A Homemade Contraption Kit


My super-creative friends Margaret McCartney and Jeff Rotter came up with a Christmas gift for their son that would be the perfect birthday present for any imaginative kid: a homemade Contraption Kit.

From Margaret:

My son Felix is obsessed with building contraptions. Rube Goldberg-style machines that may or may not actually function. Just before Christmas, he made a spinning propellor gizmo using a plastic teapot, a rubber band, and the armature of a tiny paint roller. We wanted to give him a gift this Christmas that would encourage him to keep creating and building. Using a host of items my husband bought at the hardware store and a toolbox, we put together this customized Contraption Kit.

Margaret, an illustrator and surface designer (check out her inspiring website here), hand-cut this lettering out of metallic tape for a label.

She also made labels for all the compartments — helpful at cleanup time!

Everything in its place!

The bottom layer.

Here are the contraption-friendly items that they included:

    • PVC pipe and connectors
    • dowel rods
    • boards
    • bolts
    • eye bolts
    • nuts
    • wire
    • rubber bands
    • electrical tape
    • magnetic tape
    • magnet
    • ruler
    • pulley
    • rop

They drilled holes in the pvc tubes and boards so that they could be fitted together using the dowels as connectors. So clever! Next they’ll add the following items to the kit: casters (wheels), a small motor and large wood base for structures.

The kit has kept Felix busy for hours at a time!

Thanks for the inspiration, Margaret and Jeff!


Comments (4)

  • Felix, you’re a star! Jeff and Margaret always inspire me as well. :)

  • I hope Martha plans to give one of these to Jude. The small toolbox and tools my Dad gave me when I was seven was treasured for years. I still have my own tools and toolbox that I discourage my husband from using because he does not put things away. One of the best things I sent with my daughter at college was her own toolbox and tools. More than once if I was invited to one of my HS student’s graduation parties I would give them a toolbox outfitted with tools. It was always a hit, if not right away later I would hear how helpful and handy it proved to be to them at school.

  • Such creative parents. Lucky kid!

  • I am totally going to use this for my 6 year old son who seems to have every toy but really doesnt enjoy them for longer than 5 minutes. He is going to love this.
    The PVC pipe is a great idea too- so cheap- and you could buy big one and he could make it into a car tunnel-

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