Once upon a time in land not far away, people are so busy they don’t bother to notice the little things. This is a story about the little things – little people if you will. They are called the Boomers. They are a curious people attracted by the smell of sulfur and the crackle and pop of things like fireworks. A few weeks ago was the US holiday – Independence Day. At my house this holiday includes shooting fireworks. In recent years that has even been at our house. We have a great place to do so, as there is a concrete pad that is open. This year, like any other, after shooting the fireworks, we clean up the yard of the trash.
Before I got to work picking up the trash, I was sitting on my porch. A tiny flash of yellow caught my eye. I started watching and very soon I saw that one of the used fireworks had a strange smaller firework next to it. When I looked over at another bigger firework, I saw a second small firework. I call them strange because we didn’t shoot or light any small fireworks. These were different markings. I kept watching and the small firecracker moved. The second firework had disappeared. I crept up and squatted down next to the big firecracker. The smaller one was still there.
I blinked because I thought my eyes were deceiving me. This smaller firecracker looked to have legs and arms. Is there a spider wrapped around it? I tilted my head to see around it. But no, not a spider but yes, a tiny head with a white hat or cap on its head. “Interesting,” I said. “That explains it.”
“That explains what?” a tiny voice asked.
I looked around to make sure there wasn’t anyone around playing tricks on me. Then said, “Why do you look so strange?”
“Excuse me?” the tiny voice said.
“You don’t look like the firecrackers we used last night. Matter of fact, we didn’t have any your size well, except for bottle rockets and we didn’t shoot any of those.” I replied. “Obviously you got here by walking or flying. Although I haven’t the foggiest idea what you may be.”
He looked up at me looking down and then said, “Hey, do you mind?”
“Sorry, I don’t mean to stare, but I am very curious what is going on?” I said.
“Well, I’m surprised you noticed us. Humans rarely do.” he said. “My name is Bang-Bang Boomer but you can call me Banger, everyone does.” He put out his hand and then looking sheepish as to how that would work.
I leaned down further and very careful moved my finger toward him until it touched his hand and he shook it. “Nice to meet you, my name is Preble. So what are you doing?”
“We decided to build a firework stand. Figure it would be very profitable in our neck of the woods.”
“Oh, how nice. I guess, I will leave you to it. Ok, if I clean up the rest of the fireworks or will you need any of them?”
“No,” he replied.
“Ok, then see you around.”
That first day, I only saw Banger. No matter how many times I looked I didn’t see anything. But on the second day, I sat down on the porch and I saw several of the Boomers. They were very shy. At first whenever they saw me watching, they would hide, but after a week they had grown used to me being around.
I talked with Banger every day. He explained to me what they were doing as I watched the progress of their renovation. They started by putting in floors and ceilings. Next they cut out door and window openings and then installed them. They painted the inside to cover the explosion stains and the plain cardboard.
Banger explained that they were going to set up a shop in the used up firework. It wouldn’t be a normal shop like you or I might think of, but one for them to shop in.
As I watched them remodel, I became a familiar face to them and they weren’t afraid of me anymore. So as the days passed I would meet new boomers every day. Every one of them had their own personality and job to do.
Sparky is up on the ladder – Banger is making sure he puts the letter on correctly. Sparky had already added the Store sign. Banger figured it was easier to add to the label than make a whole new one. He really liked this particular firework as it had his name on it.
Let’s tour the inside starting with the first floor.
Although I was part of a challenge that included making swaps, I didn’t use any of those swaps in the project. My return package with the various swaps never arrived. However I did have some very generous swappers send me some extra ones. Thanks Pam!
1:48 Scale Star Banger’s – How I made it
This project came about because of a challenge on Pam Junk-Knapp’s SmallerAndSmallerAdventures group. It was to use a round box – like a salt box or oatmeal box to create a red, white and blue themed project. The challenge was to do the project and complete it by a deadline although the date was extended.
In addition to the challenge, we had the opportunity to participate in a swap for it as well. We could do either or both. I decided that with finishing up my college classes that I would have the time to do both.
To make my project, I used an oatmeal box. I have made a project like this in a saltbox already so this was no big deal. Actually it should be easier because I would not be doing the plaster cloth as I did in my Scaredy Cats.
I have these great intentions to plan out everything and go step by step in an organized way, but often my creative muse gets ahead of me and I skip a step. This project was no different.
I knew I wanted to light it and I decided I would light it up using a LED kit from Evan’s Designs. I had purchased them months ago to have on hand.
Well as I worked the idea around, I decided I would have the push button on the bottom. I had obtained a dome from a thrift store recently that didn’t have a base. I knew I could make a base from foam core. Thought it would be easier to have the button on the bottom so didn’t have to lift the dome to turn on the lights. But I discovered after doing this that since I was using foam core, it wasn’t sturdy enough to handle this scenario so I had to redo the base.
The first base was foam core bottom, then a builder foam middle. But then I got this idea to add more lights on the top as I figured I have the height in this tall but skinny dome, why not use it. So the new base was all foam core.
The first layer of the base is big enough for the dome to sit on but just enough, no bigger. Then next is a layer that the dome fits around. Next was a base for the box. My box being for oatmeal was open already one end and I decided to invert the box. This allowed me to insert a base into the box at the floor. I initially cut my opening for having a builder foam floor, but turns out that three layers of foam core board equals the layer of builder foam.
Using three layers, I have one layer glued in place as the floor at the same level the builder;s foam would be. This left room to hide/house the battery and its holder. I cut another foam core circle for insetting below the floor and cut out a space for the battery housing. This piece was glued in place to the two layer base. Sections were cut out also for the push button and wires going to and from the button.
I added to the battery layer pieces to contain the wiring but also keep the building from moving around.
The opening for the project was cut of the side and I also pulled out my windows and doors. I have purchased some at shows to have on hand for those projects not designed yet. Comes in handy for things like this.
I decided where I wanted the door and windows. I decided to leave the middle above the door for the label I would create. I then measured to allow reasonable space for these openings both to each other top to bottom and also side to side. Then I cut the openings. I also test fit each component.
I also cut a foam core circle for the second floor. The LED’s were added to this circle. These point down to the first floor. They were easy to hide in the foam core, but I added a paper layer to hide the wires. Holes were cut to allow the light to shine down.
To do the second floor lights they are glued to the ceiling paper (a heavier paper).
For both the first and second floor, I created and printed floor papers. The one for the first floor was my design done in Word using drawing objects and different colors and the second floor was using a print found on the Internet.
On the top of the box was the inset – not totally flat or squared top. I had decided that I would use it as a rooftop patio. I was also leaning towards something that reminded me of the used up firecracker so decided to go with a black ground cover here. I added black railroad blast to the rooftop.
I also had determined that my project needed to have a lighting sculpture on the rooftop that resembled a shooting firework. After some fiddling and considering my available options, I decided to use some tinsel as the hollow portion and sequins as enhancers to the LED’s. The LED wires are actually what hold them up. Sturdy wires.
This shows the tinsel. It comes like this but can be stretched. I got this package of multiple colors at a mini yard sale, but I believe it was sold as tinsel for 1″ christmas decoration. I have used in 1/4″ tree decoration.
The wires for the inside lights come out to the same side. I added a groove in the box for the wires and then used tissue paper to hold in place. The wires were short in one section and so had to add a leader wire to get them to connect all underneath.
The interior for both levels was painted white. Once that was completed I applied the full outer label. I had created a label using the drawing object function in Word. I use that a lot to layer and repeat things to create stuff. Once I made the row of stars and the different background rows, I grouped them and then copied them to fill up the page.
I started applying the label by applying glue to the edge next to the opening in the back. I added glue at the window and door openings and also along the top and bottom but not all over. I wanted the label to float over the wires and didn’t want any wrinkling either.
To fill in around the second floor, I used a piece of thick card to edge it so didn’t have the foam core showing. I had to piece together the label for each of the opening edges. Don’t look too close. I could have printed another page but just used up the scraps.
Next I painted the windows. The door was already black and had decided it looked good so that’s why I painted the windows black as well. I cut out thin card window frames for the inside and painted them black as well. At this point I realized the issue with making the openings a tight fit for the components. I had painted the openings and that made for too tight an opening. I trimmed and sanded them to allow for the components. Once everything fit, I glued the windows and doors and their inside trim in place.
For the base, I added a rock/stone paper I had on hand around the sides. The section where the dome would rest, I faux painted. When the dome is one, can’t tell the difference between my painting and the rock paper. When I was adding grass to the base, some fell on the edge for the dome and that would have looked good as well, but didn’t won’t to cover my faux painting or deal with dust if the dome edge wasn’t covering the grass.
The steps to the first floor were made from foam core pieces. I added the rock paper to cover the edges and top.
My orginal plan was to have a scaffolding in the front for Sparky to work on the sign, but after a detail discussion with my husband who does construction work, I decided to go with a ladder instead.
The ladder on the front was made from a plastic balcony my dad gave me. I used my dremel tool and a cut off wheel disc to remove the platform and then painted the railing white to become the ladder. There is also a ladder to the side to reach the roof top that is a grandtline product, I think. Didn’t have enough of it on hand to use for both places.
The text label was done in Publisher but I could have done it in Word. I made it so the addition of the word Store wouldn’t cover any other text. Also since this is a re-purposed firework, the addition of the S on top of the label seemed fitting. The S was cut very careful from wood and then painted. The ‘ is painted on to the label.
To make my Boomers I used scupley. I rolled them and cut to length. I used the end of a paint brush to round the ends. I also inserted the wire to make holes for the legs and arms, but didn’t bake them with the wire. The wire I used ended up not being the same size as the black wire so I had to drill out the holes to allow them to be inserted. All the leg wires were pre-bent, but then after I glued them in some had to be re-bent. That caused some breakage, but glued back ok. The arms were bent after inserted into the body. The thicker wire was 20 gauge and the thinner wire was 26 gauge. The thinner being easier to work with.
Sparkle and Popper were made using the thinner wire.
Heads were made of scuply. I added the bead eyes and nose before firing. Some have mouths and some don’t. Hair made of either embroidery floss or unraveled bunka. Their hard hats were goggle eyes. I painted their bodies.
The swaps – although I participated in the red/white/blue firecracker theme swap, my swaps have not arrived. I made a round BBQ grill as my swap. I should make one for myself since I don’t have one at this point.
The swaps I used other than the geraniums from Pam Junk were from previous swap events.
I had decided early on that this was going to be a firework store. But I didn’t relish the idea of making tiny fireworks. I am very pleased that Banger explained they wouldn’t be selling fireworks but works for them. So that worked out very well for me to make fuses and wrappers – embroidery thread and scrapbook paper rolled up.
The shelves in the store were made from some plastic shelves that my dad gave me. I used my dremel tool to cut them down. They both were two sided and double width. Also the counter was cut down as well.
The only thing I ordered specifically for this project was the extra led lights. All of this I had on hand for a some day project. I highly recommend that if you want to create to purchase things when you see them. Does not mean to purchase a lot, just a bit here and there and collect them.