How to Make a Laptop (in 17 Easy Steps)

It’s no secret that I’m a hybrid wannabe. Here’s the thing, though: the biggest reason why I don’t do much hybrid stuff is because I never have enough time (or motivation) to get out a whole bunch of yummy, textural stuff then create stuff with actual scissors and glue and rulers and cutters while making sure that my younger kids don’t accidentally, say, touch the hot glue gun and then clean everything up after. Phew! See how tiring that was just to read? Can you imagine actually doing it? (Hybrid experts, I salute you!) 😀

So when one of my sons takes home a school project that requires parental participation, I sigh and scratch my head, but really, I’m secretly delighted because I have no choice! I have got to get down on my knees and put my hybrid skillz (whatever little I have 😉 ) to work!

This weekend, it was my six-year-old boy’s turn to be my school-project-partner. The task: Create a toy laptop using at least 5 different recycled or old materials.


Well then… there was nothing to do but get to work! (And maybe get the camera out, too, so that in case you ever find yourself having to create a toy laptop from recycled materials, you just might find some cool ideas here! 😉 )

STEP 1: Do the caveman thing: hunt and gather!

First order of the day: Collect all the junk you can get your hands on. Never mind if you won’t end up using half of them. It’s just nice to know that you’ve got enough junk to create with (and by using them, you make space for even more junk to collect! Win!)

STEP 2: Have the essentials ready.

Essentials in this particular case would be the project instructions, your hand-drawn diagram of what the finished project might look like, a list of possible materials to use for each part, and yes, that ever-essential super-mug of coffee (or Diet Mt. Dew or hot cocoa, or whatever makes your little hybrid heart happy).

Step 3: Rule it!

Grab the biggest carton that you can find. (I knew there was a good reason to hold on to that box of my laptop stand! 😆 ). Get the metal rulers out (a metal ruler doesn’t get nicks like plastic rulers do, in case your cutter decides to get naughty and cross paths with it). Start trimming off the edges you won’t need.

Step 4: Get a super-cute hybrid helper.

Just because it’s always fun to work with a cutie. 🙂

Step 5: Slot it.

Cut little slots into the sides to create flaps, which will then become the fortified sides of your box.

Step 6: Nip and tuck.

Or, actually, fold and tuck… the sides of the box. Use masking tape to keep the flaps down, in case your carton is thick and refuses to stay down.

This is going to form the body of the laptop. (I’m just sayin’… you know… just in case the box starts to resemble something a pizza would be delivered in… which I think it kinda did for a while. And that’s how I knew we needed to break for a snack 😆 ).

Step 7: Tape and cut.

Oookay. When your tummy is settled and happy, get one side of an old gift box and measure it so that it fits inside your main carton. This will form the base upon which your keyboard will rise. 😉

Tape the sides of the keyboard base. Then cut out 4 strips (measured to fit in the inner part of the other side of your main box). The leftover carton trimmed from the box comes in handy for these little pieces.

Step 8: Got foam?

If your old box came with packing foam inside it, like mine did, do the happy dance! If it didn’t, any semi-stiff material that you can find lying around will do the lift-up job.

Let me explain the how’s and why’s:

Cut up strips of foam and stick them around the sides of the keyboard base. Oh, and the middle part too! This will take care of the extra cushioning you’ll need so that the keyboard base doesn’t lurch inward once eager kid-fingers start “typing” on the keyboard.

Step 9: Bring out the gun.

Turn the keyboard base over, take your glue gun and shoot glue over the sides where the keyboard edges meet with the lower part of the carton.

Step 10: Slice and dice.

Take the leftover carton and cut little strips for the trackpad (scissors come in handy for curving the corners of the trackpad) and then cut the strips into little squares to form the keys.

Stick all of these temporarily with masking tape on any expendable piece of carton, just so you can see how the keys will all line up (plus it makes it much easier to paint them, which is the next step coming up).

Step 11: Go forth and spray.

Step outside into the great green garden, carrying old newspapers to protect the grass… and spray away with old paint left over from various projects.

Step 12: Be Sharp(ie)!

When the paint has dried, take your Sharpie pen and write the letters and symbols of the keys on the little painted cardboard squares.

TIP: It helps to copy from a real laptop! 😀

Step 13: Monitor, monitor.

Print out whatever image you want to use as your monitor image. For our project, I transformed my Facebook page into my son’s using Photoshop. I replaced the profile photo strip with photos of him working on the project. I included an imaginary conversation between his teacher and him, which was a great place to list all the materials he used on the project. 😀

Step 14: Have an apple.

Print out your logo, cut, and paste on the cover of your “laptop.” (I briefly considered using a mango or some other tropical fruit, but Apple won in the end. Hahaha).

Step 15: Watch the wires!

Take a pipe cleaner and bend it a bit. Stick this onto a strip of black leftover carton (folded in half to create both sides). Tape a tiny piece of cut-off pipe cleaner to form the other metal side of the plug. Stick back and front sides of folded carton with glue gun.

Step 16: Check it out!

Check if your laptop looks fine. Do a whoop and a victory battle cry together with your cutie hybrid helper!

Step 17: Fall in love…

… when you see the look of sheer delight and excitement on your little project-partner’s face!

And voila! You’re done! Wooooooot!!!

PS. And if it looks like your little ones aren’t going to sleep early that evening because they’ve “got work to do” on their laptop, don’t say I didn’t warn you! 😉

365 in 2011

Project 365 isn’t new: it’s been going on strong for at least five years. Capturing the hearts of photography enthusiasts, hobbyists, and those who simply seek to document their daily lives, this project of taking a photo every day for an entire year is the perfect way to record the moments that make up your life (with the happy side-effect of improving your photographic skills while indulging in your passion for clicking your shutter!).

Two years ago, I half-heartedly attempted to do this project ( and by saying half-heartedly, I mean not that I didn’t want to do it but that I knew I had so much on my plate both design-wise and real-life-wise that I knew I wouldn’t be able to prioritize it). So not much came out of that attempt. I took photos, a lot of them, as always, but not on a daily basis. And the whole point of Project 365 is that you end the year with a daily photographic documentation of your life.

The thing about Project 365 (or any project, for that matter) is that you need to fully commit to it. 😉

Then last year, on a whim, I decided to join my brother as he began his Project 365 in the middle of the year (hey, if one is brave enough to start a project with half of the days in the years gone, how can that not be inspiring?). Recalling how unsuccessful I was the year before, I decided to wade into the project without feeling the paralyzing pressure of committing to a whole year’s worth (can you tell there’s still a bit of the rebellious little teenager left in me? 😆 ), I came up with my own version of the project. Thankfully, my By-The-Month project turned out to be successful: I actually succeeded in taking a photo every day for a month! Yay!

That gave me the impetus to pull up my sleeves and dip my arms into a full-blown commitment to see Project 365 in 2011 from beginning to end. I hope I’m not tempting any jinxes, but so far, so good! 🙂

It’s the 37th day of the year now, and I’ve got all of my daily photos posted on my FB account, but I figured I’d share them with you right here too in case you’re not on FB (and if you are, why aren’t we FB-friends yet? :lol:). But precisely because we’re friends with or without Facebook connections, I wouldn’t dream of making you suffer, scrolling through all the past photos in one go, so here are the first 10 of the year (and I’ll eventually get them all up here in batches of 10 till I’m all caught up :D).

#001 – Happy New Year!

Considering that they stayed in our country for 300 years and their blood runs in our veins, it is no wonder that we have adopted the Spanish tradition of eating 12 grapes on New Year’s Eve (one for each month of the year).

The jury is out on the grapes, but the champagne was to-die-for. heehee.

#002 – The Motivation

So I spent the first few days of the new year doing my version of spring cleaning (spring into cleaning!)… and here’s the reason why: dual monitors from the hubs. They just make my multi-tasking geeky heart beat faster. 😀 Don’t I just have the best guy in the world?

#003 – Her name is Saika…

… and she came home with me after I had lunch with my dear friends (who happen to be my wedding godchildren too, but–ahem–note that it doesn’t follow that I’m much older than them. hehe)

#004 – Ugly Dolls are rocking our home

Seriously. That’s their name: Ugly Dolls. And we’re housing three of them, one for each of the younger kids. They may be called Ugly but they are uber-loved. LOL.

#005 – Go ahead, you may take your leave.

Go on, out my home, you lethally fattening things. Leave my thighs alone.

LOL. No, really, these were absolutely delish.

#006 – Eat, drink, and be merry.

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded goal, it would be a merrier world. ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Tonight was indeed merry, with great food and great company.

#007 – Who lives in a pineapple under the…

…feet? Sponge! Bob! Square! Pants!

Okay, yeah, some days I really regress because of the company I keep (read: my 3 younger kids). LOL.

We walk barefoot in our home, but today my littlest one came padding into my room in these soft slippers… a gift from Christmas, but since he tore open all the wrappers in a jiffy, I didn’t get to catch who gave them to him. So thank you, anyway, dear Spongebob gifter! He loves them. 🙂

#008 – Bliss

It is a happy talent to know how to play. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

#009 – Terrible Take, Terrific Taste

I didn’t take my camera with me to lunch, so I had to be content with shooting with my Blackberry.

Not a great photo, but this Special Xiao Long Bao wwas wroth the trip to this hole-in-the-wall authentic Chinese restaurant (where those who opt to use spoons and forks take them from a glass of hot water on the table, that kind of thing).

Xiao Long Bao is like dimsum, except it’s eaten from a soup spoon that you fill beforehand with a special vinegar sauce and strips of ginger. You poke the dough of the little ball just a tiny bit to let the “soup” seep out of the bun, then you slurp the entire thing in one go.

Quite a delectable experience. 😀

#010 – Mike & Mox

You fathers will understand. You have a little girl. You’re her oracle. You’re her hero. And then the day comes when she gets her first permanent wave and goes to her first real party, and from that day on, you’re in a constant state of panic. ~ Stanley Banks in Father of the Bride

Join me?

Are you doing Project 365 too? Or the less daunting Project 52 (taking photos each week)? If you haven’t yet, consider this an invitation to join (and link me up in your comments so I can come view your wonderful shots too!)

If this is the first time you’re hearing about it and you’d like to know more about Project 365, you can read more on PhotoJojo (the post includes the wonderful WHY you should do it and tips on how to do it). 🙂

Voila! Till the next photo deluge! 😆 Have a wonderful weekend (or what’s left of it), folks!