Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Mitsubishi

The Mitsubishi XTC pill - a handmade, 42-inch, LED Illuminated, Faux Fur covered wall light.

This fun piece was made for my good friends over at Re:magine for a rave in D.C. titled "Throwback." The event was an intimate EDM affair in a warehouse dedicated to representing the late 1990's rave culture. They asked me if I could build something for a promotional giveaway and the first thing that came to mind was the one and only legendary icon of raves - The Mitsubishi XTC pill. 

For those that experienced this music movement at the end of the 20th century, they know what effect this drug had on the people who attended, the musicians that made the soundtrack and the producers who created these magical events. It forever changed thousands of people and left a huge impression on what is now the widely popular and mainstream EDM culture we all know and love today.

The Mitsubishi phenomenon was when a batch of quality MDMA in tablet form arrived on the underground rave scene for the first time in almost a decade. It became widely popular and then copied around the world into what was better known as the Double and Triple Stacked Mitsubishis. It was very common for mainstream brands and logos to be printed on Ecstasy tablets. The labels reflected society at that time as consumer culture was at an all time high. Other brands included Playboy, Dove, Motorola, Rolls Royce and many more.  The Mitsubishis, however, were so popular that it spawned a semi-legal side industry of merchandise including t-shirts, stickers, badges, mouse pads and a variety of artworks. Mitsubishi was also one of the first car companies to use electronic dance music in their commercials.

Feeling nostalgic and want one of these for yourself? Well here is how to make it.

This is a very simple piece - made of 1/4" Sanded Birch plywood, a 2x3, 2 yards of faux fur, spandex and led strip lighting. Materials cost roughly $120 total and it only takes a few days to create.
Starting with a 4x8 piece of sanded 1/4" birch plywood, create two 42" circles by making your own compass.
To get your center, measure 21" in from the edge of the wood. Mark with pencil. 
At the 30-inch mark of your yard stick, line up with the center mark on the wood. Pre-drill small hole through yard stick and wood, then screw together. Pre-drill another hole at the 9" mark for your pencil. (It doesn't matter what measurement you drill a hole as long as the distance for the circle edge is 21".) Stick your pencil in the hole, and spin the yard stick until you draw a complete 42" circle. Repeat for second circle.
Using a jigsaw with a blade for clean wood cuts, cut your circles. Sand edges with a sanding sponge.
This is a fairly simple logo to freehand if you don't have a projector. I projected and traced since this was available to me. I centered the logo at the 21" mark for position.
Trace outline onto wood. 
Using your jigsaw, cut shapes, making sure to stay on those steady straight lines. 
Paint both circles front and back with white latex satin paint. 
While your paint is drying, get out your 2x3 and a miter saw. Cut (9) 4-inch sections. Paint white. While that's drying, prep your fur.  
There are a few white faux fur options on the web. I chose a fake polar bear long pile fur. I bought 2 yards from a Joanne Fabric that was around $25/yard. 
Lie your fur face down and either side of your pre-cut wood on to the fabric. The fur will be wrapped around the edges of the wood and then stapled on to the back side so make sure there is enough room on the edges for stapling.
 Mark your edges on the inner logo so you know where to cut the fur.
Cut along marks and to corner, making sure to leave room for bringing fur over edge. Before we staple fur, however, we need to screw in our blocks for the back piece.
These blocks have to be screwed into the front piece first, so lie the back piece on a table, then place all 9 blocks upright on wood. Place top piece and then strategically move blocks around outer edge and 3 blocks on inner logo for support. These don't have to be exact. Just place them and feel along the way, making sure the boards are supported.  Using a careful eye, pre-drill holes through board and into blocks. Screw 2 wood screws into each. 
Ready for fur. 
Using staple gun, wrap edges of fur over edge and staple around perimeter. Cut excess fabric.
Using white spandex, stretch and staple past inner edge of logo diamonds. Cut excess fabric. 
Check to see that the front surface is ok. Looks good. 
Using a 16ft led strip light, temporarily place strip where it will be glued. Start with the power connection at the center bottom and bring it completely around edge for even lighting, then through center and evenly around diamonds. It's a little tricky at first but led is great for spreading light around and the spandex allows for an even diffusion of light. 
Plug in and test connection before gluing.
Using a hot glue gun, glue strip to wood.
Screw back piece of wood to blocks to finish. For wall hanging, you can use picture hanging kits from the hardware store.
Photo by Head Above Heart

See the Making Of Video below: