Picture of 3D Wooden Portrait

So my idea was to add a new twist on those 3-colour stencils you see all over the place. I really like that style but i wanted to add a little texture and depth to the whole thing.

So i thought why not make it out of wood and use a different colour wood for each layer. That way you get that kind of trippy abstract perspective when you see it from an angle but it all comes together to form an image when you see it straight on.

Materials needed:

- Wood: oak, pine, or coloured wood depending on your budget.

- Jigsaw

- Router

- Sanding paper (80-160 grit)

- Stains: Ebony and Antique pine

- Coping saw (for the niggly bits)

- Chisel (for cleaning up)

- Clamps (the more the better but at least 4)

- Brushes

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Step 1: Picking an Image and Creating layers

Picture of Picking an Image and Creating layers

So i opted with the classic Shining image of Jack Nicholson peeping his head through the door. I thought it would be instantly recognisable. But you can choose any. What's important to bare in mind is that there needs to be a strong contrast between the shadows, midtones and highlights.

Anyway, take your image into photoshop and break it down into 3 layers (Highlights, Mid-tones, and Shadows). The shadow will just be a block colour of black at the back so dont worry about this. Try to make sure that these are block colours and not too detailed. This will make it so much easier when cutting the shape into the wood.

Print off each of them. I did A3 but the bigger the easier the cutting will be next.

Step 2: Tracing onto the wood

Picture of Tracing onto the wood

Next align each of your layers to a piece of wood.

Cut out the shapes for each layer so you end up with a tracing of each of the mid-tones and highlights on their own piece of wood. Because the shadows will just be filling negative space you can leave this as just a flat block.

Make sure you mark which areas are waste wood so you dont get confused when it comes to the next step.

oobit9 months ago

Thanks !

sopansbs9 months ago

Superb! I am now thinking Banksy in wood. :D

Was just wondering, would thicker veneers / plywood with this method work cheaper if one did not need a lot of depth in the 3D? Just a basic variation of level to add some interest to the surface?

Thanks again, this is super cool.

ronanmor (author)  sopansbs9 months ago

Thanks Sopansbs! Thick veneers or plywood would definitely be a good idea, more subtle then the 3/4" wood i used. I've only ever worked with very thin veneer and never with plywood but my only concern is chipping when you're cutting the detailed shapes. I used a pine board and even with that i had a lot of unintentional chipping. Let me know if you give it a go, i'd love to see it.

oobit10 months ago

Can you explain how to do the 3 layers on Photoshop please ?

ronanmor (author)  oobit9 months ago

Hey Oobit, i replied to this earlier but it may have been removed because i included Photoshop images.

Anyway, it's simple. Once you have an image in Photoshop. Choose Select>Color Range then choose Midtones, Shadows, or Highlights from the drop-down menu. Simply create a new layer and fill with a color. I also used paintbrush to round out the shapes and make them a bit simpler.

Hope that helps.

craftclarity10 months ago

SUPER COOL......I want one. No, really, I do.

Reading this reminds me that I REALLY want a good jigsaw. Dangit.

ronanmor (author)  craftclarity10 months ago

Thanks craftclarity. I have this one which is definitely good value for money...

And go for shallow blades to make sharper turns.