Sunday, January 11, 2009

Necessity IS the Mother of Invention

Photo spiffication courtesy of Picnik.

When Buddha Boy said that he wanted his biography report to be on Alexander the Great, I thought it was a great idea. I was secretly proud that a kid of mine new about AtheG and was impressed to the extent that he was willing to create a timeline, an oral report, and give his report in front of his class, dressed as the guy.

The "uh oh" came when he said that he wanted a helmet: bronze, horse-hair plume, and the metal thing that runs down the nose.

I wandered around A.C. Moore (craft store) a couple weekends ago looking for stuff that I could use. I came home with a cheesy-looking piece of fake fur (horse hair?) and a styrofoam wreath form (to hold the plume).

I didn't take any pictures of the work in process, because I was pretty nervous of coming up with something acceptable in the time I had.

I started by wrapping the bottom of a pumpkin bucket (you know, from Halloween -- no, it hadn't been put away yet) in aluminum foil. About five layers later, I was ready to take it off. I cut a small slit up one side, slid off the pumpkin-shaped bowl, and trimmed up the edge. When I tried it on, it balanced on my head and came down over my eyes.

A piece of duct tape closed up the gap I had after taking out some extra foil where I'd put the slit. Next, I got out the paper package-sealing tape and started wrapping the helmet in small strips. Once it dried, it was hard yet lightweight.

For the earflaps and the pointy nose-protector thing, I attached pieces of cardboard with the packing tape.

A coat of bronze spray paint later, we were looking pretty good.

SkimbleShanks made a fantastic suggestion at this point. We had a little broom that had seen better days. He suggested that I pull out the tufty bristles and use those for the horsehair. Awesome! It took quite a bit of work getting all the dog hair out, but they were exactly what I needed.

I glued the bristled in between the two halves of the styrofoam wreath, which I'd wrapped in the packing tape and painted bronze. Another piece of cardboard between the halves down to the top of the helmet, held in place with more tape, and we were ready for the final spraydown with paint.

Buddha Boy was very pleased with the result. In fact, when SpecialEd and SkimbleShanks arrived at school to pick up BB at the end of report day, darned if he didn't walk out of school with the helmet on his head.

I have to say, this is one my better efforts in the school project arena. It just shows what you can do with some common supplies, imagination, and minimal time.

1 comment:

  1. The things we do for love and under pressure! I think you did a fab job! New career?