Avoid Black Friday Crowds: 8 Projects to Do With Stuff You Have at Home

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Avoid Black Friday Crowds: 8 Projects to Do With Stuff You Have at Home

Black Friday shopping is the scourge of my Thanksgiving. REI and other sporting companies have been promoting an #optoutside campaign, but why not one for Makers — or just people who live where it’s really cold?

So for #hackfriday, stick around the shanty and do one (or all) of these easy projects with stuff you’ve already got on hand — no need to battle the legions at the mall, or buy tons of new stuff. (Though if you’re into that, these guides for tool deals and electronics deals we published this week are pretty comprehensive.)

Coptic Book Binding

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Bonus: This one makes a good gift. If you haven’t got the right tools in your shop, the trick will be finding wood and paper that’ll fit each other, but beyond that, you’ve likely got what you need to get started.

Home Wind Tunnel

Use that old box fan that’s in storage for the winter to assess the aerodynamics of your toys (or the other projects you’ve built). There’s a few specialized items here — embroidery hoops, clear plastic sheets — but you can probably find something lying around to substitute if you haven’t got them.

Paper Speed Jet

Paper and glue and a printer (regular, not 3D) is all you need for these speedy fliers. When you’re done, test them in your home wind tunnel.

Customize your Clothing with Embroidery

Now take those embroidery hoops off your wind tunnel, print something that’s not a jet (or something that is) and use them to embroider a design on your favorite backpack, sweater, or other item. Actually, if it’s your first time, don’t use your favorite.

Universal Robot Gripper

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First, make sure you’ve vacuumed everything you need to; you’ll be appropriating that device for this gripper, which employs the principle of “jamming” to grab items of amorphous shape.

Coffee Filter Flowers

My family will be drinking a lot of coffee this weekend. What to do with all those filters? Dry and clean the filters, dye them if you like, form them into flowers, and arrange them by color.

Gingerboard Houses

They’re like gingerbread, except they last longer (and don’t taste very good). But ’tis the season, and if you want to get a start on decorating, and get the kids involved, why not make the most of those leftover cardboard packages?

3D Silhouette Light Box

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When Uncle Joe shows you his slides from that trip to Angkor Wat, pick your favorite one and turn it into wall art. It’ll take some Photoshop-fu (or another editing software), but once you’ve got that down, the rest is easy.

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Nathan Hurst is an editor at Make. He loves anything having to do with science or bicycling. He tweets as @nathanbhurst.

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