Making these decorative rings is a quick way to hide water pans under potted houseplants. They also work well for stabilizing your dog's water bowl so it doesn't get tipped....or kicked in my case. This is a quick and easy project if you have a miter saw for cutting the angled ends. Alternatively you could also use a table saw or cut each piece with a hand saw (good luck). Here's how.
Step 1: Let's Do Some Figurin'
The first step is to decide how wide your octagon needs to be. Place 2 straight edges on either side of the pot or bowl and measure between them. This measurement is the minimum width for your ring. In most cases, I'd recommend adding 1/2" to your measurement to allow for a 1/4" of space on each side. That's it for the math, now we just need to make some drawings.
How to draw an octagon (pic 2)
Taking your width measurement+1/2" and draw a square with each side equal to that length.
Draw an "X" by connecting the corners diagonally with a line.
Place your compass point on a corner of the square and draw an arc 1/2 the length of the diagonal (from corner to center of square). Repeat for each corner.
Simply connect the ends of the arcs and you have an octagon.
To be an octagon, all eight sides should be equal when you're done. The drawing you made is an optical illusion as the angled lines appear shorter, but in fact they are all equal. Measure one of the sides. This is the length of your 8 pieces along the inside edge of your ring. In pic 3 you can see the side pieces are actually longer than this measurement because of their angled ends. Just remember to draw your cut line on the edge that will be inside the octagon. If you mark your cuts on the outside edge or face of the wood, your octagon will be too small.
Step 2: Grab Some Wood and Get Cuttin'
You can use any wood you can imagine. Get creative! I used table aprons or skirts from a couple table leaves I picked up at a flea market. These were especially easy since they are molded on the front and flat on the back. Alternatively you can purchase moulding and glue it to 3/4" thick 1'x4" boards before cutting.
Cutting the pieces on a miter saw is the easiest way to get accurate cuts. Each cut is 22.5°. Clamping a stop block to the saw fence makes it very easy to make repeatable cuts of the same length without measuring. Push your piece of wood against the stop block and cut the same length piece over and over. The end of the stop block is also cut at a 22.5° angle.
Step 3: Glue and Clamp
A band clamp is a simple way to glue odd shapes together. Pressure over the point of each corner helps to align the sides. You can find them at hardware or woodworking stores for less than $15. All you need to do is cover each angled end with yellow wood glue and clamp.
Step 4: Finishing Touches
Once the glue has dried, you can add the finish of your choosing. I used chalk paint to cover the dark stain of the table aprons. I used Annie Sloan "Old White" chalk paint. Since there is a good chance these rings will get wet I also applied a couple coats of paste wax.
That's it! A fun and simple project which I hope will be useful to you. I look forward to your comments and suggestions. Thanks for looking.