What better way for small children to spend a sunny afternoon than throwing large pointy things around the garden?
Throw in some Hollywood branding and a dash of illegality, and life is perfect.
I was astounded to find that, in a country where only freaks and weirdos don't carry handguns, the sale of lawn darts has been banned on health and safety grounds.
Naturally, I had to make a set.
Even more naturally, as soon I saw the shape, I knew they had to be styled after the Minions from Despicable Me!
Step 1: Materials and Tools.
To make the basic darts, all you need are two-litre soda bottles, six-inch nails and some sort of space-filling glue (I used hot glue, but a two-part epoxy would do just as well).
All you need tool-wise is a sharp knife.
To Minionise your darts, you will need blue and yellow paint (I used Brand X auto paint), a black marker, and a print-out of a pair of Minion goggles. To protect the print-out, I also used a spray-on clear lacquer.
Step 2: Trimming Bottles
For aerodynamic balance, the bottles need to be shortened.
I found, after a bit of experimentation, that shortening the bottles by about a quarter worked nicely.
Step 3: Adding Points
The six-inch nails need to be poked through the bottle caps.
How you make the hole is up to you (I just drilled it with the point of a blade), but you need to make it a tight fit around the nail.
When you push the nail through, don't push it all the way through, leave about a third of an inch projecting inside the cap. Fill the cap with your space-filling glue, and screw it straight onto the bottle. When the glue sets, it will hold the nail rigidly in place.
Step 4: Finished, Part One.
You now have a working set of lawn darts, and you can stop reading this instructable here if you want.
Go outside, and start throwing your darts.
If you want to make Minions, read on...
Step 5: Prep for Painting
This strp depends on what paint you are using. You may need no prep at all, you may need several steps.
I just lightly scuffed the surface of the bottles with sandpaper.
Step 6: Skin
Minions are mostly yellow, so paint the whole bottle yellow. Depending on your paint, it may take more than one coat.
Make sure you allow the paint to dry properly between coats, and especially before moving on to the dungarees.
The nails make a convenient holding point.
(At this point, the weather was fine, so I pinned out a sheet of plastic on the lawn to do the spraying)
Step 7: Dungarees
To paint the dungarees, I used newspaper to mask off most of the Minion, and prayed the blunt end blue.
After a couple of coats, I cut a rectangle out of the edge of the newspaper to spray the bib.
In hind-sight, I should have cut out the bib at the start, and sprayed the whole dungarees at once. I should also have taped the edges down with masking tape...
Step 8: Goggles
You could draw your goggles on, but I have no art skills, so I downloaded goggles that I found online, already scaled for turning soda bottles into Minion bowling pins.
Print them out, cut them out, then glue on the bottles.
Unfortunately, the strap part of the print-outs was not long enough to go right around the bottle, so I had to add an extra strip of paper, coloured in with Sharpie.
Step 9: Detailing, or "Hiding a Multitude of Sins"
Time for the marker pen!
Start by drawing in a small smile.
To me, that was enough, but you could also add hairs, dimples, or even hands. Go with your gut and your artistic abilities.
Because of my poor choices at the masking stage (newspaper instead of proper masking tape), the edges of the dungarees on a couple of the minions were tatty - sprayed blue paint, and stuck-on newspaper.
Using Sharpies to add an edge to the dungarees hid a lot of the mess from a casual glance.
Step 10: Finished, Part Two.
There you are, now go play!
I find that a high, over-hand lob is best for ensuring the Minions land point-first, but if your lawn is very dry, they wont stick in at all. Take them to the beach instead.
How you play is up to you, and depends on your situation - size of garden, size of players etc. Try laying out a hula hoop as a target, or just aim for a particular patch of dead lawn.
Six inch nails may not be very sharp, but they will hurt when falling from a height, or encountered unexpectedly. Keep an eye out for passing toddlers and pets, and don't try throwing them straight up in the air above a crowd...
Second Prize in the
Maker Family Contest