Maker Mayhem: Low Moments in How-To History, Part 8


I feel like I did this kind of thing a lot as a kid. More with Popsicle sticks than matches though, which is both cleaner and safer. Burnt matches are pretty messy, and un burnt ones are just an insurance claim waiting to happen.

As nostalgic as I might be for those crafty days of my youth, I’m so glad that my kid(s) will be be building robots and hacking arduinos instead of making Popsicle stick crosses.


There is a smugness to these Maker Mayhem articles that is not endearing. Frugal re-purposing of common items was not restricted to religious themes, I remember receiving a monthly magazine of ideas for just that type of re-purposing. Things like flashcube earrings. Are some of the materials quaint and not as appealing now? Sure. Kitchy chinese-made craft materials in philosophy dictating craft stores were pretty much non-existant then. At that time a computer kit consisted of pegboard, circular pegboard dics, wires, brass contacts, and lamp sockets. It took months of begging my mother to get me one from the back of the magazine for Christmas. What is this Arduino thing of which you speak? LOL. Please remember that the essence of making things from what’s available is very much the same as the Maker culture that some act like they invented.


I actually made one of these (with the rest of my class) at Vacation Bible School in the early 90’s. Our version was slightly different, we used wire cutters to trim the sticks to that it had a uniform perimeter, but otherwise it was a stylized crucifix with charred edges.

None of us ever made the KKKonnection, probably because we burned all the matches one day, and spent the next couple days gluing them. But that one day’s craft period where all we did was burn matches (we each had our own box full to do)… that was glorious. Never before had church indulged our budding pyromania.

I kept mine for a while (complete with hot-glued soda tab for a wall-hanger) because it was super-badass protection from vampires.


My grandparents had one of these in their house for years; I assume one of my cousins made it at church camp or VBS back in the 60s. Not once did it remind me of the KKK; I think that’s a reach, and a mean-spirited one at that.


In the house we bought some 6 years ago now, there’s one of these above the kitchen door. It’s never been removed, and I’ve no intention of taking it down - even though I’m not religious in any sense. It’s a pretty neat piece of work all in all, and aesthetically I like it.

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Matchstick crosses? That’s as Midwestern as Jello salad! I’m surprised that they still seem to be made (or at least in the 1990s). In the 1970s when I was growing up, matchsticks were common because everybody smoked. Now you’d have to go out of your way to find matches.


Well he missed one thing in the opening graph - Scientologists actually do make important religious items out of tin cans.


German citizens interred in Hot Springs NC during WWI create a Bavarian village, including a chapel made from Prince Albert tobacco tins.


Remember, people are going find that popsicle stick swastika offensive no matter how much glitter you use.

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This, yes. Boing Boing is getting really disturbingly into shaming art and design that doesn’t conform to smug urban upper-middle-class specifications. Just off the top of my head there’s this, the “rooms of YouTube” thing, the “hipster logos” article… I do not miss Regretsy and I don’t want to see it resurrected on Boing Boing.

Geez, it seems like I only ever hate-read BB anymore. Maybe it’s time to take a break.


Wow! A Burning Kross! That brings back memories!

My same thought exactly. The whole thing seems really mean-spirited, especially since most of those other cultures mentioned do in fact have religious-themed folk art. Having seen such folk art…yeah, it’s tacky, but it’s meant to be something like a Sunday School project, something to keep idle hands busy. When I was a kid, I’d been in such classes, and they’d probably have been horrified if someone had pointed out the (tenuous) Klan connection.

Boing Boing has been a little schizophrenic over the past couple of years or so. They want to have conversations about privilege and power, then go right back to making fun of at anything that isn’t hip and urbane.

And look, when they did a story about the artist who sewed (I think) crochet onto her skin, to represent the everyday struggles of women, criticism was met with cries of “pearl clutching” and How Dare People Try To Say Something Isn’t Art?


Back in the days of tin my Grandmother told us about her brother having built either an entertainment radio or a amateur radio set using soldered strips of beer cans tacked to wood rail fence to make the long HF band antennas and feedlines.


That does not remind me of the Klan but the Methodist flaming cross does.

Grandpa tumored up his lungs so you could make that cross!

I appreciate the upvote, but I’m not quite sure what you’re arguing here. Throwing accusations of mental illness at a woman for practicing a flavor of body art that’s considerably less dangerous or permanent than, say, ear-piercing, was no less ridiculous than accusing matchstick art of being a front for the Ku Klux Klan.

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