Periodic Table Crafts

Written by mara shannon
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Periodic Table Crafts
(Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Periodic table crafts make fun projects for the crafty science geek and great homemade gifts for scientists or science students. The periodic table is a simple and versatile design that's easy for you to apply to a variety of media, such as needlework, knitting or crochet patterns, quilting and painting.

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Literal Periodic Table

Inspired by the lack of a periodic table in the British Science museum, Theodore Gray set out to build a coffee table that not only replicated the periodic table, but coded the element groups based on types of wood and even included samples of many of the elements. Although this may be an ambitious project for the casual crafter, you can use the basic idea of Grey's periodic table to make your own periodic table—for example, by painting the top of a coffee table, or using embroidery to create a periodic tablecloth.

Periodic Table in Yarn

Knitters should take a look at the periodic table sweater which Avital Pinnick knit for her microbiologist husband. You can find the pattern on her website (see Resources), although it was made in 1995 and doesn't include the more recently discovered elements. Another idea is to enlarge a single element, such as Au (gold), for a child's sweater. If you're not up for the complexity of a sweater, try knitting or crocheting a periodic table wall hanging or blanket.

Periodic Table Duvet Cover

You can turn an ordinary blanket into a comforter by adding a duvet cover—and what could be better than one decorated with the periodic table? Crafter cherry_blossom55 used a printer to add element names and numbers to squares of fabric, colour-coded for each element group, then quilted them together to form a duvet cover. You could also embroider the elements on the fabric (using a machine to save labour), use iron-on transfers or cross-stitch names and even pictures using waste cloth.

Periodic Table of Artwork

If a plain old periodic table seems dull to you, take a look at AzureGrackle's periodic table of artwork, which represents the work of 96 printmakers. Each element is illustrated with a pictorial representation: for example, Cu (copper) is illustrated with a pipe, and Nb (niobium) is illustrated with the mythological figure Niobe. Many of the other illustrations are more abstract. You can use your own artistic talents to create a pictorial periodic table using woodcuts, stamps, silkscreening and other artistic media.

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