These days, I tend to see a lot of people buying a factory-created wall decorations or any kind of decorations, instead of making their own. I have nothing against manufactured decorations, but when it is clear that making your own custom decoration has more advantage than buying one(better quality or cheaper cost or the fact that it could be customized), I think it is better to make your own decorations. Also, it’s quite nice to practice DIY culture when you have a chance, so lets start!
Step 1: Designing the Decoration
To create anything from scratch, it’s important to have a design before you start creating. I first looked at some of the real-life models and blueprints of the product which I want to create into a decoration, since I am creating a decoration from two different existing models. Then, I adjusted the size to adjust the ratio to a realistic level. However, if your project is not like my case, feel free to start with your own design. Even if your product is not based on existing models, you can still get some inspirations online. When designing, I tend to use a grid paper. I set up the size for each grid, such as one square in the grid paper is 2cm wide and 2cm long.
Step 2: Preparing for Creating the Decoration
If you drew your final design, think about the things you need. For example, the material you will use to create the decoration and what kind of tools I will need. These are the materials I used during this process.
-40 cm(15 inches)*40 cm(15 inches) plywood board
-Scraps of plywood from previous projects and this project
-Handheld electric Drill
-PVA glue(or any type of glue that works well with wood)
-Varnish(Spray type, no color)
-Paint(red, green, blue, black, white)
Step 3: Drawing the Outline of the Decoration
Draw the outline of the decoration on the plywood which needs to be cut. Use a ruler, engineer’s square, and a pencil to outline the shape of the decoration on the plywood. Constantly check your design to make sure you are not making a mistake.
Step 4: Cutting the Outline Out Part 1-Cutting the Outwards Outline
To cut the outline, the best way to do is with a scroll sawing machine. When using the scroll saw machine, it is important to use safety glasses, and use the finger guard to protect your fingers. When using a scroll saw, set the piece you want to cut in front of the blade, and turn the machine on. Then gently push the piece into the blade, and while doing that, push the piece downwards also to prevent the piece from bouncing up and down. When making a turn, don’t stop the machine, but stop pushing the piece and turn the piece until the blade is facing the direction you want to cut. If the design of the product is complicated or difficult to do, such as mine, which has a lot of turns and corners, it is much simpler to cut a vague outline of the piece, then use a file or a sandpaper to finish the piece.
Step 5: Sanding the Decoration
If the piece is finished, it might have sharp edges and possibility of a splinter. Therefore, you should sand the piece to remove all of those dangerous factors. A nice way to do this is to use a belt sanding machine, hand-held or stationary. When using the sanding machine, it is important to have safety glasses on(this goes for every machine). When using a sanding machine, turn the machine on, and then put the surface you want to sand in contact with the belt of the sanding machine. Hold the piece firmly, so that it will not fly away, and move the piece up and down the belt to evenly sand the piece. Do this so that the sharp edges are gone. If you don’t have a sanding machine, it is also okay to use a sandpaper or a file.
Step 6: Drawing the Inner Design/pattern
A decoration should have an interesting inner design. Draw the inner decoration pattern on the piece with a ruler, engineer’s square and a pencil. Like in the step where you drew the outline of the piece, check your design frequently so that there aren’t any mistakes. Mine is made of pixels, which I drew them on the piece that I worked on. This is also because I will paint this later, and the pixels help me to know which color goes where.
Step 7: Designing the Pop-out Pieces
This piece will not be flat-looking, therefore, it will have some pieces on top. These pieces will have different elevations, so that the decoration does not look flat. I drew those pieces on the scrap plywood I had, by measuring the length and the width of the part which I want to add more pieces, and drawing the design on the scrap plywood with pencil, ruler, and engineer's square.
Step 8: Cutting, Sanding, and Gluing the Pop-out Pieces
I finished drawing the pieces, cut them out, using the scroll saw machine. Then, I sanded them using the sanding machine, the sandpaper, or the file. I finished the pieces, and I glued them on the main decoration, with a PVC glue, according to my designs. When using a PVA glue, it is important to use clamps to secure the pieces in their respected locations.
Step 9: Painting the Decoration
When I finished creating the decoration, I used paint and paintbrush to color the decoration according to my design. I used different variations of aqua, different variation of brown, different variations of gray, and white, but for the colours aqua, brown, and gray, I mixed primary colours(red, blue, green, white, black) to create them.
How to create aqua, brown, and gray
Step 10: Cutting Out the Outline Part 2-Cutting the Hanging Hole & the Part Surrounded by Other Parts
Due to the fact that this product is a wall decoration, this must have a hole or a hook to hang it on a wall; I chose to create a hole instead of using a hook, since there is no need to buy a hook when you are creating a hole. I first marked the location of the hole with a pencil. When marking the location of the hanging hole, it is important to think about balancing the decoration to prevent the decoration from slanting to a side. Then, I used a drill to make the hole.
When cutting with a scroll saw, or cutting a woodwork piece, you usually encounter this problem; cutting a part of the woodwork piece, but that piece is surrounded by other parts of the woodwork piece which you do not want to cut. My design also had that problem(the uncoloured part which is surrounded by other coloured parts), but there is a solution to this problem. First, drill a hole in the part where you want to cut. Then, unplug the blade from the scroll saw, and pass the blade through the hole you drilled. Plug the blade back in the scroll saw, with the blade going through the hole you drilled. Finally, start cutting like you would with a scroll saw. After you finished cutting the piece out, unplug the blade from the scroll saw. Then remove the piece from the blade, and plug the blade in the scroll saw.
Step 11: Applying the Varnish to the Decoration
After I applied the paint, I sprayed the varnish on the product. The important part of applying the varnish is to apply many layers of varnish, which will protect and add a finishing touch on the product. It is also important to apply the varnish outside, not in a closed room, and wear a mask to prevent you from breathing the harmful gas.