DIY Bean Bag Launcher

Welcome Inventors! If Thomas Edison had a blog, do you think he would write about his failed light bulb attempts? I do. Today’s post is not pretty, but I’m sharing it because sometimes the best lessons come from the belly flops and face plants.

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I recently went to a play gym where there were bean bag launchers. Talk about fun! I wanted to buy one, but the supervisor said I could make one if I’m handy with a jig saw. Turns out “handy” is a relative term.

 

 

The launcher works – don’t get me wrong. So, if you want to give this a try, pull out a jig saw, an electric drill, some pallet wood (or whatever kind of wood you have handy) and sharpie. Measuring tape also helps, a mason jar lid, and a handful of screws. Be safe!

Cut a board of wood about 2 feet long and 4 inches wide (above). I just cut a board off of the pallet, but you do what works for you.

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Take your mason jar lid, and mark it at the half-way spot on both sides. I made a line all the way down the side so there was blue on the front and the back.

 

 

Use your lid to make two semicircles on another piece of wood. Trace the outside, and cut along the lines you made with your jig saw.

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Measure and mark your long board so that your two semicircle pieces are exactly in the middle. Space them a about an inch from the outside edge respectively. This gets a little bit tricky. I guessed with this part and it worked out fine.

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Choose screws that are the appropriate size to attach the semicircles to the board. That was my fail. I knew the longer screws were risky, but I thought if I put them in at the right angle I’d be in the clear.

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Two screw tips popped out the top of my launcher. Ouch. So, I cut a little piece of wood and put it on the top to make it more safe. Then one of the screws split the extra piece of wood.

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What do we know is always true? When all else fails: duct tape!

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The good news: this puppy works! My turkey bean bag can fly! Mishap modifications are all part of the fun of inventing. Not everything is going to go the way you plan the first time. Or maybe ever. Don’t let the belly flops keep you from learning how to dive.

 

Thank you for sharing your time and any comments! Until next time, enjoy this imperfect, beautiful life and invent YOUR story!

 

Paint Stick Wall Sconces

Welcome Inventors! Oh yes, it’s more fun with paint sticks. It’s the snowball effect – or in this case paintball. Moving on. 😊

These paint stick wall sconces are lightweight and you can give them great personality. They cost next to nothing to make. All you need is a glue gun, paint sticks (these took seven sticks apiece) wood stain and a cylindrical object. I used a candle holder.

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Step 1: Place the glue sticks around the cylinder (if they are printed on one side, be sure to put that side facing in) and hot glue them together. I glued the tops together first and then flipped it over to glue the bottom half.

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Step 2: Stain your sconce. Go outside or to a well-ventilated area, and brush away! If you’ve never stained wood before, people usually go with the grain of the wood, but do what you like. It’s yours! You could also stain your pieces before you glue them together, but I chose not to.

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Step 3: Add your style.

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I liked these with flowers, but I also thought I’d try a night version. They are sconces after all! I mapped out a simple design with pencil and drilled holes in the middle of the sconce.

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I cut the lid of a coffee container to (more or less) make a ledge for my candles, and added a wire on top.

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And now I have a paint stick wall sconce!

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I’m going to play around with some different designs, but this was fun. Let me know how it goes and what you do with your paint sticks. Thank you for stopping. As always, enjoy your day and invent your story!

Why Invent Your Story?

 

Throughout the history of mankind, every culture tells stories. Tales delight, teach, scare, and inspire audiences world-wide every day. I am captivated by stories. That is why I called my website Invent Your Story.

Whether from fiction or non-fiction, poetry or prose, strangers or friends stories are precious. Each person on this planet is valuable, and everyone has a story. Taking time to listen, learn, and grow from experiences with others is one of life’s greatest joys.

Inventing your story means many things, but I want to list a few for the curious. Here are 3 principles of story invention that I find valuable:

  1. Live Your Story: Each day is a story and your adventure is unfolding with every breath and choice. Take hold of your story and your ability to choose what you do with the days you are given.
  2. Tell Your Stories: If you’re a writer, a mechanic, a circus performer, or my Uncle Johnny you have stories to tell. You don’t have to write them, but do share them with others. You will have an impact.
  3. Practice Invention: Invention has two key definitions: 1) something, typically a process or device that has been invented, and 2) creative ability. You are a creation with the creative ability to solve problems, dream, appreciate, develop, and explore. Use your gifts and see what amazing things happen when you invent.

Stories enrich and shape the life of each person alive today. Invention and its powers do the same thing. Some combination of these two powerful elements is my goal each day.

If you’ve read me before, you know what’s coming next. As always, thank you. Now go. Invent YOUR story.