Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred

Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred

Seriously Geeky Stuff to Make with Your Kids
by David Erik Nelson
November 2010, 360 pp.

Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred is packed with fun craft and toy-making projects for geeks on a budget. Inside, you’ll find illustrated instructions for 24 quirky playthings. Part I: Kid Stuff contains child-friendly projects like the Lock-N-Latch Treasure Chest and a PVC TeePee; Part II: The Electro-Skiffle Band is devoted to homemade musical instruments; and Part III: The Locomotivated showcases moving toys, like a muzzleloader that shoots marshmallows and a steam-powered milk-carton boat.

Each project costs just $10 or less to make and is suitable for anyone, regardless of experience level. As you build, you’ll learn useful sewing and carpentry skills, and the appendix offers a primer on electronics and soldering.

You (and your kids) will have hours of fun making projects like:

  • A simple electric guitar
  • An oversized joy buzzer that (safely) administers a 100-volt jolt
  • Cool, mess-free, screen-printed T-shirts
  • Kites made from FedEx envelopes
  • Booming Thunderdrums made from salvaged x-ray film
  • Classic board games like Go, Tafl, and Shut-the-Box

Whether you’re a mom or dad in search of a rainy day activity, a Scout leader looking to educate and entertain your troop, or just a DIY weekend warrior, the projects in Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred will inspire and amuse you. Now, roll up your sleeves and make!

Author Bio 

David Erik Nelson is a freelance writer and former high school teacher. His fiction has been nominated for a Nebula award and has appeared in Asimov's, The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, and the forthcoming Steampunk Reloaded anthology. He developed the projects in this book at an alternative school with plenty of feedback from his students. He is a contributor to the “Ask the Giant Squid” advice column at Poor Mojo's Almanac(k), a weekly online literary journal.

Table of contents 

Part 1: Kid Stuff

Project 1: Lock-n-Latch Treasure Chest
Project 2: Switchbox: A Soldering Project for Greenhorns
Project 3: The Sock Squid
Project 4: The PVC Teepee
Project 5: Cheap Mesh Screen Printing
Project 6: Shut-the-Box: A Pirate Dicing Game
Project 7: The Ticklebox: Jolt Your Friends!
Project 8: Small-board Go/Tafl

Part 2: The Electro-Skiffle Band

Project 9: X-Ray Talking Drums
Project 10: Thunderdrums
Project 11: Electro-Didgeridoo
Project 12: The Dirt-Cheap Amplifier
Project 13: The $10 Electric Guitar
Project 14: Dirt-Cheap Boutique Effects: The Spring Reverb
Project 15: Dirt-Cheap Boutique Effects: The Blinkie Tremelo
Project 16: Dirt-Cheap Boutique Effects: The Two-Transistor Fuzztone
Project 17: Cigar-Box Synthesizer

Part 3: Locomotivated

Project 18: Cardboard Boomerangs
Project 19: Pop Can Flier
Project 20: Quick-n-Easy Water Rockets
Project 21: Putt-putt Steamboat
Project 22: Jitterbug: Your First Robot
Project 23: FedEx Kites
Project 24: Marshmallow Muzzleloader

Appendix: Electronics and Soldering


"Nelson aims to make each project in Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred an opportunity to develop a new skill that you could apply to other pursuits. Sewing, sawing, silk screen printing, and soldering: Nelson somehow manages to make them all doable."
The Boston Globe (Read More)

"Former high-school teacher David Erik Nelson serves up a helping of fun."
Get Crafty, Good Housekeeping (Read More)

"If you want to spend 2013 with practical hands-on learning experiences, this is is a treasure trove of ideas. Better yet, they're all cheap ideas that you can do without buying a gigantic robotics kit or huge machinery, and there’s enough room to build on the ideas for new inspiration."
Marziah Karch,'s GeekMom (Read More)

"Do-it-yourselfers and other craftspeople who would like to introduce children (their own or borrowed) to the pleasure of using tools and creating things will find a lot to keep them busy within the pages of Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred."
Technorati (Read More)

Kipkay makes The Ticklebox, from Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred. Watch the video here.