I don't know how many of you are familiar with buckyballs (the little magnets sold in 6 x 6 or 5 x 5 cubes), but once you start playing with them it is hard to put them down. I had received a 6 x 6 silver set last year for Christmas, so when I ( I say 'I' when what I really mean is my husband whom I stole these from) got two more 5 x 5 blue sets this year, I couldn't wait to explore the new possibilities available to me.
Bucky (the mouse, named by my husband when he got home and saw what I had done) was born out of "hmmm, I wonder what happens if I do this," and a lot of trial and error. After all, the magnets often have a mind of their own. Here's how you can make a mouse of your own.
Start out with three sets of buckyballs. If you have three 6 x 6 sets, you will have some magnets left over, or your mouse will have a REALLY long tail....whichever you prefer. It is also important that you have two colors if you want to see his eyes.
With your body color (the color you have more of), make eight pentagon shapes (not sure if this is the official bucky name for this shape, so please don't hurt me if it's not). Each shape uses fifteen magnets.
Next, start joining the pieces together until you have half a sphere (you will use six pieces). For the eyes, use your highlight color for the inside and make two more pentagons. Add these onto your half sphere, and connect the front and the back of your sphere with your last two pieces. There should be an opening on each side where you will connect the ears.
If you are having a hard time getting the magnets to line up correctly, you can fix the problem by "flipping" your shape. To do this, take the piece giving you trouble between your thumb, index and middle fingers with the raised side against your thumb. Press down on the middle while pulling the sides up with your other two fingers. If you did it right, the raised part will now be on the other side of your shape, and when you add it to your sphere it will be a lot more cooperative.
For the ears you will need six pentagons in your accent color. Join them together in groups of three, with the raised sides alternating. Bend the two outer pieces towards the middle and join them together.
Connect the ears into the openings left in your original sphere. (You may have to play around a bit and redo the ears a few times to get the magnets to behave, but you can't say I didn't warn you about their attitude.) Things are starting to come together now :)
Next up is the nose. You will use twelve magnets for the nose and sixteen for the tip. Start out with a center of four magnets on each, and wrap the next eight around them. For the tip, add the last four to the other side of the shape so that it looks the same on both sides. Join the two shapes together.
When you add the nose to the head, rotate it so that one of the "points" is centered between the eyes and down a little bit. We are now more than halfway done!
For the little guy's body you will need a total of ten pentagons, but the coloring isn't critical. Have fun and experiment with different combinations. However, if you want to make a twin brother for my mouse, you will need to match the pieces above.
And this is how you put them together. You will have two openings in the sphere right next to each other. One is for joining the head, and the other is for balance...that's my reasoning anyway.
Join the body and the head together, facing that second opening to the bottom. Almost done!
To make the feet, you simply make four circles using six magnets a piece, and then stack them together. Add them between the body and the head and have them touching both. Now, the part I know you've been waiting for.
With your remaining magnets in one long strand, join them to the back of your mouse in the center opening. He now has a tail and is officially complete :) All you have to do now is think of a name for the little guy and you have made yourself an office friendly pet.