Sunday, November 30, 2008

How To Make a Beer Can Ashtray

Here is a quick article on how to make a beer can ashtray. They work pretty well in a pinch for gifts or decoration, and also make a pretty good party trick.

Be really careful with this one, I cut myself on the sharp aluminum pretty badly. You might want to wear a thick pair of gardening gloves for protection.

  1. Start with a beer can. Drink the beer.

  2. Cut the top off right where the can begins to straighten out (about an inch from the top).

  3. Snip the can from top to bottom into eight even strips. Start by pinching the can in half and making two pieces, pinch again to make four, and once more to make eight. You can vary the number of strips to achieve a different effect, but I like to use eight.

  4. Spread out the strips to make a star pattern.

  5. Take your first strip and fold it over the strip beside it, and below the next one. See the picture below for an example.

  6. Continue folding the strips all the way around by tucking a strip below the next strip. Make sure that it goes over the end of the previous strip.

  7. Continue around the can until you have only one strip remaining.

  8. Take the final strip and tuck it below the first strip. Make sure to go above the previous strip and under the first. If it does not fit, you may need to pull the first strip back a little bit.

Enjoy your new ashtray. Make sure to comment, and post any ideas you might have.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How To Make Some Ghetto Movie Glass

Did you ever wonder how people in movies can break a bottle over their heads or jump through a pane of glass without getting seriously injured? In movies they use a special kind of glass made of sugar. It is usually a pretty involved process that requires some special ingredients and lots of measuring. However, we figured out a simple way to make brown sugar-glass out of things that almost everyone has in their kitchen.
  • 2 cups of water

  • 3.5 cups of sugar

  • 1 cup of maple syrup

That's it! Here is how you make it.

  1. Combine all of the ingredients together in a pot. You probably want to use a taller one than I did, since it will eventually bubble up a lot.

  2. Bring the pot to a boil and move the heat down to low, just to keep it boiling. It is going to smell a lot like pancakes and you are going to seriously crave some. Try to fight the urge to cook and eat pancakes, I couldn't.

  3. Let the pot continue to boil until all of the water is removed. You will know that all of the water is gone when you smell the sugar start to burn and the color start to turn darker. As soon as you smell burning sugar, remove it from heat. You will have lost your craving for pancakes by now. This usually takes awhile, it took me about 45 minutes.

  4. Have your mold ready to pour the mixture into; I used a pizza pan. Be sure that you cover it aluminum foil and spray it generously with nonstick cooking spray. Also be sure to put a hot pad under it so that your surface is not damaged.

  5. Pour the mixture into the mold. It is going to be really bubbly and scary, so be careful. Let it sit out until it is cool to the touch.

  6. Move the mold into the refrigerator and let it sit for at least an hour. Only remove it right before you are ready to use it.

  7. When you are ready to use it, carefully peel back the aluminum foil. It is very brittle and breaks easily so be careful.
  8. And there you have it! You are done!

  9. Go ahead and punch through or head-butt your pane of glass. It breaks and sounds exactly like real glass. Have fun!

    For a less-ghetto version:
  • Use clear corn syrup instead of maple syrup to make clear glass
  • Add a pinch of cream of tartar to the mixture to keep the bubbles down during the cooling process
  • Use a candy thermometer and heat until it reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit instead of waiting for the sugar to start burning.

Have fun, if anyone makes any cool molds, be sure to link pictures in the comments!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

How to Make Your Own (Healthier) Potato Chips:

Everyone loves potato chips. The only things more American are Natural Light and arson. We thought we would share our way of making our own potato chips with you. They are HALF the price, HALF the fat, TWICE the flavor, and TWICE as awesome- plus you can make them any kind of crazy flavor you want to. They are healthier and tastier because they are baked, not deep-fried. Baked chips are expensive in stores, but you can make them for next to nothing.

1) Get some potatoes. I used the little tiny ones, but you can use whatever you have laying around. Experiment to find out which ones you like best.

2) Wash your potatoes. Peel them if you want to, but I like to leave the skin on.

3) Slice the potatoes between one-eighth and one-sixteenth inches thick (about 2-6 mm for you non-American readers), use a mandolin if you have one. Thickness is something that you can experiment with, it's mostly preference, but it has a pretty big effect on cooking time.

3) Put all of your sliced potatoes into a bowl. Add about a teaspoon of your favorite oil (I like olive oil).

4) Toss the potato slices in the oil. Slowly add more oil and toss if you need to. Go with about a teaspoon at a time. Only add enough to coat, if you have oil pooling in the bottom of the bowl, you have added too much.

5) Get a baking pan and cover it with aluminum foil. Spray that foil with your favorite non-stick spray. If you don't the chips will stick, and will be really hard to remove.

6) Lay your oil-coated potato slices in a single layer on the baking sheet.

7) Heat your oven to 400 degrees (F), set the timer for twenty minutes. This isn't the total cooking time, since we will watching them to see when they are done.

8) Put the potatoes into the oven and keep an eye on them. They are done when the edges start to curl up. I like mine a little more crispy, so I left mine in a little longer. It's another personal preference thing that you can play around with.

9) When the chips are done, pull them out and set them aside to cool. If you want to put some seasoning on them, this is the time to do it. Most people will add a little salt, but you can get creative with your toppings. I like mine with some black pepper and Old Bay seasoning.

10) Enjoy your chips!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

How To Remove the Safety from a Lighter

Why would you want to take the safety off of a lighter? There are a lot of reasons- so you can tell your lighter from other people's, to be unique, just to do something when you're bored, but mostly because it gives you a WAY smoother light.

Look at your lighter. Where the safety meets where the flame comes out, you will see two metal prongs that meet in the middle.

Using a pair of pliers, or a screwdriver, or a pencil or anything else you can, carefully pry both prongs up so that they point ninety degrees from their original position.

The safety on the lighter should now protrude slightly. Using your pliers, or just your fingers, grab the safety and pull it back towards the back of the lighter.

Gently wiggle the safety back and out until it comes free from the lighter.

Gently fold the two prongs back down to their original position.

You are now done! Enjoy your improved lighter.

Friday, July 04, 2008

How to Stop Windows Automatic Updates from Restarting Your Computer

Ever get tired of seeing this screen?

It's easier to get rid of than you think. Just pull up Windows Command Prompt (usually Start > Run > and type "cmd"). Just type this following line to stop the annoying screen from popping up:
net stop "automatic updates"

Voila! You are finished.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How To Jumpstart A Car:

So after having to jumpstart a few cars in my lifetime, I figured that all of us needed a good review. Every single time I try to do it, I realize that I forgot how and end up having to find someone else to help me. So after a few attempts (some of them done incorrectly, ouch!), I found this video. Even if you know how, I feel like it it something that all of us should still review.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

How To Make a Pocket Stove from a Soda Can

Introduction: So I'm sure that all of you have seen some of the articles out there about making camping/hiking stoves out of a soda can. I look at them all the time, but they have one big flaw. Most of them don't have enough pictures, don't explain how the stove works, and have very vague directions. I am going to try to write an article that contains all of these things, and is easy to understand. The stove that I am going to show you to make can be used for camping, hiking, sitting around, making light, or just watching stuff burn.


  1. Get two cans. Make sure that they are empty and dry on the inside.

  2. Cut the bottom off of one of the cans. Make a smooth cut (I used a razor blade). The cut should be a little further up the can than an inch.

  3. Do the same with the other can.

  4. On one of the cans, you should crimp the top. Do this by gripping the can with a pair of pliers every half inch and twisting.

  5. Put the two bottoms of the cans together. The crimped can goes on top and inside of the uncrimped can. Press tightly to make sure that there is a good seal.

  6. Use a thumbtack to place a small hole in the lip of the upper can. The metal is fairly thick at this point, so it might take a little bit of force.

  7. Repeat this every 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch all the way around the can.

  8. Place a small group of holes (I used seven) in the center of the can that you just poked the holes around.

  9. Done
How it works:
  • The small group of holes that we cut on the top will be used for filling the stove. You have a few choices of fluid, but you can use any alcohol over 70%, or 140 proof. You can use denatured alcohol, HEET, or even vodka. Whatever works is fine, just don't use anything explosive like gasoline. I am going to use plain rubbing alcohol.

  • Once the can is filled, we are going to cover the group of holes with a penny and fill the "well" that the can makes with our fluid. The penny is used to make sure that the fluid stays in the "well" and does not go into the stove.

  • Carefully light the fluid that is filling the "well".

  • The burning fluid on top of the stove causes the metal that the stove is made of to heat up, which boils the fluid inside. When the fluid starts to boil, it turns into a flammable gas that starts to escape from the group of holes that we punched around the top. The flaming fluid on the top ignites this gas.

  • Once the fluid on top is used up, you end up with just the gas being burned that is coming out of the row of holes. This will continue to burn until the fluid inside runs out, or you cover with something and deprive it of oxygen.

  • Here are some pictures of the stove working: (sorry for the bad picture quality)