Mary Czerwinski is an avid crafter, host, actress and creator of the Glue Guns and Phasers web series, in which she guides Trek fans through creating inventive and unique Trek crafts, Based in Los Angeles, she has worked as an interviewer for DVD Geeks, Bif Bam Pow Wow!, Creation Entertainment and Roddenberry Entertainment. She has interviewed dozens of Star Trek actors, writers and producers, and Glue Guns and Phasers grew out of crafting with a friend she met at Creation Entertainment's annual Star Trek Las Vegas Convention.
In honor of the upcoming Blu-ray release of "The Best of Both Worlds," Czerwinski teaches Star Trek fans how to turn a tissue box into a Borg Cube.
List of supplies:
Small Square Bathroom Tissue Box
Plastic Black or Green Needle Point Sheets (10-1/2" x 13-1/2")
Gift Box (6”x 6”x 6”) with Removable Lid
Grey Acrylic Paint
Small Green Brads
Step 1: Remove the lid from the gift box and recycle it. Flip your box upside down and using your X-Acto knife cut a rectangle approximately 2” wide on the bottom of the box. This will be the top of your tissue box cover.
Step 2 (optional): If your box is white, paint all the sides grey using your acrylic paint and paint brush. If the box is already black or dark grey, you may skip this step.
Step 3: Cut your colored needlepoint sheets to the measurements of the box. Let the grid of the needlepoint sheet be your guide. Next, apply craft glue liberally to the needlepoint sheets and place them on the matching sides of the box. Allow to dry for 15 minutes.
Step 4: Cut random shapes out of the leftover needlepoint sheets (rectangles, squares, etc.). Cut matching shapes out of green or black felt. This will mimic spare parts on ship.
Step 5: Glue the felt shapes down first to the sides of the box and then the plastic pieces on top of them. It will give your plastic pieces something to attach to and give your Borg box a 3D pushed-out quality.
Step 6: Paint streaks of grey on the sides of the box (optional) to make your cube look like it has battle damage. Let dry.
Step 7: Using your pin, punch holes all over the box to make it easier to push your green brad through. This will create the effect of a light source to mimic tractor and cutting beams.
Step 8: Put over a small bathroom tissue box and pull the tissue through the top and you’re done!
In addition to Glue Guns and Phasers, Czerwinski is also a contributor to The Star Trek Craft Book, which will be released on Tuesday (click HERE to pre-order). We caught up with her for an interview. Here’s what she had to say:
Give us some background about you. How did you get into crafting?
Czerwinski: I've been crafting for as long as I can remember. My grandmother was a dancer and a seamstress and she was always making costumes around me. I wanted to help her, so I was her apprentice gluing on shells and details. I preferred to stay inside and play with glitter than go to the park with other kids.
How big a Star Trek fan are you?
Czerwinski: Well, I have been going to conventions for about 10 years now. I own a variety of toys, action figures, ships and models. I also cosplay Star Trek characters, so I'd say I'm a pretty dedicated fan. Interviewing people involved in Star Trek has made me an even bigger fan. I'm so proud to be a part of this community.
When did you first combine your love for both crafting and Trek?
Czerwinski: I combined my love of Trek with crafting about 3 years ago. I teamed up with a woman I met at the annual Star Trek convention in Las Vegas. Outside of Trek, we both loving making things. We used to get together and do non-Trek crafts and then one day it dawned on us that we should brainstorm ideas for Star Trek crafts. The name Glue Guns And Phasers came out of how similar hot glue guns look to phasers.
How/when/why did you start Glue Guns and Phasers?
Czerwinski: I started Glue Guns and Phasers with Brandi Clark. We both wanted to have a niche in the craft world. We were looking at ways to explore this and she thought of doing a book, but then I thought about a web series. The convention session grew out of realizing a lot of activities at conventions are very passive for the attendee. You watch someone speak, you get an autograph, etc. I thought how cool would it be to give someone an experience they will remember for a lifetime? Creating is very empowering. Fans of Star Trek love to express themselves, so I thought this could be a fun event for the whole family.
What kind of response did you get to it initially? And how has it grown?
Czerwinski: It's interesting, the first time we did a convention workshop, we had a lot of young boys show up wanting to make phasers. They misunderstood our company, Glue Guns and Phasers for what they would be making. They seemed a little disappointed about making pins and necklaces. However, they stuck around and the convention workshop has grown by leaps and bounds. We always run out of materials, so we tell people to get there early. Initially it was marketed as a kids’ event and now we're seeing young couples, adult men and even the whole family turning out. People always try to give me money, but it's hard for me to accept because I want this event to be 100% free, even if it ends up costing me something. Fans of conventions come out to see each other and its great way to meet new people. People tell me it's their favorite part of the convention.
How do you choose which crafts to highlight?
Czerwinski: Brandi and I have a Google doc with 100s of ideas. We decide based on theming. For example, we did our red shirt ghost around Halloween because we thought it would be appropriate for the season and good for a laugh. I wanted to release the Borg tissue box in April because I knew "The Best of Both Worlds" was coming to the big screen for the HD Fathom Event.
How do you make the crafting accessible/doable for both newbies and more experienced folks?
Czerwinski: I've always wanted our crafts to be accessible. If no one can recreate it, then what is the point? It's not how skilled you are. Some crafters make things that are so hard replicate that people give up. I want my crafts to be simple, so anyone from a child to a senior citizen can do them. I also believe in making the projects affordable using everyday household items. Let's be honest, you're going to alienate half your audience if your instructions include welding or woodwork. If the experienced folks want something more challenging, they can just embellish the simple craft to be more elaborate.
We're in the midst of celebrating the Borg this week on the site. We love how you managed to turn a tissue box -- not so intimidating -- into a Borg Cube. What inspired the idea?
Czerwinski: I've always loved the Borg. They are the "perfect" unbeatable enemy. I've always been a fan of horror and the Borg are essentially unbeatable space zombies. There's something inherently frightening about an enemy you could become. I dress as Seven of Nine at conventions. I loved the way her character was a survivor. There was so much more room for humor in Voyager when it came to her rediscovery of humanity. I have a Borg cube in my office and one day I was staring at it and thought it's the same shape as those small tissue boxes. Wouldn't it be funny if we took this symbol of destruction and mashed it with something so delicate and ordinary?
How excited are you to get out to Vegas this summer, to lead the crafting session with fans?
Czerwinski: I'm always excited for the Vegas workshop. It's the best part of what I do. When you craft with other people you build memories. Last year, I had newlyweds on their honeymoon who were making their TNG mobile together to go in their new house. It made me so happy to think they created something together that they can look at and remember not only the convention, but their union. Plus, it's always special to see kids at their first convention excited about Star Trek expressing their creativity.
In what ways do you hope to expand Glue Guns and Phasers?
Czerwinski: I hope to keep doing what I have been doing at conventions. Maybe we'll do some giveaways or add a contest. I plan on making changes to the format of the web series. Since I'm now the solo host, I plan on having a new guest host each time. I will interview them about their specialty, have them show me what they do and then teach a simplified version that anyone can make. I believe in bringing crafts to the masses. I don't want anyone to feel something is too hard. When something is too difficult it takes the fun out of it.
Click HERE to visit the Glue Guns and Phasers blog.