Gift for a grungy goth: Wise old tree oil burner

I wasn’t going to make a post about this, but I’m really proud of how it turned out and I haven’t posted anything on this site in ages. This post won’t be that detailed, though, so if you’re interested in a full how-to guide please leave a comment below! I made this to practice certain paper mache techniques so I can make a series of gifts for my friend Sophie (who’s designing a logo for my shop). The brief was “I want an incense burner, you know my aesthetic”. I decided to go with a woodland gothic theme, and always liked the idea of a tree with a face being used as a candle holder. I was really proud of it because it came out right the first time and there were only a few minor (and fairly rectifiable) mistakes. I hope it brings Sophie as much joy as it’s brought me!

Volunteering: Newbury Festival of Light


In mid-2018 I went to the library to scan a page from my notebook for another post on this site. On my way out I saw a leaflet from the Newbury Corn Exchange with a rather charming picture of a giant glowing squid; I grabbed it and started reading through it once I’d got in the car. I was instantly interested in the Lantern Making for the Brave and booked it for me, and my parents! This involved making a lantern while being instructed and assisted by experts, then marching in the street with it accompanied by others during an event.

This post describes the work that was involved in making our lantern, as well as the main event.

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Experimenting with UV mediums: An illuminated night sky picture


I’ve been wanting to create an illuminated picture for a while now, but I didn’t want to do the usual trick of running a fairy light under a board. I wanted something three dimensional and interesting at its very core; I always wanted to make it 3D, as I think that items which combine 3D and 2D are unnerving in a very interesting way. I decided in the end to use UV reactive mediums. I was originally going to go with something much more elaborate, using invisible paints that fluoresce to give an effect of transitioning from a night sky to daytime; it was found to be too complicated, so I put it aside for a future project. I came up with this in the end:

The UV light from the LED strip appears to have washed out the top half of the image. This doesn’t happen when viewing with the naked eye and probably only arises because the CCD in the camera can detect near-UV.

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Failed Christmas Project: Making a snow globe and the many challenges that came with it


I sometimes buy things not knowing what I’ll do with them. Case in point: An empty snow globe I bought at Hobbycraft a week before Halloween. I decided to leave it off to one side until I figure out what to do with it. Half a month later I was tidying up my shelves and figured I’d put it on my desk and see what I’d do with it. I’d been learning electronics for about a month and wanted to see what I could do with what I’d learned, so I went with a classic: A Christmas tree covered in snow, which flashes when I shake it. In the end the project failed, but as I always say: The cookie dough always tastes better than the cookie! So without further ado, the failed snow globe!

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Pangaea: Honeycomb and the many lessons that can be learned making it


For the Pangaea launch party we wanted to make the SU Bar appear like it had been colonized by bees; for this I’d planned to purchase large rolls of honeycomb core, spray paint them yellow, then create glistening golden stalactites of resin to represent honey. Unfortunately we did not have the correct equipment to make the stalactites, and the honeycomb core wasn’t going to arrive in time. Here’s what I came up with as an alternative.

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Pangaea: A steaming barrel of toxic waste

During the Pangaea Project, the stage that I headed was called Age of Discovery, which focused on the industrial and scientific achievements of Manchester. The issue is I also wanted to highlight the negative impacts of this progress. I didn’t get to explore this area as much as I wanted to, but this is what I managed to do, a steaming barrel of toxic waste:

To start I got a large milk powder can, emptied it (I gave the contents to the office up stairs), spray painted it matte silver, and had an artist team member draw a skull and crossbones in a yellow triangle on it. I then used glittery blue, green, and yellow hot glue to make the drip patterns over the edge, and piled a small amount at the base on a piece of baking paper (to make the effect of a puddle). I then mounted an LED fogger inside. Click “Continue Reading” to see how I could have improved.

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Nature Lamp Part 1: Disco Toadstool

This new project is part of a series of lamps inspired by shapes found in nature. Because each project teaches me something new and behaves as a prototype in its own right I’m going to break away from the usual format that my fans (all three of them!) love. I will provide a rough explanation of how the lamps were made, what went well, and what did not, along with¬† background information about the organism it’s supposed to imitate. My hope is that by the end of this the posts will provide a variety of methods for a variety of designs, as opposed to how to make a single design. So without further ado, the Disco Toadstool…

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LARP: Torches


A couple of months ago I saw this post by the legendary crafter MagpieB0nes. I didn’t think much of it, in fact looking at the method I figured the light would be rather static and dull (although the overall aesthetic was amazing)! Fast-forward about a month and I’m discussing with the manager of a certain LARP what props I could make to make his quests more interesting. One thing that was brought up was the lack of safety involved in fighting around real fires. I instantly knew what could be done!

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