Although the odds and ends around your house may seem like
nothing more than a bunch of clutter, your family toolbox, junk
drawer and recycling bins are treasure troves of crafting
materials. Bottle caps. Stray washers and bolts. Unused key chains.
All of these everyday household supplies can be part of a fun and
easy craft project-making your own "robots."
A robot made from recycled parts and household odds and ends
won't actually be automated, so he can't empty the dishwasher or
finish up your homework, but he will be fun to design, construct
and play with.
Begin by collecting some empty tin cans (the recycling bin is a
good place to start). Any size tin can will do, but the 28-ounce
cans will give you the most space to work with. Wash and dry the
can to make sure it is free of any traces of its former
Depending on your design, you may want to leave either the top
or bottom lid on the can, or remove both ends. We left one lid on
so that we could attach hair to the top of our robot's head.
Ask an adult to inspect the can to make sure there are no sharp
edges. An adult can use some duct tape to line the can's rim if
Gather up household items to create facial features, arms, legs,
hair, communication devices or any other feature you'd like your
robot to have. Check the tool box, kitchen junk drawer or make a
quick trip to the hardware stores to find the items you need to
decorate your robot.
We used colored Velcro strips, washers, screws, duct tape, felt
pads, hanging wire, stainless steel scrubbing pads, metal braces,
plastic caps, bottle caps and key chains.
Metal brackets make great arms and legs. Objects like felt pads,
bottle caps, hooks, buttons and washers worked for the facial
features. Stainless steel scrubbers are perfect for a head of
unruly robot hair.
Figure out how you want to design your robot and lay out all of
the components. An adult can then use a hot glue gun to adhere each
of the parts to the tin can. Note that using a hot glue gun is
always an adults-only job because the glue gets very hot. The hot
glue will also make the metal components hot, so use extra
As you apply the glue, hold the parts onto the can until
everything adheres. Let the robot sit until all of the glue has
Caitlin Murray Giles is a full-time mother of three and part-time freelance writer living in Wicker Park.
See more of Caitlin's stories here.
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