The duct tape roses I made over Thanksgiving were fetching (until they were gummed by the cat), but post-turkey lethargy prevented me from digging into the meatiest projects in “The Best of Instructables” (Make: Books; $34.99). One example: the concrete light bulb wall hook, described as “an excellent excuse for driving a lag bolt into your wall” by its inventor, Ray Alderman. He and it are emblematic of the instructables universe, a blogging community of do-it-yourself-ers, robot-makers, food hackers and techno-geeks who share their crafty ways at Make magazine and Instructables (makezine.com and instructables.com), sometimes selling the finished products on etsy.com, the online bazaar for handmade things.
Then there were the Altoids tin mods (a mod is a modification, like a hack), simpler than hollowing out a light bulb and filling it with concrete, yet still strangely satisfying: a clock, a strobe, a speaker and a tiny guitar, to name just a meager few. And the drainage luge (made from four skateboard trucks and some plywood), designed by Phillip and Mars Shoemaker, a father and son who live in San Jose, Calif., and are fond of inventing and building new sports and things that attack are two specialties.
Here is a handmade world that grows ever more interesting and urgent (Etsy has enjoyed record sales over the last three months, said its founder, Rob Kalin), all the while offering just plain dumb fun.