Usually I wait until a DIY project is ready for its Pinterest selfie before posting about it, but this airplane project has consumed my life for the past few weeks, and I thought it’d be fun to share a behind-the-scenes look at my crafting world.
So the kindergarten class at Emme’s school wanted an airplane that all the kids could fit inside. In a weird bit of PTA telephone, I at first thought this was a temporary airplane — something the kids could pile inside, have fun, and then forget about when the teacher stored it away for next year. Basically, it had to be big and also packable.
So what does any crafter do when faced with building an enormous fuselage designed to function for a week or so and then be stored away? That’s right.
I initially built a big-ass PVC monstrosity riddled with pipes and wires and duct tape. It probably had the neighbors shaking their heads and wondering: cool airplane or even cooler sex toy?
Hard, er, difficult, to tell.
Then I found out that no, this would not be a temporary installation. The kindergarten class would be using this airplane as their class library. It had to be sturdy enough to survive a day with 5 year olds, and it had to be able to fit a bunch of kids, a bookshelf or two, and some chairs and benches.
I’m on something like the fifth iteration of this project. Initially, it was going to have bent slats for a round fuselage and some beautiful aluminum siding for a true airplane look. Then I started working with tin snips and metal siding and decided that the parents in said kindergarten class probably wouldn’t appreciate all the cuts and scrapes and nicks their offspring would endure each time they set foot in the library. I just didn’t have the know-how to make everything smooth, and with all the sharp corners I started envisioning a lifelong Pavlovian response to reading for all the kids.
“I don’t want to go inside the library! Books will make you bleed!”
So I scrapped the idea of a Spirit of St. Louis-esque metal look and decided to stick to my wheelhouse of crafty knowledge: screwing the shit out of wood. (With drills, you dirty kink.)
It looks really rough right now, but after a bit of sanding and a whole fuckton of paint, it’s going to look pretty good. Sanding and paint can make just about anything purty.
I love doing big projects like these with Emme. We learn so much from each other. She learns, for instance, that I simply cannot speak or answer any questions when trying to do measurement math in my head.
“Would you stop child! What’s 12 plus 4? Gah!”
And I learn that pretty much all of her suggestions are gold. The first big wing I put on top only had one support on each side and just didn’t seem to provide enough oomph for how big the rest of the plane was.
“Add another support on each side, make a little wing on the bottom and go big!” she tells me.
Much, much better.
Over the weekend, someone on our block smelled smoke and pretty soon there were more than 30 firefighters searching for what turned out to be someone’s chimney fire. Afterward, a bunch of them gathered around our open garage and we ended up having a debate about whether to make the front propeller spin (cool!) or not (firefighter calls to school for concussed children who couldn’t get out of the way in time — not cool). Pretty sure that sucker is going to spin. Because why not?
I’ll post more updates about this, especially when I get to the painting. It’s going to look awesome.
Or at least, it better ….