Thursday, February 2, 2012

how to build a robot

I mentioned yesterday that after I got the robot bug in me, soon everything around me made me think about them! Which is how this guy came to be. We almost always have boxes lying around from either packages from the grandparents or a little retail therapy. Soon I envisioned some of our empty boxes with the wrapping paper I had had my eye on from Target....(see how I managed to find a reason to buy said paper???) ....and that's how it all began :)
This project was pretty simple. I made it using mostly objects that we had around the house, but you could always substitue something you had around your own home. I have to say, the big guy came out pretty cool (although larger than I thought he would be!) and the kids love him. I made him to go with our Robot Valentines party we are having, however, you could EASILY switch out the colors and patterns to make him for any party. What an awesome photo prop he would make at a birthday party!! You could even (gasp!!) make him a her and add a bow.

So this is how I made him:

Like I said, I basically gathered around stuff that we already had (except for, of course, my Target purchases :)  ) Use boxes based on how large you want your robot to be. I recommend stacking them up before you commit, so you can get a better idea of how they will look. I did this, and was STILL shock by how tall he was. I think his legs are a little too long, but that is something that you can always cut down (and truthfully, will make him more sturdy). Also, try to use sturdy boxes because you will be gluing things and poking things into them.

First, wrap up the boxes with your paper. As you can see below, since the fancy Target paper was shorter than normal paper, it left me with a gap. It inspired to be to come up with a creative solution that I actually prefer. I used a cordinating paper, cut it to about 2" wide and wrapped /glued it around the entire box. Plus, this eleminated having large folds to be seen on the side, so this would be a good option even if you paper was large enough.

Do this for the body and head. Before you cover the shoes, make sure to punch a hole in the center where the legs will enter. I used my circle cutter, but you can always cut by hand. For the shoes, you will want the top of the box open (or at least cut for the legs), with the pieces of styrofoam inside. Wrap  up the shoes, leaving the opening circle on top (above the open part of the box). For the legs, I just used the paper towel rolls and rolled them up normal. Check the height of the legs and trim down any before you wrap. (keep in mind they will be going through the shoe boxes, so measure from the ground to the base of your torso box).

Once you have wrapped everything, stick legs into the opeing of the shoes and secure them into the styrofoam. I later hot glued around the edges to make sure it was really in there. Remember these babies will be holding up your 'bot, so you want them to be sturdy.

The next few picture might be a little blurry. They were taken by my phone while my napping little man held our camera hostage in our room :)

First, I worked on the head. I cut down toilet paper rolls to size I wanted  (you can use paper towel rolls or an excess you had from the legs). Wrap it in scrapbook paper or leftover wrapping paper. You can either glue or tape them onto your head. Gluing would be best, but you will have to wait for it to dry. For the eyes, I circle punched out my scrap paper as the backing to my googly eyes. Glue said eyes onto the paper. (The 'bolts' around the eyes were hole punches from the same paper raised by scrapbooking sticker dots). Make a mouth out of paper. Glue both eyes and mouth to head.
For the antenna, I purchased a headband from the dollar store. I cut one off to use for this project, and saved the other for a project I have planned later this week. Once glued, his head is complete! And you then have a robot head watching your every move as you build him a body :)
For the 'hands' I drew and cut out magnet shapes from a scrap piece of foam I had. (also from the dollar store). Trace cutouts on wrapping or scrapbook paper; cut and glue onto both sides of foam. Take your dowel (I sharpened mine with a regular pencil sharpener on both sides). Stick into foam and adhere with glue ( I used regular elmers glue for this). Your slinky will go around this.

You are now ready to glue your robot together!! Before I glued the legs to my torso base, I placed the torso on the legs to see how it would balance (this will also tell you if you need to trim down the legs some more). Once I found a good spot, I marked where the legs were by tracing around the roll. This would tell me where to glue the legs back on. I used hot glue for this. I have no patience for regular glue and I think hot glue will hold better. That said, you do have to work FAST.
I assembled my guy in this order:
Torso onto legs
Slinky on to "magnet" base.
Stuck other end of rod into Torso (another good reason to sharpen!) & glued around edges
After postioning it how I wanted the arm to be, glue other end of slinky to Torso.
Glue on head.

After all that you are left with one amazing accessory to any robot party:

Since I already made this digital heart for my robot party collection, I simply printed up a larger image and glued that on to his stomach. I had wanted to give out a free PDF file download for this, but I don't know how to put that on my page yet..... So, soon :)

I hope you found this tutorial inspiring! I would LOVE to see your own take on this project!!


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