Thursday, October 31, 2013

DIY Star Trek Commbadges

This Halloween my department at work is dressing up as Star Trek characters. Being the crafty person that I am, I was tasked with making our commbadges (or combadges - I've seen both spellings). Here's my DIY tutorial. Bonus, I used my old business cards and sharpies, so it was a SUPER cheap craft. 

Materials needed:
Gold, Silver and Black sharpies
Safety Pins
Old business cards (4-5 cards for an original series badge; 8-9 cards for a The Next Generation badge)
Glue stick 
Not Pictured - hot glue gun

Step 1: Glue four business cards together with the glue stick. 

Step 2: Create a pattern. I sketched this several times before I was happy with the shape. On this online tutorial, the crafter traced the pattern from a picture on her computer. In my research, I found that the badges are supposed to be 2''x2''. Basically, it should look something like what's pictured below with the skinny "leg" on the right. 

Step 3: Trace and cut out your badge. 

Step 4: Color the edges of the badge with a black sharpie or marker. 

Step 5: Color the back and front of the badge with a silver sharpie or marker. 


Step 6a: If you are creating a badge for an Original Series character, then research what symbol they have on their badge. There are different symbols for the different roles (engineering, science, commander). I found good images of the symbols on this etsy page.

(You can always order a patch from Lynellen (above etsy link), if you want to skip the DIY part. They look really cool and are well-priced.)

Draw the symbol on an extra business card and cut it out. Color the edges black and

Step 6a (continued): Glue the symbol onto the middle of the front of your badge. Here are the badges I made from the original series: 

Step 6b: If you are making badges for characters from Voyager, Deep Space 9, or The Next Generation, then repeat the steps 1-2, but create a background panel (rectangle for Voyager and DS9 or oval for TNG), and color it gold. Voyager/DS9 also has a rectangular hole in the middle, but I glued a black sliver of business card to it, because I didn't want to exacto knife a hold in the middle. Use a hot-glue gun to glue the silver and gold pieces together.

Step 7: Using your hot glue gun (glue stick doesn't work as well over the gold and silver sharpie), add a little dot of glue on the back of your badge. 

Press the safety pin into the glue and overlay a small square of business card. Press firmly. 

I added the character's name and the year for fun, since it's a group costume. I don't expect anyone to keep their badges forever, but if they are sentimental (like me), it's nice to have a reference. 

There you go! All done! I hope this tutorial was helpful, since I found very few on the interwebs. 

Just for reference, if you want other perspectives on such a project, I also found the following tutorial which clued me in that the "legs" of the arrow are different sizes, even though I think she has hers backwards. She also used paint instead of sharpie, which is probably faster if you are mass-producing them. 
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