Tomorrow is the start of the most glorious thing in the universe: a three-day weekend. With all that time on your hands, you can marathon those DVDs you've been saving, or re-read George R.R. Martin. But there's also another way you could use this long weekend: Building your very own robot, or TARDIS, or Batarang from scratch. Because there's nothing geekier than making something cool with your own hands.
Here are 12 geeky projects you can do yourself, from scratch, over the Labor Day weekend.
1. Build a TARDIS
The internet is full of instructions on how to create your own Police Box. For example, there's the Blue Box Project, which has tons of instructions and helpful diagrams. Also, the instructional video at left is cute and possibly helpful. And then there's the TARDIS Builders Manual (PDF), which is just chock full of helpful details. And here's a video on how to make a TARDIS bookcase. Also, Wiki-How also has instructions that allow you to scale the TARDIS to your personal time travel needs. Or if your cat is the Time Lord of the house, make him or her a TARDIS fort. Unfortunately neither is bigger on the inside than the outside.
There's also a project converts a Barbie doll into your very own mini-Weeping Angel. It requires a lot of hot glue, and the willingness to rip Barbie's arms off.
2. Build a Robot
What better way to spend Labor Day than building your new robot overlords? Head over to Lets Make Robots for your first robot tutorial, which will wind up looking sort of like Wall-E. If all the wires and circuitry intimidate you or you just want a minion to prove your human superiority over maybe the solar powered cockroach virbobot is the project for you.
3. Stock your own Hogwart's Express Trolley
Candy is awesome. Harry Potter is awesome. Combining the two, for a holiday weekend hopped up on sugar, is a great idea. You also win bonus points if your confections gross out all your friends. If you don't mind spending some time in the kitchen and feel adventurous make some jelly slugs, cockroach clusters, or peppermint toads. Or you could make a more normal desert like spotted dick. At left: a video on how to make your own butterbeer.
4. Make a Star Trek Apron
Enjoy your last summer cookouts in style, with your Star Trek apron. You will need to bust out the sewing machine for this one. I don't suggest the red shirt apron though — especially if you're going to be standing next to an open flame while barbecuing. It never ends well.
5. Build a Zombie Terrarium
With fall coming, it's time to move the gardening and zombie-slaying indoors. Using Twig Terrariums cool piece as inspiration, you can design your own little garden of horrors. Set up either a moss terrarium or a more traditional terrarium, and populate it with the undead. Miniatures used for model train sets work well for this, but you're probably going to have to rough them up yourself to create undead characters.
6. Make a Laser Guided Slingshot
The days are getting shorter, but don't let the failing light ruin your aim. This homemade laser guided slingshot could liven up your evening barbeques, or make your neighbors way too easy of a target.
7. Make a Legend of Zelda Triforce Chainmaille Dice Bag
I'm not sure a craft project gets more geeky then this. Legend of Zelda. Chainmaille. Dice Bag. This looks like an excellent tutorial, and a great project for the slightly OCD. As the author says, "Making chainmaille isn't hard. The hard part is actually finishing it."
8. Build a pinhole camera
DIY pinhole cameras combine a science fair project with artistry. Here is a list of 23 separate camera tutorials that can be made for free or relatively little cost. The photos produced have an interesting look and imagine the reaction you get when telling your friends you built the camera.
9. Make an Altoids Solar USB charger
It is still hurricane season — and really, any time of year, a natural disaster could cause long-term power outages. Or maybe you are the kind of person that needs to charge your phone on a camping trip. This DIY solar charger using an Altoid's canister can prepare you for a lack of electricity. There is a tutorial for a standard USB port and an Iphone/Ipod charger.
10. Make a Pool Noodle Light Saber
This super easy light saber tutorial allows you to enjoy your last days of summer dueling it out in the pool. Just add duct tape and a body of water. More tutorials here and here.
11. Create a Portal-themed room
This Portal themed office tutorial could fill your entire weekend with geeky home improvement. If you aren't looking for that much commitment of time and energy you might consider the individual projects: test chamber panel wall with Aperture logo, Cave Johnson oil painting, combustible lemons or light up test chamber sign.
12. Make Your Own Batarang
Live out your Arkham Asylum fantasy with your own Batarang. This folding, plexiglass replica does require some tools to make — but seriously, if you are making this, you are probably into gadgets anyway. This project will provide a nice break when detective mode starts giving you a headache.