MAKER MAYHEM: Low Moments in How-To History

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Maker Mayhem #6

Tin Foil Pigtail Wig: Because mom waited too long to buy you a Halloween costume There was a period in the mid-1970s which many readers of a certain age will remember, when Anita Byrant—the insipid vocalist, former Miss Oklahoma, and infamous anti-gay activist—was hired by the Florida Citrus Commission to appear in a series of TV ads designed to convince the entire country that orange juice “Isn’t just for breakfast anymore.” Although Americans never quite embraced orange juice they way they did soda or powdered drink mixes, the campaign did go some way in pushing orange juice beyond the breakfast table, but the marketing tactic to oversell a product certainly didn’t begin and end with the F

Maker Mayhem #5

Home Target Range: What could possibly go wrong? You don’t need to wait for a surprise visit from an armed robber or a knife-wielding rapist to practice your marksmanship skills in the comfort of your own home. With a trip to the hardware store and a little elbow grease, you can have this bitchin’ rifle range right in your own basement! “If indoor public or club target ranges are too expensive or inconvenient,” this How-To from the late 1950s says, “here is a rugged target cabinet that you can make and set up for a range of your own.” Maybe not so much for beginners; seeing that this cabinet is a Lilliputian 20” wide by 46” tall, made of plywood, and hung with a target a mere 10” square, you

Maker Mayhem #4

Ham Can Crafts: When daddy’s got no money Life is what you make of it, especially when times get tough, and there’s no law that says toys have to be store-bought. So even if dad blows his paycheck at the track and mom’s credit cards are maxed, there’s no reason to pity the boy who’s forced to play with a toy wagon made from a discarded ham can and a used popsicle stick, or the little girl who puts her baby doll to sleep in a bassinet fashioned from the tin that housed yesterday’s lunch. Toys made of kitchen garbage might seem like a Great Depression or a post-war Germany thing, but this How-To dates from space-age 1968, and demonstrates that anyone can turn their trash can into a veritable t

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