Step one: take some VHS tapes.
Step two: glue them together in various configurations. I don’t know if you can tell from my crappy camera, but I also used some extra drawer-pulls from previous projects to make little railings for some of the platforms. I don’t know why; they just amuse me.
Also, you can see what kind of house I live in from this. A few highlights: some coral; plastic wise men from a nativity set; a statuette of Andy Warhol; Swiper the Fox, Goku, and a Bob-Omb; an anatomical model of the human head; a Japanese action figure that would be worth about twenty bucks if it wasn’t all yellowed and missing its accessories; a wind-up robot milk carton; a plastic ear; the Hindu god Ganesha, lounging on his throne with what appears to be a bowl of popcorn
I guess this should be brought up in discussion with my last post: how exactly do you attach VHS tapes and other bits of garbage to one another?
Whenever possible, use screws. Mechanical connections are the best, so long as you’ve got something you can drill through. Barring that, a good strong glue is your best bet. Some people swear by glues hot, super, and crazy, but these people may just be thinking about an ex-girlfriend; others throw their support behind two-part epoxy. This stuff is supposed to be amazing: you mix two liquids together, and a few minutes later, they become solid forever. You really feel like a pro when using this stuff, since for most people, mixing two liquids of different colors = doing science, plus this is the stuff that really can glue your fingers to each other forever and ever, forcing you to live the life of Danny DeVito in that one Batman movie where he was really gross and somehow got elected mayor of Gotham, and who wants the ulcers that job comes with? So don’t glue your fingers together: a safety message from the Cromulent Bricoleur.
But this post is about my favorite glue: Goop. It comes in a few varieties–I think it’s “Carpenter’s Goop”, “Plumber’s Goop”, “Household Goop”, and “Cool Ranch Goop”, although I might have imagined the last one while trying to hold a late-night burrito together. The “Household” flavor is the best. “Carpenter” works even better on wood, but not well on metal; “Plumber” works on metal but not wood. “Household”, like Baby Bear’s porridge or Mario, is the master of balanced stats–it works pretty gosh-damned well on everything (not including styrofoam, rubber, or burritos). I spent most of my college days gluing bits of junk together, and this is what I used that whole time.
Yep, you can get a degree in that.
I like Goop because after you first apply it, you can make adjustments for a good ten minutes; after that you can pull it apart and try again. After about an hour it’s solid enough to play with a little, and overnight, it hardens to the point of holding together any number of frightening garbage monsters, as seen above. If, however, you decide you want to undo what you glued (or unglue what you dood), with a little muscle and some twisty tearing motions, you can snap it back apart. The one bad news is that the spot where it was glued will often be a little disfigured, what with the glue having very gently melted it.
When gluing, make sure both surfaces are clean. Besides rubber and styrofoam (and food), you can’t glue over top of a sticker–it’s more like you’re gluing to the sticker than to the object underneath, so it’s like you’ve got a load-bearing address label–and cheap wood usually doesn’t work, because the part you’ve glued to will just splinter off. While it will hold cardboard and paper really well, don’t expect them to hold a lot of weight.
One more note that a lot of people don’t know about: white glue works really well on wood. I don’t know that I’d start making furniture out of Elmer’s and popsicle sticks or anything, but small-scale wood bits being glued to other wood bits? It’s easier to work with than wood-glue, and since it dries clear instead of mucous-y mustard yellow, any blurping (or whatever you call it when you use too much glue and some gushes out the sides of the joint when you push two things together) will be near-invisible.
As I mentioned, it kinda bugs me the way a lot of people that do this kind of thing claim they’re using garbage, but when was the last time you went dumpster-diving and found a vinyl record, a non-decrepit pallet, or an old suitcase that wasn’t rotten with molds so virulent they have their own D&D stats? So I’m looking for suggestions for raw materials that really are headed for the landfill. My first idea: I’ve heard that thrift stores have so many VHS tapes, they’ll wind up tossing a bunch of them. As for what I plan on doing with them, tune in next entry!
I wish I could make my first post something about the ideology of turning old stuff into cool stuff, like the philosophy of upcycling and reducing carbon footprinting and all that, but you know? I was doing this stuff long before I had ever heard of any of that. I just like it. It’s neat. The other problem is that for all the talk about reducing waste, you hardly ever see nifty furnishings made out of actual garbage…most of what I’ve seen is not so much “ways to reduce your garbage output” as it is “excuses to buy a lot of stuff from charity-owned thrift stores”. Which is still a good goal, I guess.
So this is just a record with some drawer pulls screwed into it to make a jewelry holder. It’s really just a step beyond making records into bowls, but hey, it’s still pretty cool, right?
Anyway, to preview the rest of what’s to come, I have a lot of other projects and ideas for projects that I’d like to build; since I’ll be moving a few hundred miles in a few months, I don’t want to construct a lot of really cool stuff. Following the maker-as-concept-generator, I will go ahead and say that I’m going to be stealing ideas from other people doing similar things, and I refuse to feel bad about it; they do it on Tumblr all the time. Credit will be given!