Thursday, November 11, 2010

Abracadabra! Presto! Change-o!

I found this fun little toy in the dollar section at Target.
Puzzle Cube 9You can turn each of three sections to change the different parts of the body. Lots of silly combinations and lots of fun.
Puzzle Cube 10
My children were fascinated by it and that got me thinking…Wouldn’t it be more fun if they could do this with pictures of themselves? At first, I thought I should just make new stickers for this one. But, I wanted more and I knew Target wasn’t going to sell them indefinitely. Instead of racing out to buy 100 of them, I enlisted the help of my husband and set out to make one!

I have to say, it isn’t perfect and could still use some tweaking, but it works and we love it!
                   Puzzle Cube 4Puzzle Cube 19
   
Materials
Wooden post that is 2 1/2 inches square on the face (It’s labeled 3 inches  x 3 inches.) Puzzle Cube 11
3/4 inch dowel 1 1/2 inches in length
wood glue
#10 1 inch wood screws (2)
drill
3/4 inch spade bit
countersink bit
table saw or miter saw
craft paint
Mod Podge
4 pictures - 2 1/4 inches tall and no more than 2 1/4 inches wide
2 1/4 inch squares (2) scrapbook paper
sand paper

Instructions
We need a cube that is as close to perfect as we can get, but we need it to be in 3 sections. To mark your post with 3 equal sections, you will need to account for the width of your saw blade.

(This diagram reads from RIGHT to LEFT so it faces the same direction as your saw.)
Cutting Diagram
Up to the first red mark (from RIGHT side towards LEFT) is 1/3 of the 2 1/2 inch block that we need. This number is just a hair more than 13/16 of an inch. So much for exact, right? Remember, this is pretty close (16ths are small!) and this is a pretty forgiving project.

Place the blade along the left side of your mark. Cut off the first section. The blue sections above show where the blade will cut. After you have cut, mark the next section a hair more than 13/16 of an inch and cut with the blade to the left of your mark. Repeat for the third section.
Puzzle Cube 13
Mark the center of each section by drawing lines diagonally from one corner to the other. It will make a big X. The center of the X is the center of your cube. On the end pieces, mark the center on both sides.

Using your spade bit (or a drill press), make a 3/4 inch hole right through the center of the middle section.

For the other two sections, do not cut all of the way through the section. Instead, drill about 2/3 of the way through so there is a hole from one side, but not the other.
Puzzle Cube 14
Spread wood glue along the edges of the hole that goes clean through (the center section) and insert your dowel so that it is centered on each side. Let dry completely.
Puzzle Cube 6
Put the cube together fitting the dowel into the openings on each end section.

Drill a pilot hole through the center point (marked previously) on the end section into the dowel.

Using a countersink bit, countersink your pilot hole so the head of the screw will be flush with the top of the wood.
                              Outside/Top View                         Inside View
                   Puzzle Cube 8Puzzle Cube 7
From here, it is essential to keep the pieces in the same order.  Be sure the center section doesn’t get flipped over unless you are flipping over the whole thing.

Take the cube apart and lightly sand the edges (I forgot this part and it shows in some of my pictures—sorry about that!)

Paint the blocks keeping in mind which is which and which direction it goes. (A lot of whiches here—it is the week of Halloween! I couldn’t resist ;) I just covered everything except the center to make it easy, but you really only need to paint the outside faces of each section.
Puzzle Cube 1
Get your pictures ready while the paint is drying. Try to find pictures where the person is standing in about the same stance. This is a pretty forgiving project, though, because children will think it is funny no matter how you do it. They really don’t get caught up in the details!

Pictures should be about 2 1/4 inches tall and no more than 2 1/4 inches wide. I wasn’t concerned about the extra space in the width—that’s why I painted!
Puzzle Cube 2
Mark where you are going to cut the pictures apart. I wrapped one picture gently around the middle section after lining it up on the cube. This made little folds in the paper right where I needed to cut. It wasn’t exact, but it didn’t matter too much.

Use a paper cutter to stack the pictures and cut apart at the same time.
Puzzle Cube 3
Mod Podge the pictures to the cube. I did the center of the first picture and then lined the others up with that. Then, I turned the center to a new side (top and bottom were blank) and lined the next set up with that then turned it to put in a middle section picture. This way, the picture edges will line up whatever way you turn the sections. The picture itself may not line up, but again, the children do not care about that!
                    Puzzle Cube 17Puzzle Cube 5
This is a good place to point out that the wood is not exact even though it was measured and cut as exactly as I could. I was kind of annoyed by it and then realized—it doesn’t matter. This is a very forgiving project!

When all of your pictures are Mod Podged on, let them dry completely and then Mod Podge over the whole thing. I did two coats to be sure it was all covered. Let dry completely in between coats and before you move on to the next step.

Screw together carefully by screwing one screw into each end.
Puzzle Cube 15
Mod Podge your scrapbook paper squares to each end to cover your screws. When it has dried completely, cover each with Mod Podge. Let dry completely.
Puzzle Cube 16
     That’s all there is to it! Now go mix someone up and laugh and laugh!
Puzzle Cube 18      
DISCLAIMER: Please be aware that the you can unscrew a top or bottom completely off if you keep turning in one direction. I am sure there is another way to do this so that isn’t an issue, but I am still in the beginning stages of this idea! While this isn’t going to happen immediately since you will turn the sections back and forth, it is a definite possibility. I’ll be sure to update if I dream up a new method to prevent this and still have a toy that the average person can make herself.
In the meantime, BE CAREFUL!
And ENJOY - Your kids will LOVE this project!

2 comments:

Nancy's Couture,  said... November 12, 2010 at 3:04 AM  

I love it!!!! I have seen it done with Rubix Cube before. wou I knew it would be to hard for the kids. But this is sooo PERFECT. I must make them these.
And by the way I love that you can always enlist help from your hubby.

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