For special occasions, instead of buying a gift I prefer to make something. It adds a personal touch to the gift without the receiver being overwhelmed. Also, it is a great alternative when you simply don’t know what to give the person, or when you don’t know the person well enough to give truly personal gift.
For me, it gives me a chance to let out my creative side so it’s a win win.
It was time for me to put my creativity hat on and get to work. As certain special someone‘s birthday was around the corner. Luckily, I already knew what I wanted to give him. To give credit where it’s due, I happened across this video while I was scrolling through Facebook.
It was a video of how to make a sweets dispenser.
The moment I saw it, a light bulb went in my head! Though there were few things that made me cringe, so it needed some tweaking. So I rolled up my sleeve and got to work.
Of course, the end product looked a little different from that, but the idea was there. The things that didn’t sit well with me the most is what the original video used as the “glass box” I could see it warping and I couldn’t have that. Also, the edges where the “thickness” of the material showed bothered me too. The material they used for the base, (no clue what it’s called in English) wasn’t the most sturdy material one could find.
So off I went to a stationery store.
I chose 3mm thick cardboard as my bottom half material, I had visualised the cutting pattern beforehand to make sure I get one with enough surface area. Initial idea was to have as few as possible sides to glue, (which didn’t quite turn out as planned). The store had a station where you could do some work on your material, as I didn’t own a metre long ruler, it was quite handy.I did all the “big” cut at the store and came home to do fine tuning.
I started with the lid, which turned out to be a brilliant idea as my pre-planning had a major flaw. As the original video had rather dissatisfying corners, I wanted mine to overlap in such a way that the sides didn’t meet at the corner and leave a indentation. So measuring one side “longer” by the thickness of the material was a good call, but I had gone one step too far by making the adjacent 3mm shorter. So the joining side didn’t even come close to meeting. Since I had spare bits this was easily fixed. May not have been the case if I started with the bottom half and then realised my mistake.
Next was the bottom half. Where most work went in.
While working with the big part, I realised my initial idea of “folding” the sides wasn’t going to work. Because the material was quite thick, it just looked so messy, I had to cut into most of the thickness so it would actually fold, and that resulted in it falling after few folding and unfolding while I worked on it.
As I had planned to cover the whole things with a adhesive decorative paper, I was not to upset about it falling off, nothing a combination of masking tape and super glue couldn’t fix. Next was working on the front of the dispenser.
I worked on graph paper, to make sure the layout worked. and then used that as a guide to cut grooves onto the cardboard, and then set to work. When it was all done, I realised the massive mis-planning on my part. As I wasn’t doing the “corner ears” as the original video and using a thicker, somewhat heavier material for the “glass box” I wanted the top part to sit in at least few centimetres into the base for support. (originally planned to be about 5cm). Plus I wanted the “divier” of the top and bottom to sit at an angle towards the front so the sweets are guided to where the “dispensing gap” will be.
As you can see in the picture, there is barely 3 cm above the where the dial would go in. Which would not be enough space to work with. It need some major dimension changes. I first thought of making just another front piece with dial a little lower, and the space to get the sweets a little smaller. But then my much of muchness, as my best friend calls it, got the better of me and I made some dimensional changes and cut out all new sides.The top 3 are the left side, bottom and the left side. Bottom two makes the front and the back. The original dimensions were 21x21x15. It seemed a height of 15cm looked a little small, so I took it up to be 20cm. While this was happening, I worked on the base of the inside, I wanted the bottom of the inside to be at level with where I have cut out the gap for the coins and sweets. (again much of my muchness). On the front the two rectangles were cut 1.5m off the bottom edge, so made a base coming up 1.5cm.
This was mainly made by all the spare bits. Not wasting any parts. So I wanted to see how it all looked, roughly put togetherAnother mistake, I forgot about the 3mm from the bottom of the whole base, and also the 3mm from the top of the inner base I was adding on. After some nip and tuck Between that step and the next few, I neglected to take photos. I was eager to get the project done.
As you can see, there is plenty space above the dial with the new front. I also made the opening for the sweets smaller, though tested with men’s hands to make sure you get enough space to grab a sweet or two that drops. (I could fit my whole hand and forearm through there). I lined the inside with crepe paper, wasn’t about to leave it boring cream colour of the cardboard. The choice of colour wasn’t intentional. The crepe paper accessible to me at the time just happened to be red. You can also see the divider is definitely at an angle, too.Though as the crepe paper is fragile, it was damaged during last few steps, I did patch them where it would show. The divider in the “middle”is so that the sweets don’t go to the “coin”side, initially I was planning on making a small box to catch the money. Also, would have cut out fake coins out of scrap cardboard that I thought would be a cute idea to ‘gift’ the receiver as you see fit. (if it was for children, then as a reward for chores etc) but trying to cut a perfect-ish circles out of 3mm thick cardboard was a no joke… I put a hole on that cute idea.
The dial got an extra piece at the back to hold it where it supposed to stay, so it’s not constantly moving all over the place as you turn it, though extra 3mm wasn’t much. I wanted to add a middle piece for extra support but that is in the patch 1.5. (which is still yet to happen, shhh) also the little thin bars you see in all four sides is there to support the divider. The top of the bottom piece and bottom of the top piece. Where the VIP (or VIS) sweets seats.I didn’t get the chance to photograph the workings with plexiglass. As I didn’t own any laser cutters or big tools. I went with scoring and snapping to cut the plexi glass. My friend helped me by landing a manly strength. Though, it doesn’t require a lot of strength, I thought I rather be safe than sorry.
I also had to buy special glue for plexi, which turned out to be more challenging then anticipated as nobody in the hardware store spoke English, or was willing to even try to understand what it is that I was looking for. (I live in Munich, Germany) I would usually ask the certain special someone for help with anything German, but as this was to be a surprise and I didn’t want him wondering why I was in a hardware store and figuring out I was up to something, I had to get creative.
At the end, all worked well. A last trip to a grocery store to buy the important stuffs!2 to 3 bags of sweets later, I was sure I had enough…. The downside of my new dimensions was that the end product turned out to be a monstrosity!
It really went against my nature to do a crappy wrapping, but I wanted to look as hazardously wrapped as possible, as if not much care went in at all.I think I managed. The receiver struggled to find a way to unwrap though, (ha ha) I used double sides scotch tape to put the whole thing together, so that may have been why. The reaction was all I could ask for, as “Where did you find one?” was the response. When your DIY project passes as a store bought product, I count that as a compliment. It made all the effort and over engineering from my muchness worth it!