Maker Faire artists whip up magic with lots of creativity and ordinary objects

If you’re a fan of “MacGyver” — you know, the extremely resourceful secret agent who could work wonders with just about any ordinary household item like, say, a paper clip, a stick of gum and a shoelace — then the Maker Faire is the place to be this weekend.

Beginning Saturday, the annual event celebrates the art of do-it-yourself ingenuity with two full days of workshops, activities and loads of innovative creations at the San Mateo County Event Center and Fairground.

Created in part by the folks behind Make Magazine, Craft Magazine and O’Reilly Media, the Maker Faire leaves no arena untouched; whether it’s a life-size re-creation of the popular board game “Mouse Trap” or a giant robotic giraffe roaming the grounds, the expo has something for everyone and is sure to get those creative juices flowing. With gizmos and gadgets galore, where do youbegin? Here are a few things not to miss:

Beast buddies: Get your craft on by making your very own free-range mini-monster. Moxie, a regular contributor to Craft Magazine, shares tips on how to fashion a plush creature with the help of an easy mix-and-match template. Perfection isn’t the aim here, so don’t worry if your sewing skills are somewhat sub-par. The craft demo is perfect for parents and kids alike.

You sunk my battleship: Did somebody say “battle damage?” Two robotic fleets — the Axis and Alies, 1/144 scale model warships created by the Western Warship Combat Club — will challenge each other twice a day in an outdoor pond at the Maker Faire. There’s sure to be plenty of carnage as the fleets do their best to sink each other.

Bikes on parade: The Heavy Pedal Cyclecide Bike Rodeo takes the two-wheeling form of transit to a whole new level. Using salvaged bicycles fresh from the dumpster, the club of alter-bike mechanics retools typical pedal-powered rides into completely bizarre cycles ready for the circus. Expect to see double-decker tall bikes, reverse bikes, choppers and anything else in between.

Up, up, and away: John Collins, author and award-winning paper airplane designer extraordinaire, dishes about how he creates his remarkable flying creations. Collins’ collection of crafts boggles the mind; his planes circle back, fly upside down and seem to float midair forever. The author shares the endless possibilities a simple piece of folded paper can deliver.

Powered by moonshine: With gas prices so exorbitant, ever consider fueling up with alcohol? David Blume, author of “Alcohol Can Be a Gas!” talks shop about how to power your vehicle and even heat your home with the renewable fuel.

IF YOU GO

Maker Faire

Where: San Mateo County Event Center and Fairgrounds, 2495 South Delaware St., San Mateo

When: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $10 to $25

Contact: www.makerfaire.com

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