DIY designs have been taking the design world by storm! Especially with COVID-19 restricting us to our homes, building things purely with our hands, putting our sweat and grit into it, and watching a design roar to life in front of our eyes, has become the new pass time for many of us. But these DIY designs are more than just your run-of-the-mill products made using discarded water bottles, and paper! These are innovative, complex, and highly functional product designs that cater to a variety of our needs, but are also really simple to put together. It’s the best of both worlds. From a sustainable helmet made from mushroom to a DIY wooden bicycle – each of these nifty designs will get your creative juices flowing, your hands moving, as well as definitely add some value to your life. Which of these unique DIY designs would you try building at home?!
1. NASA-inspired airless bike tires
Popular DIY and science YouTube channel, The Q took his viewers through the process of replacing his bicycle’s traditional rubber tires with a set of airless ones put together with an old PVC pipe and some nuts and bolts. Before constructing his airless tires, The Q was sure to pick a PVC pipe that had enough density to support a rider and ride well on different terrain. Settling on a ½” thick PVC pipe, The Q then sliced the PVC pipe into two-inch wide rings. From there, the DIY YouTuber connected all of the rings into a single link after drilling three holes into each and joining them together with nuts and bolts.
2. The Grow It Yourself Helmet
This mushroom helmet will grow on you as it grows. Yes, read this slowly and carefully: this mushroom helmet will grow on you as it grows. “What do you mean?!” you say and I assure you that statement is not wrong, there is an explanation for it. The Grow It Yourself Helmet is a sustainable product made from mycelium which is the vegetative part of a fungus. Mycelium is the thready hyphae that are tightly woven into mass branch-like networks making it a strong sustainable material. The network of filaments are natural binders and they also are self-adhesive to the surface they grow on. The entire process is based on biological elements that help in upcycling waste. The process of making this helmet also gets the kids involved in a meaningful activity that teaches them about sustainability and safety.
3. James Webb Space Telescope DIY Model
Etsy maker Houha Designs created an incredibly detailed scaled-down model of the James Webb Space telescope that you can buy and build from scratch! The entire model comes flat-packed and is laser-cut from sheets of Mat board (or metal-lined paper board) that need to be glued together. The skill level for assembling the telescope is rated between intermediate to advanced, and suitable for ages 14 and up. When completed, the telescope and its oblong hexagonal base will measure 8x5x5 inches overall.
Countless indoor garden designs have also emerged to help enliven our WFH spaces and make them more intimate. One of the latest, a LEGO-inspired indoor garden called Planterior by designer Dasol Jeong merges LEGO’s building blocks with the frame of a bulletin board to create a unique, modular garden system for any WFH space. Planterior keeps the shape and size of a traditional bulletin board and integrates a gardening system into its structure to bring greenery to any workspace. Describing Planterior’s inspiration in their own words, Dasol notes, “Due to the influence of fine dust and COVID-19, people, who do not have the opportunity to access plants outdoors, are increasingly putting plants into their homes…Home gardening and plant territories are gaining vitality [as a result].”
5. The Stair Cubby
The Stair Cubby, as it was christened, can be assembled without the use of tools, with tabs simply going into slots and held down with pegs. The cubby is designed to sit on two steps of stairs, but the panel on the back can slide up and down to adjust to different stair heights. The storage has five open-access cubbies for shoes, books, and any other item that can fit inside, keeping things organized and out of harm’s way. The choice of wood ensures that it will have enough rigidity to support heavier objects while still looking stylish on top of any staircase design. According to the designers, a single 1/3 sheet of 4×8 plywood is enough to make three units, so there isn’t a lot of wasted material.
This bicycle made of plywood was created with an intent to get more people to focus on sustainability. The open-source design is called ‘Openbike’ and despite the obvious problems that come with a bike made from plywood, it is still an affordable and lightweight alternative to those who want to live on a budget but are also eco-conscious. The multidisciplinary Spanish design studio wants to reduce carbon emissions in cities by empowering people with technology which is why they made Openbike so that the files can be downloaded and fabricated by anyone in the world.
7. Kikkerland Design’s Make Your Own Music Box Kit
Kikkerland Design’s Make Your Own Music Box Kit comes with everything you might need to compose your own tune and listen back to it. Complete with strips of lined music paper, each user has the opportunity to make their own music by hole punching the music paper with melodies and harmonies for the music box to capture and reproduce. Describing the process, Kikkerland design notes, “The easy to use Music Box hole puncher allows you to create your own melodies on lined paper strips and play them on the mechanism provided.”
Meet Woodsum, a camera that champions this very simplicity. Designed to work without batteries, the Woodsum camera captures images on a 35mm reel of film. It uses a pinhole lens instead of those fragile glass lenses… and it’s a device so simple, you could literally build it yourself. In fact, Woodsum comes absolutely unassembled and your first photography project is, in fact, to build the camera! Entirely made from laser-cut pieces of wood that you assemble together, the camera comes complete with a pinhole lens, shutter, viewfinder, film-holder and winder, camera grip, a tripod mount, and even an eyelet to tie your camera-hanging leash around! It uses no lenses (thanks to the pinhole construction) and works completely without batteries or electrical components.
9. The MagnetCube
Using a transparent framework of pillars and beams held in place by magnets, MagnetCube gives you the joy of building first, and then of playing. The cube format lends itself to two different games – a multiplayer game called CubeClimbers, or a rollercoaster-building game called Liftpack. CubeClimbers is all about ascent and starts by building a tall multi-level structure by snapping the cubes together to make a pixelated mountain with steep ascents and drops. The mountain is then explored by small plastic climbers, who either climb up or fall down based on what the roll of the die says.
10. That Stool
Developed by Alondra Elizalde, That Stool is a flatpack DIY small stool designed with easy assembly to provide a practical means of having a stool anywhere, at any time. That Stool is comprised of only a few parts: a seat rest, five legs, a couple of star-shaped spindles, and some connecting nuts and bolts. All contained within a flatpack corrugated cardboard box, the parts of That Stool are easy to assemble with no additional hardware required. Following the imprinted instructions on the underside of That Stool’s top cover, users will first attach each leg to the corresponding screws on the star-shaped spindles. From there, connecting fasteners secure the legs and spindles in place, providing a sturdy bolster for the seat rest to mount.