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Interview – Scott Bedford

Made By Dad Cover.inddI interviewed Scott Bedford from the What I Made blog and author of the new book “Made by Dad: 67 blueprints for making cool stuff.” The book features cool projects you can make with your kids. But don’t worry the book also includes drawn instructions so you can’t screw them up (which I did, ugh me and glue, don’t get me started).

How important is the comic book ethos to your work?

Even though the hand drawn instructions that accompany all my projects could be described as being cartoon like, it’s actually the project ideas themselves that have been more inspired by the comic book ethos. I grew up with Whacky Races, Stop the Pigeon and Roadrunner cartoons – I loved the crazy machines and gadgets portrayed in them and tried drawing my own, and when I was a bit older making them in my Dads workshop. The One-TON-lampshade is definitely “Wile E. Coyote” inspired!

What or who or some of your artistic and DIY influences?

I really can’t underestimate the influence of the Hanna Barbera Whacky Races cartoon – I spent endless hours as a kid trying to draw my own machines, I guess that’s how I developed a drawing style that is somewhere between a technical drawing and a cartoon! As far as DIY influences go, there are just so many sources of inspiration these days – whether it be Make: magazine, instructables.com, or unique blogs like Bent Objects. However, I never start there. For me projects begin organically, perhaps something just pops into my mind, or my boys are doing something that triggers an idea, either way, I very rarely start by looking at what other people are doing first, I prefer inspiration to come at a more sub-conscious level.

What was your initial motivation in creating your DIY craft world?

Two incidents got me back into making things. Firstly, to keep my son from getting bored on a visit to Starbucks I made a little house from the wooden stir sticks – it worked, he spent 10mins trying to make his own one and this became one of the first projects I blogged about. Secondly, my same son had to build a spaghetti and marshmallow tower (with the help of parents) as part of a school science project – his tower won, and I decided to share the design with the blogosphere, this continued the chain of events that eventually ended up in the creation of “Made by Dad”.

I know we can’t pick favorite kids, but do you have a favorite project (Mine is the 1-Ton Lampshade)?

Ha ha – yes, it was the last project I made, and it’s one of my favourites as well! The “Bunk-bed communicator” also tickles me, as does the “Eating Nemo” project, which was much adored by my two nieces (to my surprise).

From some of your designs it feels like you may have gotten hurt a couple of times creating these crafts, is that true?
Oh… I hope I haven’t created the impression that these projects are dangerous! No, I survived all 67 projects with nothing more than a paper-cut – but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to be careful when using equipment like a craft knife or hot glue, however, with close supervision even older children can be shown how to use these tools safely.

What are the rules for how long parents need to keep an art project?

Wow… that really is the million dollar question! For us space is a key factor in deciding what stays and what goes. Drawings are easy to pack away, so we keep lots of those, small crafts (such as fridge magnets made out of modelling clay) are also kept. However, things made out of cardboard boxes and toilet rolls have their moment of glory on the shelf before eventually finding their way into the trash (but only after a proper photographic record has been made!).

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