Top 10: Natural Materials

Craft & Design Science
Top 10: Natural Materials

When 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!


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


Make a Survival Hand Vise


Plastic From Fish Scales


How-To: Classic Leather Water Bottle


How-To: Scrimshaw


Brilliant Red Dye Made From Insects


Beetle Shell Ceiling


Bamboo Bike Studio Expanding


How-To: Make Traditional Hawaiian Shark-Tooth Weapons


Jonathan Wolfe’s Puzzle Acorns

4 thoughts on “Top 10: Natural Materials

  1. John Honniball says:

    I rather like the idea of using natural slate as a mounting surface for electronics:

    Slate was used as an insulating, damp-resistant and non-flammable base-plate for all sorts of old electrical switchgear:

  2. Friday Funtime says:

    […] projects and tutorials dealing with natural materials. To kick it off, they’ve featured 10 great projects made from natural materials. Beetle shell ceiling, […]

  3. AAU Materials Library, A Great Resource To All Students – film fresh off the reel says:

    […] is a library consisting of all different types of materials from Natural materials, Polymer materials, and processed materials.  Each category of material is very different, but […]

  4. Top Interior Design Trends For 2019 says:

    […] order to emphasize your love of nature, you should use natural organic materials. Wooden floors and wooden furniture fit in here perfectly. Bamboo is very popular, and it’s […]

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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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