Crafting

A Tiny Bit of Mars You Can Hold in Your Hand

A Tiny Bit of Mars You Can Hold in Your Hand

An astronomer friend of mine sent me a very odd package in the mail. The package had seven tiny glass capsules and in each hourglass-like container was a tiny bit of Mars! My friend had purchased these bits of Mars from Galactic Stone and Ironworks and the “bits of Mars” were from a meteorite that was found in Northwest Africa in 2014. There is something truly amazing about holding a t... »

The Green Bank Telescope

The Green Bank Telescope

The Green Bank Telescope is part of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory or NRAO for short. What is special about the Green Bank Telescope is that it is the world’s largest fully steerable radio astronomy telescope. From the NRAO website: The Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, or GBT, is the world’s premiere single-dish radio telescope operating at meter to millimeter wavelengths. Its ... »

Material Science for Cosplay 2: Copper and its Alloys

Material Science for Cosplay 2: Copper and its Alloys

Steampunks and other cosplayers spend a lot of time in the company of copper and its alloys, brass and bronze. Here I hope to throw a little of the science of the stuff your way to make it easier and more rewarding to work with. History Copper was one of the first metals to ever be used by humans. Chunks of it could be found in a workable state lying about on the surface, requiring no mining or sm... »

Design Diaries – Gambit

Design Diaries – Gambit

Yesterday I talked a bit about how very ridiculous the original costume for Gambit was. Today I will talk about recreating the train wreck of a thing. There is a reason that the Gambit that showed up in the Wolverine movie looked nothing like the original. The original costume would look ludicrous on screen. It does not translate to the physical world very well at all. Why they chose to replace th... »

Gambit – Best Worst Costume Ever

Gambit – Best Worst Costume Ever

A couple of weeks ago, my plan to write this post was unseated by a pressing need to comment on the rather more temporally relevant news that Thor is going to be a Lady. Now that nerdsplosion has passed, I can get back to something really important: 90s Gambit. Gambit was my favorite X-man as a kid. He was witty, charming, roguish, and involved in the sort tragically doomed romance with Rogue that... »

sheet of white foamcore on a table, with a roll of tinfoil, roll of black duct tape, glue stick, X-Acto knife and silver embroidery floss on top and a green, gridded cutting mat underneath

Do You Want to Build a Costume?

This year was only my second CONvergence and SkepchickCon, and I’m pretty sure I’m hooked. I felt a bit left out last year because I didn’t have any awesome costumes like the rest of my fellow Labbers, so I brilliantly decided that 8:30pm two days before I was supposed to leave was a BRILLIANT time to decide “yes, costumes now!” I wanted to do something new. I mean, I... »

NSFW Balloon Animals

NSFW Balloon Animals

For reasons too complex and bizarre to explain in full, I found myself needing to learn the craft of ballooning such that I could create sculptures of genitalia to support a lecture series at a museum. Such a ludicrous skill should not be kept secret, so I shall share it here. What follows is a not at all safe for work guide to balloon making. Sperm Let’s start with something tame, a spermat... »

Design Diaries – Quizotron Championship Belt

Design Diaries – Quizotron Championship Belt

Last year at Dragon*Con, Phil “The Bad Astronomer” Plait defeated reigning champion Scott “The Dark Overlord” Sigler at the World Quiz-O-Tron Championship. He proceeded to complain bitterly at the lack of tangible reward. We at Mad Art Lab are nothing if not willing to Pander, so we designed and built a championship belt for Phil. Partly to appease Phil and partly to annoy ... »

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