Saturday, December 27, 2014

Homemade Skylanders Shelf

Hi everyone. Happy Holidays! Happy New Year!

Our very own Skylanders shelf
My younger son is a huge fan of Skylanders. I've posted here before about Skylanders and what a great game it is for kids, since it breaches the wall between virtual video game play, and real physical toy reality.

My younger son watches Skylander Boy & Girl on youtube all the time. No one ever showed him this on youtube. He just uses Google like we all do to search for things he loves. In doing so he found videos made by Skylander dad of himself and his family, and all things related to Skylanders. They are arguably the biggest fans of Skylanders in the world. Here is a link to their youtube page. You can also find them on Facebook.

I often find my son buried in an iPad giggling away at the antics and goings ons of Skylander Boy and Girl and their Skylander-centric family. It's harmless fun. Or so I though. Hehe. On December 23rd, my wife came to me to let me know that our son was very much enamored with this custom built shelf that Skylander dad had built for his kids. The video is on youtube.  Here is the video. If the video does not play, use this link.

So as you can see, the shelf is insanely big and pretty impressive. I'm getting this news on December 23rd. In the video there is a link to another video with rough instructions on how to build the shelf. I'm pretty handy already and have been known to build many custom toys for the kids in the past. I knew I could build it but I was just worried about the wall space. We do not have a big house and wall space is already at a premium here, especially for kids' toys, which are only allowed in the basement boy/man-cave. 

For some reason the video of Skylander Dad explaining how to make the shelf will not embed. Here is the link.

So very early on Christmas Eve my son and I went to Home Depot to price out wood and see how we could best build or buy something similar. 

At Home Depot very early on Christmas Eve 2014
So once we were at Home Depot I could see that the project was not going to be too difficult. Many problems with custom built projects arise when the wood needed to build the project is too large to get home. Home Depot too, never seems to have enough people staffed to easily get wood cut down quickly. The place is nothing like the commercials. Luckily we found 6-foot long, 4-inch wide pine boards. Skylander Dad used spruce, which is slightly cheaper. I could have picked up 8-foot length pre-painted pine boards, but that was more costly. Mostly I did not get the pre-painted white boards because they were 8-feet long and I could not fit that in my car. I knew I'd have to paint the shelf myself. Not a big deal.  I then grabbed 2 boxes of 2-inch wood screws. I only needed 1 box but I hate going back if I did not buy enough. Extra screws are always handy to have, too.

I already have a drill and a jigsaw, so once I was home building the project went quickly. I also don't like spending 100 hours on a project. Getting something done quick at an 85-95% quality is way more important that spending countless hours getting it to 99-100% quality. 
Building the shelf in the basement
I was not going 8-feet wide like the Skylander Dad did. 6-feet wide was as big a space as we had, anyway. I also decided I was not going to mount the shelf from the wall either. I did not like the wooden board running through the Skylander Dad shelf. After the shelf was done I placed it atop 3 small drawer units we already had on the floor. I then found 2 studs in the wall and used 2 L brackets to secure the shelf to the wall so it won't topple over. Simple. 

The shelf went on the wall later in the day on Christmas Eve. Every Skylander we own, and the new ones Santa delivered were put onto the new shelf on Christmas day.

Fast forward to December 26th and we went out for paint and colored craft paper. I had originally wanted to use pressboard for the back on the shelf and paint the colors for each element. The pressboard I would have needed to buy at Home Depot was too big to get home. I know from experience that the colored paper will not last. I used the colored paper anyway. It was easier and faster. I could not find my staple gun (which is still bothering me) but regular staples luckily worked fine on the soft pine. 

Here are the final shots of the shelf in it's various stages. We still need to make the element cards for each shelf. Maybe later today I'll get to that. :) 

Logos printed and mounted to foam-core

Thanks to the TheSkylander Boy & Girl and Skylander Dad over at youtube. You gave us a great project to make together that we will always have and a memory we will never forget. 

We also put all the Skylanders cards into a binder finally so that they will not get lost. Enjoy!