Man Made DIY


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Sep 27, 2011

How To: Make Homemade (and Healthful) American Cheese

Most of us wouldn't admit it freely, but American cheese is awesome. No, it's not the ultimate expression of what milk and time can do, but you can't deny it's uniqueness and nostalgia. It's likely the first cheese that many of us in the U.S. ever tasted, and you can't deny its melt-ability on a burger or grilled cheese.

But, it's not quite cheese...that is, innoculated and pressed milk. "Instead, it’s either a blend of cheese and additives, or it’s a highly processed mixture of ingredients such as water, milk, milkfat, milk protein, whey, food coloring, flavorings, and… read more

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Sep 26, 2011

How to: Pac-Man Halloween Garland

created at: 09/26/2011

Unless you're ready to go full out, it's kinda hard to decorate for Halloween. Anytime I've tried, my house has looked like 1) a crappy, half-finished haunted house, 2) like the clearance aisle at the discount store on November 2nd, or 3) like a kindergarten classroom.

But, wait. Hold up. What about something that's Halloween-y, but doesn't resort to overplayed imagery, and even includes a bit o' nostalgia and pop culture imagery to… read more

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Sep 20, 2011

How to: Make a Woven Wooden Lamp

I love materials. All of them. After all, crafting is about taking some raw material and either cutting it, spreading it, shaping it, or attaching it to something else, right? I especially love when materials take an unlikely shape, like when felt becomes rigid, or wood maleable. Like this woven wooden lamp, which is constructed from actual wood, all balled up and soft. I may never be able to bend plywood at home, but this? This I can do. 

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Sep 19, 2011

How to: Make a Clock from Junk Mail

I once heard that it takes 300 points of contact to be swayed by a piece of print advertising (that you're not already seeking out). That means a political candidate has to call, be seen on a TV ad, or send you junk mail 300 times in order for that technique to be effective.

And other than coupons or sale annoucements, I can't imagine, in this day and age, where postage is expensive, and we're touched by thousands of ads before we even check the mail, that sending stuff to a mailbox is helpful.

And yet, still it comes. So, turn that waste upside down, and make… read more

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Sep 19, 2011

Handmade Wooden iPod

created at: 09/19/2011

No, no. That's not a protective case. And it certainly isn't CNC-milled or cut with a laser. It's a handmade wooden iPod Nano.

When Josh got a new iPod for Christmas, he couldn't just throw the old one away. So, he did what anyone would do - made it a wooden enclosure, complete with contrasting click… read more

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Sep 16, 2011

DIY Idea: Make a Tree Branch Coat Rack

created at: 09/16/2011

It's been crazy windy in my neighborhood this week. So much so that I've had to turn around early from two bike rides, and head outside at sunrise to pick up my recycling from all over the street in my pajamas.

But there's one good thing about windy weather: all the sticks, branches, and limbs that show up on the sidewalk, ready to be taken home and made into… read more

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Sep 15, 2011

How to: Make a Modern Industrial Coffee Table

Though its the element that we use the most, and usually the largest, the tabletop isn't really the tough part when it comes to building DIY furniture. It is, most of the time, something solid and flat, that likely comes from a solid, flat sheetgood product that is then simply cut to size. The challenge is always in the other stuff: the legs, the base, etc. It's pretty easy to cut and glue wood or acrylic materials. But shaping, bending, and welding metal is a whole 'nother skill set that's way bigger than just picking up a circular… read more

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Sep 14, 2011

How to: Make Typographic String Art

created at: 09/16/2011

In the late 60s and 70s, string art became a popular paint-by-numbers-y way for the masses to get crafty. Head to your local thrift store, and you'll likely find a few, in all their harvest gold glory. Usually sold in kits, these guys involved strategically placed nails or pins that were connected by string or yarn to create geometrical shapes or mathematical patterns. 

But, I'm not really into geometrical shapes or mathematical patterns. I'm into letters, so I decided to create some original string art with a typographic twist. It's super fun, easy-to-make, and infinitely customizable. Plus, it's my favorite kind of project, where the supplies come from both the craft shop and my local True Value hardware store (we're a part of the 2011 True Value Blog Squad!).

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Sep 14, 2011

DIY with a Purpose: Making the World's Least Expensive "Light Bulb" from an Upcycled Plastic Bottle

created at: 09/14/2011

Every once and while, some brilliant soul comes up with such an clever solution to a problem, it's simplicity and perfection is awe inspiring. Things are commonly accessible, but not common sense. Coupled with the fact that this one improves the lives of third world persons and saves energy they don't have to spare, I think this might be my favorite DIY project of the… read more

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Sep 13, 2011

DIY Idea: Make a Bicycle Valve Key Organizer

I know this sounds like a cheesy setup for a blog post, and it's way too coincidental, but I assure you, it's true: last night, I popped a tube on my bike, cutting my intended 65 mile ride into a short 7.5. I have a spare tube, tire wrenches, and pump with me at all times, which I thought I knew how to use. Turns out, I do not. It was a long walk to the bike shop. (Thankfully, I learned they have classes on how to fix a flat every Thursday at 7p. Guess where I'll be this… read more

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Sep 12, 2011

How to: Make a Mod, Cruelty-Free 3D Deer Head

Part of my modus operandi on ManMade is playing with those iconic, and often stereotypical, images associated with men, masculine decor, and craftsmanship. Certainly, taxidermy goes in that category, and I did my own spin with a faux bois deer head silhouette project last… read more

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Sep 09, 2011

How To: Buy and Use Your First Sewing Machine

Hands down, the most popular question that ManMade readers email me (other than: I wanna make my boyfriend/husband/partner/brother/son something for X holiday. What should I do?) is from guys interested in buying and learning to use their first sewing machine. Usually, I have a little spiel I do about buying old metal machines with simple stitches. And now, I'll throw a link to this helpful little… read more

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Sep 08, 2011

How to: DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe (at Home and on the Cheap!)

It's September, friends, and for many, that means the return of the fall favorites, the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Though rumor has it that you can actually get these year 'round if you just ask, they're certainly just right for autumn time, and the kind of thing you wanna drink this time of year. And it turns out, you can make them at home. So, whether you want to enjoy instead of braving the blustery autumnal winds, or wanna save some serious cash, you can whip some up any day of the week, at home and on the… read more

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Sep 08, 2011

16 Fun Mustache DIY Crafts and Projects

I'm sorta on the fence with the mustache crafts. On the one hand, they're plenty trendy, and on the other, they sorta know their silly, and embrace it. Which is important, cause anyone that takes crafting too seriously is cruising for a glue gun-induced bruising. So, while I'll probably never create an original mustache-y craft how-to, I'm more than happy to share the clever work of… read more

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Sep 07, 2011

DIY Recipe: How to Make Vanilla Almond Milk from Scratch

created at: 09/06/2011

I’m all about fugality when it comes to making things at home. If I can save a few bucks here and there, I’m for it, for its own sake. And then there's the other obvious benefit to being crafty in the kitchen: you know exactly what’s going into your food. 

Such items like nut and soy milks can get pretty expensive, and though they may be quoted as organic, there are still additives to extend shelf life. The result is a lackluster product that usually falls short of the “make at home” kind of stuff. Which, on the other hand, is rich, creamy, and will keep a few dollars in your pocket to splurge on some really awesome summer produce or other seasonal… read more

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Sep 07, 2011

How To: Make Crunchy Asian Pickled Green Beans

created at: 08/29/2011

I’ve been doing a lot of canning this summer because I really like the combined elements of food and craft. Plus, there’s something to be said about looking at a cupboard full of preserved fruits and vegetables in your kitchen during the middle of some future snow storm. There’s no better feeling. But what about your lonely fridge that’s craving some of-the-moment produce right now? That's what fridge pickling is for. No bulky canning tools, worrying about acidity levels, or boiling water necessary. Instead, you replace those with the satisfaction of getting to eat your produce the next day by following a few simple steps

Some people like to pickle cucumbers, but to me there is nothing better than a crunchy pickled green bean. Add some Asian flavors, and you won't be able to keep your hands out of… read more

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Sep 06, 2011

Why Men Die Before Women... (14 Photos)

I know, I know...this is a little email forward-y. But, I've made a lot of mistakes when DIYing and making stuff, and have had to start over from silly errors, or being underly cautious. I guess it makes me feel better to know that at least I didn't do this:

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Sep 06, 2011

How To: Make Stitched & Stenciled Handmade Greeting Cards

created at: 08/31/2011

I may be a crafty guy, but my drawing skills are basically nonexistent. I can barely draw a stick figure that would be discernible to the average eye. Or, maybe it's just that my artistic skills are so abstract that no one understands them. Yeah, I'll go with that. Regardless, spray paint is much more my game-it's simple to use, and hard to screw up.

That being said, it can be frustrating to get crafty when spray painting is the extent of your artistic ability. I love my colorful aerosol cans, but they can only do so much. This is where my new best friend, stencils,… read more

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Sep 06, 2011

Incredible Handmade Paper Objects and Gadgets

UK artist Jennifer Collier creates "fabrics" from recycled paper, and then uses them to recreate household objects. "The papers are treated as if cloth, with the main technique employed being stitch; a contemporary twist on traditional textiles. The papers themselves serve as both the inspiration and the media for my work, with the narrative of the books and papers suggesting the forms."

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Sep 05, 2011

How To: Make Bacon Popcorn

created at: 08/29/2011

I love bacon. No surprises there. It’s amazing and it goes with everything—eggs, brussel sprouts, waffles, relish; the list goes on and on...

The truth is: everyone loves bacon. And with good reason. It's salty, smoky, fatty, crispy...and straight delicious So, why not merge it with something equally awesome, like popcorn? That’s right. It's happening, and it's really effing awesome. So, loosen your belt a few notches and get ready to dig… read more

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