Gamer DIY and Real Life Crafting

Posted by Lisa Galarneau on December 3, 2013 in Gaming Lifestyle -- Share:

One of the things I love most about gamers is how incredibly creative so many of them are. In this article we’ll explore the worlds of Gamer DIY and crafting and offer step-by-step tutorials for creating your own gamer art, crafts, baked goods, case mods, fashions, and decor.  One of the things I’ve discovered about creative projects is that you might have to try a few things in order to discover which materials and methods you like best.  For some it’s knitting or crocheting, for others it might be baking or 3-D printing.  Don’t be afraid to experiment!!

And yes, we  have a Pinterest board for gamer DIY! Another great blog for wonderful gamer DIY and crafts is Wonderland.

Gamer Crafts

Imagine it, and it is likely that some crafty gamer has made a version of it. But don’t let this sway you – you can iterate on existing ideas, or make up some new ones of your own.

Need something super easy to get started with?  Here are some fun ideas for creating tissue boxes with gamer themes.  You’ll need boxes and a printer, or just glue paper to the sides and top (making a hole for the tissue to come out) and decorate with paint or markers to your heart’s content.

In general, papercraft is a low budget way to flex your creative muscles.  Here are some adorable angry birds made from just paper.   A tutorial for getting started with papercrafting:

 
Using paper and downloadable templates, you can also create your own paper and card stock games:

 
Polymer clay is another fun beginner option.  Using Fimo or Sculpey, you can sculpt your favorite characters and scenes, then bake them for long-term preservation.  Here’s a tutorial for creating clay figure models:

 
Perler beads are yet another excellent medium for game-related crafts and art. You can buy the beads at Amazonor your local craft store.You can also post your creations for all to admire, or even consider setting up an Etsyshop with your own items.

Art

Learning how to mount or wrap images onto canvas or plywood is a quick and low-budget way to quickly fill your space with a ton of nice looking art.  You can create or download high-resolution images (at least 300 dpi) and print them as a poster from your own printer (this will create multiple pieces of paper you assemble like a puzzle), or you can take your high-res file to Kinko’s or another printing shop and have them print the exact size for your canvas.  Once you’ve got the print-out, use spray adhesive to mount it, then finish it with a gloss acrylic varnish, or even ModPodge.  Decoupaging gives you tons of options:  you can even make collages of images taken from magazines or printed online.

Watch this video to see how ModPodge works for adhering paper to wood:

 
You can also transfer your images to the wood using a laser-printed image and an iron:

 
You can also decoupage images of your choice onto furniture:

 

Wood-working

A step-by-step tutorial on how to make a gamer ocarina (for the Zelda fan)…

DIY Tetris-inspired furnishings...

If board gaming is your thing, you can easily begin making game boards and pieces yourself.  Here’s a tutorial for making your own wargaming table:

 
And, the creme de la creme, a playable NES controller coffee table

Baking

This could be one of the most satisfying DIY projects you could try, and trial and error is to be expected.  Even if it doesn’t look great it will probably still taste delicious!

SuperMario Fire Flower cookie tutorial:

 
Step-by-step instructions on creating piranha cake pops…Minecraft Creeper and Steve cookies:

 

Case Modding

Modding a PC is one of the coolest ways to show off your gamer genes.  Check out this gallery of 31 great case mods to get your creative juices flowing, or check out these beauties showcased at CES 2013.  Need tutorials?  Try YouTube or sites like XtremeSystems

I love this steampunk mod… or why not make low-tech a fetish?

Here’s a custom lights tutorial:

 
And this might just be the most impressive case mod I’ve seen:

 

Fashion, Fabric and Cross-Stitch

One of the big trends these days is hand-painted shoes.  You could also decoupage or iron-on a favorite image that you print onto transfer paper.  There are high-fashion versions for inspiration, as well, as this gallery of geeky gaming pumps shows.

 
The wiki at SpriteStitch is full of patterns for game-related crafting projects…

Decor

Another easy project are these Pac Man inspired cork boards.  You can make your own using thin cork you can get at the art or craft store.  You’ll want to trace your design on the cork, then cut carefully using an Exacto knife.  If you break the cork, don’t worry, you can always glue it back together and then paint it.  The cork will work just as well.

Stained glass is another medium you can consider if you’re the patient, meticulous type.  You can make pieces to hang on the wall or in windows.  YouTube is a great place to find tutorials, and there are typically classes offered in just about any city.

 
Too much work?  Settle for this Zelda-themed stained glass decaland focus your creative energy elsewhere!An adorable 8-bit heart pillow with instructions for creating your own.  Or, crochet your own game-inspired throw.Soap and candles are another area to explore.  You can use pre-purchased molds, or create your own.

 
Finally, these robotic lamps are extra cool, and decals (I love these doors!) are another easy way to quickly transform your space.  Or take inspiration from the girl who transformed her bedroomto look like PORTAL.

3-D Printing

Finally, the world of 3D printing is quickly transforming crafting and DIY for many people.  To see how 3D printers work, check out this video:

 
To buy your own printer, check out MakerBot or Ultimaker.  They’re currently about $1500, but prices are sure to drop, and the possibilities are truly endless.  They’re even making actual working body partsusing 3-D printers!Here is one idea for game-related bits you can 3-d print:

 
There are also some beautiful game charactersthat have been 3-D printed.Finally, a tutorial for a print-your-own castle siege game…

In upcoming articles, we’ll be covering gamer holiday crafting and events, gamer weddings, and I’ll be doing a collage tutorial.  Let us know if you have links or ideas we should include!

Written by

Dr. Lisa Galarneau is a socio-cultural anthropologist, futurist and games researcher. She's been playing video games since 1981 (Pong!) and loves adventure-style games, RPGs, online games, simulations and anything novel. Her love for games has been passed onto her gamer kid, and she spends a lot of time observing and pondering the future of games.

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