Afternoon projects
April 24, 2013 11:55 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for afternoon projects that: a) can be done with a friend b) require no skill in advance c) produce something worthwhile, whether it's useful or merely impressive d) cost under $100 for parts e) are something I wouldn't consider on my own Suggestions?
posted by LSK to Grab Bag (20 answers total) 79 users marked this as a favorite
Moravian Stars? You can make them into ornaments, mobiles or garland, and they're easy and relaxing to make.
posted by Ostara at 12:00 PM on April 24, 2013

Make a pinhole camera.
posted by mattbucher at 12:05 PM on April 24, 2013

wax eggs
posted by bq at 12:06 PM on April 24, 2013

Paint by numbers. It's sort of silly, requires no skill and can be kind of fun and kitchy at the end of the day.

Another thing is to get a big pile of magazines and make Vision Boards.

Scrapbooking fits your description, although I'm more inclined to do scanning and organizing my photos on the web at this point in time. A photo scanner is about $50.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:07 PM on April 24, 2013

Have a look at the Make: Craft blog!
posted by Room 641-A at 12:18 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Brew beer.
posted by cabingirl at 12:33 PM on April 24, 2013 [5 favorites]

Just jumping in here to second brewing beer. It can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be, and you can make very good beer from Northern Brewer's kits. Avoid "Mr. Beer" and it's ilk.
posted by jeoc at 12:51 PM on April 24, 2013

Can preserves! There are about a million kinds you can do...if you've never tried it before, I suggest buying a box of Sure-Jell/Certo and using one of the recipes inside with whatever fruit is in season. If you want to get fancier, I love making no-pectin recipes like this one. I'm a big fan of the Blue Chair Jam Cookbook as well for amazing no-pectin recipes. (The trick with these, is they take much longer and you have to get a bit of a feel for when they're done cooking as opposed to simply using a timer with Sure-Jell. But, you can use less sugar and get more creative with wacky flavor combinations.)

If you're not a jam fan, you can also do pickles!

This should be easily achievable for under $100 - you can get a cheap canning kit for about $10, jars for $10-$20, and then select whatever produce is in season for the best flavor and value. Plus, you and your friend go home with yummy treats to eat or give as gifts - homemade jam has become my go-to gift over the past few years as it's really fun for me to make and always appreciated by the recipient!
posted by rainbowbrite at 12:52 PM on April 24, 2013 [6 favorites]

No-sew fleece blankets. All you need is fleece and fabric scissors. You can make these for under $20.
posted by SisterHavana at 1:18 PM on April 24, 2013

I made cold process soap with my niece and it was a BLAST.
posted by spunweb at 1:21 PM on April 24, 2013

Record album cover box
posted by Duffington at 2:55 PM on April 24, 2013

Do you have a place like this?
posted by RoadScholar at 6:32 PM on April 24, 2013

During a camping trip last year my wife and daughter made decorated T-Shirts:

Gather materials. You need a plain white cotton t-shirt, some acrylic craft paint, some craft brushes, and some green leaves, feathers, stamps or anything to make an impression. You'll also need some cardboard or even the paper board that cereal boxes or canned pop boxes are made out of. A clothes hanger would be useful though not mandatory.

Place the cardboard inside the shirt. It's there to prevent the paint from bleeding through.

Apply paint to the leaf or stamp or feather or what ever else you might have. Then press the leaf onto the shirt transferring the pattern to the shirt. Be artistic as you'd like. You can also use the brushes to write things on the shirt.

Once you are finished hang the shirt to dry, it takes a couple hours. The paint is durable enough for the shirts to handle mild washing.
posted by Mitheral at 8:45 PM on April 24, 2013

You could make lampshades (easier) or lamps (maybe more fun), just get e.g. this (or this) and some frames and maybe a wiring kit (hey actually this place has all that stuff in one place; Home Depot doubtless does too), and of course some fabric or paper for the shade, and any object with an existing cavity for the base (though if you split the job into two afternoons, you could probably also make a hole in a solid thing).
posted by nelljie at 9:23 PM on April 24, 2013

Not sure if this what you're after, but your question reminded me of this site:
posted by dhruva at 9:53 PM on April 24, 2013

matt’s woven leather stool | Design*Sponge
tripod camping stool | Design*Sponge
DIY Wooden Bungee Organizer | Brit + Co.
Collapsable Kids Tent
Branch Light: Remodelista
Fix a bunch of cords and random stuff in the house with Sugru
Make garden tags out of clay or plastic or metal
posted by barnone at 11:29 PM on April 24, 2013

Our library just got several of these $100 Arduino kits, and is running class for teens. Here's the booklet that comes with the kit (the pdf is near the end of the page); read the first pages and the first few projects to see it it fits your goals.
posted by at at 7:57 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm fond of the pretty projects (mostly paper-related) over at minieco like pixellated popup cards and woven gift-toppers.

More papercraft: origami! Particularly the modular kind. There are a ton of tutorials on Youtube. Here is an excellent video for folding origami fireworks.

I also like Instructables for this kind of thing. I want to make bookshelves. And modular lampshade polygons.
posted by junques at 8:15 PM on April 25, 2013

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