BKLK_54_featured image_Skylanders Lightning Rod_Spyro_Slam Bam Slambam dad nerd craft version_video game_swap force_spyro's adventure_foam eggs_CleverPatch_acrylic paints pipe cleaners chenille sticks black marker cotton stuffing magnets toy

Skylanders (Swap Force style) Head-Swap Toys: CleverPatch’s Weekly Dad Craft Challenge

So, it turns out that there were a few fans of my Dad Craft Week 2014. I was planning to put on Dad Craft Week 2015, but the craft-tastic team at CleverPatch had a different idea. They dared me. They dared me to do a dad-craft a week. Every week. And then they said, “Are you chicken, McFly?”

One hoverboard-riding, midday shoot-out later, I accepted their challenge and here we are; the very first CleverPatch Weekly Dad Craft Challenge!

Each week CleverPatch will send me a surprise item and I have to dad-ify it (‘nerd-ify’ may also be a relevant term here). They’ve also stocked me up with some basics: paints, pipe cleaners, felt and glue. So, here we go.

Skylanders Head-Swap Toys

BKLK_54_skylanders lightning rod Spyro Slam Bam Slambam dad nerd craft version_video game_swap force_spyro's adventure_foam eggs_CleverPatch_acrylic paints pipe cleaners chenille sticks black marker cotton stuffing magnets toy

This week’s surprise item is:
A pack of 12 Decofoam Eggs (click here to see the item listing):

CleverPatch Decofaom eggs_pack of twelve 12

Seriously? An egg? Made of foam? You could have started me out on something that has instructions, like a paint-by-numbers kit or an IKEA kitchen. What am I going to do with pretend eggs?

Luckily, I recently received a request from Adam at Gaming Daddy of Two (click here to see his gamer-dad blog) to do a Skylanders themed craft. For those of you who don’t have kids old enough yet (or are just more grown-up than me), the Skylanders are a ridiculously popular game that combines the addictive pastime of playing video games with the addictive pastime of collecting figures (and yes, I’m hooked).

Skylandres Swap Force logo

Whilst the franchise is up to the fourth instalment in the series, I am going to take inspiration from the third release of the game, that was titled Skylanders: Swap Force. In this game you could buy figures that were able to swap half of their body with other figures, and mix n’ match their powers. How cool does that sound?

I love this concept, but you can only swap a few of the characters. Nobody puts baby in a corner! So I’m going to create some swappable toys using monsters from the original version of the game. Slam Bam, Spyro & Lightning Rod:

BKLK_54_triple_skylanders lightning rod Spyro and Slam Bam Slambam original_video game_swap force_spyro's adventure_foam eggs_CleverPatch_acrylic paints pipe cleaners chenille sticks black marker cotton stuffing magnets toy

You will need:

  • 3 x Decofoam eggs
  • scalpel or thin sharp knife
  • tissue paper
  • flour-glue (click here for some recipes)
  • magnets (ceramic and/or adhesive backed strip)
  • glue
  • pencil
  • thin paintbrush
  • coloured paints (I used blue, purple, orange, yellow, white and black)
  • thin tipped black marker
  • coloured pipe cleaners (aka. chenille sticks)
  • needle nosed pliers

The first thing to do is cut the eggs in half.
Dad-tip #1 – don’t use a big ol’ kitchen knife. It will leave your bench top looking like a foam-family crime scene. A scalpel works well.

BKLK_54_attempting to cut a deco foam egg in half with kitchen knife_fail_skylanders_video game_swap force_spyro's adventure_foam eggs_CleverPatch_acrylic paints pipe cleaners chenille sticks black marker cotton stuffing magnets toy

Now, the key to this activity is allowing the characters to swap their top and bottom halves. Well, the most fun way is using magnets! Hell, it’s even educational too. I’m using a combination of adhesive backed magnetic strip and ceramic magnets. I was planning to use only the adhesive strip, before I remembered about opposing polarities and that it wouldn’t work.

Just carve holes for them into the cut-sides of the egg halves, and glue them in.

BKLK_54_magnets adhesive and ceramic inserted carved into deco foam egg halves half_skylanders_video game_swap force_spyro's adventure_foam eggs_CleverPatch_acrylic paints pipe cleaners chenille sticks black marker cotton stuffing magnets toy

Dad-tip#2 – Standard craft glue will melt the foam. This was learned through trial and error. And error. And another error. Try using PVA instead, or be resourceful like me. I put the acid-like glue onto the ceramic magnets and then used the melting ability of the glue to dig into the foam. I managed to carve and stick at the same time!

I’m going to take the same approach here as I did months ago for the Funko Pop! inspired Cartoon Puppets (click here to check these awesome dudes out!). Start by using tissue paper (from a standard tissue box) and flour-glue to papier-mâché the egg halves. Then let them dry overnight. This will give you a firm surface to decorate. It might also help them last for more than 10 seconds in the hands of a destructo-toddler.

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When they’re dry, you just need three simple steps:

  1. Sketch out the basics of the character in pencil.
  2. Paint with bright colours.
  3. Use a black marker to draw in the details and outline.

Last of all, you need to get extra-creative with the pipe cleaners. These things are brilliant and you can make them look like pretty much anything. I used them to make legs, a tail, horns, spikes and wings for this Spyro-inspired toy:

BKLK_54_double_skylanders spyro dragon original and dad nerd craft version_video game_swap force_spyro's adventure_foam eggs_CleverPatch_acrylic paints pipe cleaners chenille sticks black marker orange felt

Phenom-A-mum saved my crafty little behind by sewing on some orange felt to give his wings that proper batty look!

Here’s Slam Bam:

BKLK_54_double_skylanders slam bam slambam original and dad nerd craft version_video game_swap force_spyro's adventure_foam eggs_CleverPatch_acrylic paints pipe cleaners chenille sticks black marker magnets toy

And Lightning Rod:

BKLK_54_double_skylanders lightning rod original and dad nerd craft version_video game_swap force_spyro's adventure_foam eggs_CleverPatch_acrylic paints pipe cleaners chenille sticks black marker cotton stuffing magnets toy

Lightning Rod came out looking a few millennia devolved, but the other two get my big Dad thumbs-up!

Dad-tip#3 – Use needle nosed pliers to bend over the ends of the pipe cleaners. You just know your kids are going to poke themselves in the eye with them.

The best part about these toys is that you just “yoink” their heads off, and swap them around.

BKLK_54_skylanders Spyro Slam Bam Slambam dad nerd craft version_swapped head and body to play_video game_swap force_spyro's adventure_foam eggs_CleverPatch_acrylic paints pipe cleaners chenille sticks black marker cotton stuffing magnets toy

With the magical power of magnets you’ll have new toys in seconds. Here’s my new mix: Lightning-Bam, Slam-Ro & Spy-Rod.

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When I showed these to Little E he actually stopped moving, stared and said “Wow”. I think they might be a winner…

BKLK_54_double_skylanders Spyro's Adventure_toddler boy son child playing with toy_taking off head_video game_swap force_spyro's adventure_foam eggs_CleverPatch_acrylic paints pipe cleaners chenille sticks black marker cotton stuffing magnets toy

 

Spyro was definitely his mega-favourite! I think the enormous wings won him over.

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The first time Little E pulled one of the heads off, he panicked, “Oh no. Broken!” I had to calm him down and show him that the heads were meant to come off (maybe I’ve been too hard on him for breaking everything lately… on the upside, he’s learning!).

BKLK_54_double_skylanders Spyro & Slam Bam Slambam head swap action figures toys_boy toddler child son playing_video game_swap force_spyro's adventure_foam eggs_CleverPatch_acrylic paints pipe cleaners chenille stick magnets

I only had to show him that the heads were swappable once and he was into it. Swap, swap, swap.

BKLK_54_double_skylanders lightning rod Spyro Slambam head swap action figures_toddler boy child play_video game_swap force_spyro's adventure_foam eggs_CleverPatch_acrylic paints pipe cleaners chenille sticks black marker cotton stuffing magnets toy

Perhaps he didn’t completely get the idea. He started trying to swap the heads whilst one was still attached to another body. I’m going to call that ‘thinking-outside-the-box’!

Dad Craft Challenge Week 1 – Accepted & PULVERISED! Bring on next week’s surprise item.


This is not a paid post, however CleverPatch are providing Big Kid Little Kid with the craft materials used in this post.

DISCLAIMER: This crafty dad-craft consists of my original craft design and engineering, but it is inspired by products and/or characters that I did not invent. SKYLANDERS and associated characters are not my invention and are either trademarks or registered trademarks of their owners in the United States and/or other countries. This homemade craft is in no way official nor endorsed by the trademark holders.

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David Hawkins

Half nerd, all Dad & Founder of Big Kid Little Kid, the go-to blog for Awesome Dads. David is on a personal mission to become a more awesome dad to his two sons and teach them all the facets of being a major nerd. NES-off anybody?
  • Well done Dave. A great start to a great new year.

    • David Hawkins

      Thanks Mum! Lots more on the horizon… a little scary actually. That’s a lot of craftiness.