Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Homemade Minecraft Pickaxe

We finished a little craft project.  It's a cardboard pickaxe like the ones on the game Minecraft.

Now, if you're like me, and you have refused to let your kids play Minecraft because you think it sounds creepy or something, let me reassure you.  A friend won us over by saying, "It's basically digital Legos."  My kids have been "playing" it on the iPad since.  They have built rollercoasters, houses, buildings, statues, underground tunnels, and so much more.  I'm actually super impressed at their abilities to create 3D objects out of blocks of different materials.  Plus they ask me questions about those materials in real life.

Back to the project.

This was a Daddy and Nolan project from the beginning, and I just got in at the very end.  I didn't take any pictures or document the process since it was their project.  However, I can give you a basic rundown of how they created this toy that has been one of Nolan's favorite things.

  1. They gathered three pieces of cardboard (from boxes we had) and adhered them together with Elmer's Wood Glue (because that's what we had).  Jared used clamps to hold the layers together so they could dry overnight.
  2. The boys searched the internet for a picture of a Minecraft pickaxe and printed it out as large as they could (mostly filling a piece of printer paper).  I suggest angling the image so the pickaxe is pointing at a corner of the paper.  This allows for the largest image size.
  3. Jared taped the printout to the stack of cardboard and used heavy duty scissors and a utility knife to cut around the outline of the pickaxe, cutting through all layers of cardboard.
  4. Then Jared/I used a ruler and a pencil to draw in the squares on the cardboard pickaxe.  This wasn't hard or complicated or time-consuming.  You can tell from the squared outline where the lines should go (or look at the printout for reference).  We just lined up the ruler with each row and drew in pencil lines.
  5. Nolan and I ran to Walmart and picked up a few bottles of cheap acrylic paint from the craft department.  We bought dark brown, dark gray, silver, and white.  We used those colors as they were and also mixed in white with the brown to get a medium brown and light brown, and we mixed the white with gray to get a lighter gray.  That made all the colors for our pickaxe.
  6. We labeled each square with what paint color it should get (LB for light brown, DG for dark gray, etc.).  Then we just painted in the squares.  I was squirming and biting my tongue as Nolan wasn't staying exactly in the lines of each square.  He didn't care if it was perfect, so I had to stop caring.
  7. We painted two coats of each color on one side of the pickaxe.  The paint dries really quickly, so we did the second coat as soon as we finished the first.  We let it dry overnight and then flipped it over and did the whole process on the back.
  8. As a final step, I sprayed clear sealer over both sides of the pickaxe.  I had matte and glossy on hand, and Nolan emphatically chose glossy.  It made it a little harder to photograph the final product, but he loves the way it looks.  Plus our paint job will be protected.
You can actually buy foam Minecraft Pickaxes at Walmart, Target, and Toys R Us for around $20, but Nolan loves that we made this one ourselves.  And that makes me happy.


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