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skillbuilder natural 158x1581 Top 10: Natural MaterialsWhen we say “natural materials,” the mind leaps immediately to wood, stone, leather, natural fibers. But there are lots of interesting and more “exotic” materials from the natural world that we don’t tend to think of, right away, and digging these up and showing them off is one of the things I’m most looking forward to in this month’s theme. To kick things off, here’s a sampler of some of my personal favorite unusual natural materials from our archives, arranged in highly unscientific how-much-does-Sean-like-it order. There’s cool stuff here made from antler, acorns, fish scales, insect parts—even shark’s teeth! Enjoy!


mount a knife blade in a deer antler Top 10: Natural Materials

How-To: Mount a Knife Blade in an Antler Without Glue


make a survival hand vise Top 10: Natural Materials

Make a Survival Hand Vise


fish scale plastic Top 10: Natural Materials

Plastic From Fish Scales


classic leather water bottle Top 10: Natural Materials

How-To: Classic Leather Water Bottle


how to scrimshaw Top 10: Natural Materials

How-To: Scrimshaw


brilliant red dye made from insects Top 10: Natural Materials

Brilliant Red Dye Made From Insects


beetle shell ceiling Top 10: Natural Materials

Beetle Shell Ceiling


bamboo bike frame Top 10: Natural Materials

Bamboo Bike Studio Expanding


traditional hawaiian shark tooth weapons1 Top 10: Natural Materials

How-To: Make Traditional Hawaiian Shark-Tooth Weapons


jonathan wolfes puzzle acorns Top 10: Natural Materials

Jonathan Wolfe’s Puzzle Acorns

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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