Tag Archives: diy

avatar costume dragon ball z duct tape energy efficiency halloween heat how-to insulation mylar radiant barrier science fiction star trek

Making geeky baby Halloween costumes

Baby Picard costumeI’m on paternity leave with my 5-month-old, Finn. Halloween is coming soon, and while thinking about costumes I noticed that Finn’s hair was starting to fill in. I realized that this was my last chance to take advantage of his relative baldness for costume purposes.

So, over the past couple weeks I’ve been working on a fun project to photograph my kid in as many geeky costumes as I can before we hit Halloween. Or before his hair grows too much. Whichever comes first.

The rules I’ve set for myself are:

1. Bald or nearly-bald fictional characters only. The geekier the better.
2. No spending any serious amount of money each costume.
3. No spending any serious time on each costume.

Here are the ones I’ve done so far:

1. Avatar Aang:

Avatar Aang baby costume

2. Captain Picard:

Captain Picard baby costume

3. Krillin from Dragon Ball Z:

Krillin Dragon Ball Z baby costume

4. Professor Xavier from the X-Men:

Professor Xavier X-Men baby costume

5. Charlie Brown:

Charlie Brown baby costume

6. Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD:

Nick Fury Avengers baby costume

7. Morpheus from The Matrix:

Morpheus Matrix baby costume

8. Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen:

Dr. Manhattan Watchmen baby costume

9. Korben Dallas from The Fifth Element:

Korben Dallas Fifth Element baby costume


These were all put together pretty quickly, and as I get time I’ll try to create some tutorials on how. Mostly I’ve been using double-sided fabric tape, onesies, cheap kid T-shirts, and post-it notes.

Follow me on G+ to see what’s next.

Project: Warm up a room with an Insulating Wall Hanging

When we moved into our new house, it quickly became apparent that we would need to do something to warm up the master bedroom. It was the coldest room in the house, and November weather in Cleveland is a pretty good motivator.

So I started trying to think of ways to warm up the room. Traditional methods of insulation were out of the question in the short term – the large open attic above was too big of a project to do at the time and we couldn’t use something like blown-in cellulose insulation because our stately Tudor duplex had knob-and-tube wiring. I came up with this fast, cheap, easy-to-build project instead. You can use it to decorate your room and even save you a few bucks on your heating bill.

Here’s a sneak peak at the end result:

Heat-reflecting and stylish

It’s basically a frame with some stylish fabric stretched over like the canvas in an oil painting. It’s backed with mylar which means it acts as a radiant heat barrier, keeping you toasty.

Here’s what you need:

  • Some 1×2’s – buy whatever is cheapest (and not warped) at your home improvement store.
  • Wood screws – maybe 1 1/2 inch to 2 inch.
  • Cloth – something that would look nice on the wall. Pick out whatever you like, it should be a little stretchy.
  • Aluminized mylar – better known as space blankets. Order it online or buy it at the store – it should be a dollar or two for a large sheet.
  • Duct tape (of course)
  • Some tools: A staple gun (and staples), tape measure, drill, screwdriver, saw.

So first, a tiny little bit of theory. Heat moves in three ways – convection, conduction, and radiation. Your house is losing heat in the winter because of these three along with air infiltration – drafts of cold air from windows and doors. Most insulation does it’s job by preventing conduction (by putting air pockets between materials) or by stopping convection in air pockets. Infiltration can be combated with storm windows, weather stripping, and vapor barriers.

Insulation is measured by R-value. This project will only help a little bit when it comes to convection or conduction – the main point here is to reflect radiant heat back into the room. So don’t ask about the R-value – like other radiant barriers, that’s not really the point.

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