong kind (twice as wide as needed) and had to be thinned and corner-rounded; I had to custom make a Pantone logo to mount on the second hand, since these chips didn't come with anything remotely suitable; the minute and hour hands had to be custom-made (needed something longer than could find here), and all hands had to be tweaked so that they weren't too heavy for the wimpy clock mechanism! But looks good, my wife was surprised and pleased. And the cookies were delicious!

Okay, weekly update time! Tuesday I used Hoopajoo's microwave deodorant melting trick to transfer my homemade deodorant (thanks, scoochmaroo!) from its PVC pipe housing (don't ask) to a Dove stick. Aren't you glad you checked in? On Wednesday I made a refillable Brita filter. I've been wanting to try this for ages. Pretty straightforward, except that I've yet to find a polyethylene plug and am just using a cork in the meantime. On Thursday and Friday I worked on my first-ever sewing machine project (wife out of town, what could go wrong?), a Dual-Handle Weight Bag. However, I got stumped by the prospect of sewing a zipper onto a ball, so I had to shift gears on Saturday and Sunday to a gift for my graphic designer wife, a Pantone clock. Alas, inexperience cost me again. Figuring she'd kill me if I used her Pantone guide, I bought one on eBay, but it turned out to have these tear-away chips that make each card twice as wide as needed with inappropriate perforations all over the place. Although I was able to work around it, I'm noticing that instructables projects, like everything else, don't always go as smoothly as planned, but persistence pays. E.g., tonight (Monday) I FINALLY got the missing component so I could finish the Creepy Eye-following picture that I started almost two weeks ago. It's quite an effective illusion (though I suspect that matte images will be less distracting than semi-gloss).


Today was a Kid's Choice instructables project day, and my son wanted to try the Sweet Potato Coconut soup. I had to order some creamed coconut from Amazon, as I'd never heard of this before and it's not carried in our area. The Amazon reviews were a bit unnerving, as many loved the creamed coconut but several thought it tasted like soap! I was hoping that they were just expecting coconut cream or that it was not meant to be eaten by the spoonful (e.g., as valuable as Thai fish sauce is, it's pretty unpalatable straight!). Anyways, kid instincts were spot on here, creamed coconut, and this soup, were excellent.
I'm having trouble securing the creepy eye pic flat enough to the frame with a corrugated cardboard backing. I think I need to try adhesive-backed foam core.
Finally, I'm thinking daily updates may be a bit overkill here. Would my credibility be compromised with, say weekly updates?

Tonight I finished the Creepy Eye Following picture project, only to decide that 4 layers in between images was just too much, so I pulled out two and am regluing. Will post picture tomorrow. I suspect glossy photo paper is also not the best for the illusion, as the reflections get in the way a bit. So far, so good! Ever since I came across instructables i've been interested in Arduinos, but they are very far out of my comfort zone. I'd be interested in anyone's ideas for a good beginner (but still useful?) Arduino project; I can't really gauge the levels of difficulty on these.

Finished the dragon egg today just in time for my daughter's birthday party (see picture in Gorgeous dragon egg comments. She had pretty much the same reaction as BrittLiv: "That's not a dragon egg!" Common misperception. In most species of dragons, newly laid eggs have a structure not unlike a coconut: a thick, rough husk surrounding a smoother, very hard shell that contains the developing dragon. The nutritive husk gets shed shortly after the egg is laid, which is why most people tend to equate dragon's eggs with the smooth inner shell.

Okay, I could use a little advice here. Tomorrow is my currently-dragon-crazy daughter's tenth birthday, and I decided to give her a dragon's egg to mark the occasion. The original instructables, really outstanding, used chicken's eggs, hot glue, and spray paint. I wanted something bigger, but the only thing I could find on short notice today was a 6" styrofoam egg. I coated this with acrylic modeling paste just to seal, protect, and obscure the styrofoam, but realized I could give the egg some serious dragony texture (see pic). It looks pretty cool. However, now I'm not sure the hot glue veins, which are so impressive in the originals, make sense artistically or perhaps even logistically. I was going to spray the top half hunter green, grading into burgundy below, but I'm thinking it would be could to have the raised spines be one color and the "valleys" between them the other. Any ideas how that might be done? Spray paint art is a new venue for me!

Thanks in advance for any advice!




Hi, don't get me wrong, I really like your structure, but I always envisioned dragon eggs as something very smooth, maybe with scales. Styrofoam and hot glue doesn’t seem like a good idea to me and I would definitely test it, before you destroy your work. As for the paint job, I would do the basic coat as you suggested and emphasise the structure with a paint brush. Good luck, looking forward to the finished design.

Today, I printed two copies of the creepy eye photos pictures (still need to get a glass-free frame before I can complete that project), and finished making a 100g batch of peppermint Altoids (I wonder how long my hands will reek of peppermint oil?). Got a batch of molecular cooking goodies today, so I'm hoping to expand my horizon in that direction soon!

Ooh, molecular cooking experiments! I definitely want to hear how those go.
Have done a few myself, but mostly stuck to the Alinea cookbook.

This is the kind of day that puts the "challenge" in "30 days instructables challenge." After an intense day at work, to be greeted by my wife walking out the door ("Sorry, I forgot it's ladies night out"), I got a late start on scoochmaroo's Homemade Altoids. I started a step earlier than she did, as I bought gum paste powder that had to be mixed, kneaded, and is now setting, so I think I'll have to finish these guys tomorrow. My son noticed that gum paste is essentially pure powdered sugar with some minute amount of sodium alginate, which is included in a molecular cooking experimental kit I recently ordered. Might be an instructable in there!

Goodhart, your comment is well taken. It looks like Mondays and Tuesdays are going to be difficult for me, thanks to my teaching schedule and the kids' after-school activity schedule. So today I only started a Creepy eye-following picture project by photographing my daughter, and then indulged my curiosity by making a pitcher of DIY Gatorade, er excuse me, Sports Drink (something I started drinking to wean me off of Cokes!). Weirdly colored, won't know if it's drinkable until tomorrow...


*Chuckle* it'd be a challenge for me to make one every MONTH :-) Time is a scarce commodity around here.


6 years ago

I love this idea. Good luck making it all the way through!
I'll be following along here at home, and applauding.


Thanks for the encouragement! I've been looking forward to this for a while, but I can already see there will be times when it will be, well, challenging to keep the streak intact!


Okay, for day 3, I did two things. First, I printed and hung my infinite photo image in the frame and the location that the image itself was staged (you can see it in location in the comments here). Second, I made myself a duck tape cell phone cover out of sheer necessity. I've been using an old repurposed iPod case, but a couple days ago my phone somehow fell out of this case and was only recovered in a friend's yard after his lawnmower exposed it (fortunately without chopping it to pieces. 

Alright, for day 2 I chose JamesRPatrick's excellent infinite photo instructable (see picture in comments; no reason to post it here as well). I actually ran with an idea suggested in the comments to use a background portrait. Lots of fun, for model and photographer alike. Took longer than I thought, which may bode ill for later, more complex projects!

It would be cool if you put together a slideshow ("photo instructable") of the final thirty projects.

I don't suppose there's an instructable on how to do that!

Click "submit" and hit the first of the three Instructable options.