Category: Toys

A fret saw jigsaw puzzle

While recently, in my mind, the word “jigsaw” has become more closely associated with the power tool, it nevertheless continues to remind me of the saw’s namesake puzzles. Des is no stranger to these, and takes justified pride in being able to put together puzzles intended for kids 2-3 years her senior. In light of that, the puzzle I made for her posed little challenge, but was still warmly received. Continue reading

Movable parts? You better believe it!

Dremel 4000 blueprint - Hello Kitty cafe fridge door

The refrigerator’s two doors would be attached to rotating dowels. Made with Paper

When the Hello Kitty café was finished, Des did a very good job of hiding her disappointment at the fact that the refrigerator’s doors didn’t open. While this wasn’t high on my list of things to do for the café, or in general, somehow Sunday morning found me pondering how to make it happen.

In my original café blueprint, I had an idea for making a swing door for the kitchen’s entrance, but I suspected that in this case that solution would tend to keep the fridge doors permanently open – no good. I briefly considered using small brad nails as pivots but, upon remembering my one attempt to hammer those into 4mm-thick plywood, that idea was discarded as well. Then, quite by chance, my glance fell on the 10mm wooden dowel and a new plan was born: I would attach the fridge doors to dowels, which would be inserted into holes in the fridge’s roof and floor. This way, the whole door / dowel assembly could rotate, with the dowel acting as the axis.

Without thinking ahead, I placed the dowel holes right next to the fridge’s walls, and paid for it later. Continue reading

Hello Kitty café: Table #4

Dremel 4000 blueprint - Hello Kitty cafe table 4

Here it is, the grand finale. It turned out that Des didn’t want 4 tables in addition to the first, but 4 in total, so this is the last one. At least for now.

Once again, similar size and shape to tables 1, 2 & 3, but I had a little creative liberty with the table’s legs. I used Paper to doodle another interlocking design, similar to table #1, and must have had money on my mind, because what came out was the sketch on the right. I didn’t see it until the very end, but the table’s supports look like the dollar sign when seen one way, and like the cent sign after spinning it 90°. So, here you have it – The Dollars & Cents Table 🙂

The two shapes were cut out of 4mm plywood using a fret saw, then sanded and finished with the 408 sanding band and the 932 grinding stone. With my previous mistakes in mind, I erred on the side of caution and cut the slits in the “C” shape a bit too narrow to fit the “S”. They had to be enlarged, with the fret saw blade being used as a file, which is not something I’d recommend to anyone. In the end, however, the two shapes fit together so well and tight, that no glue was needed to hold them together. This was a pleasant change from the sloppy fits of my past pieces. Continue reading

Hello Kitty café: Table #3

In the ongoing “table-a-day” category, here’s table #3 for Des’s café.

Dremel 4000 blueprint - Hello Kitty cafe table 3 detail

The evening began with Des, Mari and I making miniature food and accessories for the café out of FIMO clay. Our efforts were pretty impressive for beginners, and they’ll be definitely showcased sometime in the near future. While the clay was baking, I went back to the workbench to make another table. Once again, the overall shape and size were to remain the same: the round table top was made according to the same 11cm coffee cup, and the height of the legs was to be 8cm, as with tables 1 and 2.

I had an idea for the table’s legs, but at the last minute something just didn’t feel right, and I searched for an alternative. On Mari’s suggestion, I took a look at the 1cm wooden dowel, of which quite a bit still remained after I had last used it for the pen rack. A new design was born: the dowel would serve as the single central table leg. At the bottom, it would be joined by 3 small plywood feed that would give it stability. Overall, a pretty classic design for a café / diner table. Continue reading

Hello Kitty café: Table #2

Business at Des’s new Hello Kitty café was brisk, but its single table was a bottleneck. Monday night saw the creation of table #2.

Dremel 4000 blueprint - Hello Kitty cafe table 2The overall style and size of the table was to remain the same as #1 – the café was a serious business, after all – but I wanted the details to be different and new. The idea, then, was to have 3 table legs placed at 120° angles to each other and joined somewhere in the middle with a retaining circle. The circle would have 5mm-deep cutouts for each leg, and the legs would have 3mm-deep cutouts within the part that was ~8mm thick, so that each leg would fit flush with the edge of the circle. Continue reading

Hello Kitty café: Table #1

The Hello Kitty café was a smashing success. In fact, the client received it a little too enthusiastically: all of her parents’ free time and much of their busy time became punctuated with “So, do you want to come to the Kiti Kohvik?” There was only so much pretend food that they could pretend to eat. A solution was needed. How about expanding the café’s clientele?

Dremel 4000 blueprint - cafe tableOriginally, I had only planned to build the café’s kitchen, but now I started to think about creating a seating area where Des’s other toys could partake of the menu’s offerings. The first item on the list was a table. With plywood in mind once again, I started sketching a design in Paper and came up with the one on the right. The legs of the table would be made out of two pieces of plywood, interlocked through their matching slits. The table top would be a circle, its size determined by the circumference of the largest coffee cup in our (real) kitchen. Continue reading

Made – Hello Kitty café

Second entry in the “Made” category – the Hello Kitty café. This is a long one, so grab a cup of something.

Dremel 4000 blueprint - Kitty cafeThis project started with a blueprint at least a month before I purchased the Dremel 4000. Early on, while making rings and earrings, the café felt like it was still far away, too complicated of a thing for my skills. However, I started feeling a lot more confident after completing the pen rack and looked for a new challenge. And so, on Friday night, I used my new jigsaw to cut the plywood panels that would become the café’s floor and walls. While the initial plan called for the café’s footprint to be at least 60 × 40 cm, after seeing what that actually looked like in real life, I scaled it down to a more modest 40 × 30 cm. Still, the café came out to be grossly oversized for the two kitty figurines, as you’ll see later. Continue reading

Blueprint – Hello Kitty café

Dremel 4000 blueprint - swinging doorI’m starting a new category of posts – Blueprint. Here, I’ll share ideas and, hopefully, sketches of my ideas for ongoing and future projects. Any input or feedback is, as always, appreciated.

Here’s the inaugural Blueprint – The Hello Kitty café (used without a license). This is an idea that I had before even purchasing my Dremel. Our 7-year-old daughter Des (who, by the way, has her own blog that is a very fun read) often plays with her two small Hello Kitty figurines. One of the toys is a chef, and together the two run a café. When Des’s parents come for a visit, they can make an order from the menu that offers sushi, dumplings, cake, coffee and smoothies, and then walk away with hands full of colourful paper, crayons and other small odds and ends that represent the food they had ordered.

The café currently consists of a shoe box and other miscellaneous packaging material, and I want to create something a little more permanent and realistic. Here’s the general idea, sketched in Paper, as always: Continue reading