Introduction: Nail Wall

Picture of Nail Wall

It all started with a trip my daughter Akhalia and I took to the Exploratorium in San Francisco, and later, it's gift shop. If you've ever been to the Exploratorium, you know how awesome it is and how you could easily spend all day there. This was one such day. After spending hours wandering around and showing my daughter my favorite spots she stopped at a large piece. It was a giant version of a pin wall. The kind where you push up the pins with your hands or face or whatever you can get your hands on and the pins form that shape above. The bonus to this large scale one besides using larger parts of your body, is the shimmer it makes while rustling your hand across the bottom side. Its beautiful.

Next stop the gift store. I can never escape the gift store in any establishment. My daughter won't allow such things. When she set her eyes on a miniature version of the pin wall, she declared that she must have it. Being a broke ass mom, I let her in on a secret. We could make one and it would be so much more fun because "we" did it together. She wasn't sold but with some coaxing I was able to convince her that it was better than nothing. In the long run though, it cost more to make one than to purchase it from the gift store because we used nails. Ours is a bit more heavy duty and not quite as detailed but damn does it look cool. I'd love to make a full coffee table like it. Maybe one of you can take that on.

Step 1: What You Will Need

Picture of What You Will Need

A laser cutter

10"x10"piece of Plexiglass

10"x10" piece of 1/4" wood

One large box and one small box of 10 D 3" nails

4 - 6" (about) Bolts, a little smaller than the corner holes

12 nuts to fit the bolts

4 nuts that cap the bolts

Step 2: Making It

Picture of Making It

I created the grid of holes in Illustrator. I initially tried to make the holes smaller (pin size) and with many more of them. Since I'm just learning all this stuff, I couldn't figure out what to do when the computer told me that the laser cutter couldn't cut my grid out. That is when I decided to go with fewer and larger holes and to use nails. It more fits my aesthetic anyways.

Step 3: Fill It

Picture of Fill It

Fill in all the holes with nails

Step 4: Clean It

Picture of Clean It

The nails were a bit greasy so I cleaned the tops off with simple green.

Step 5: Putting the Peices Together

Picture of Putting the Peices Together

If you follow the photo's you shouldn't have any problems

Step 6: Cont.

Picture of Cont.

You will need something strong and with some weight to hold the sides of the wood sheet to continue assembling it.

Using a level or your eye, adjust the nuts up or down to level the plexiglass. Add the securing bolt when leveled.

Finally, secure the feet nuts and you're done .

Step 7:

Picture of


tjdux (author)2014-07-23

you dont actually need a laser cutter to cut plexiglass. I worked at a hardware store where we cut it by hand on a daily basis.

There is a special scoring knife, or you could use a good quality razor knife, and you repeatedly strike a score line. Use a good straight edge like an aluminum level or metel yard stick or drywall square to slide the knife down. After you make a good score flip it and do the same to other side. Once the scores are deep enough just snap it at the score line. You have to go the entire length of thr plexiglass. So cutting a small square oit of a big rectangle will take two different cuts. One for lenght X all the way down then one for Y.

Also most every hardware store that sells plexiglass will cut it for you generally for a decent price. (Lowe's and home depot near where I live)

laffinm (author)2014-07-14

Ouch! Wouldn't you want to dull the nails a little before you piece it together? Otherwise, this is very cool.

robohawk (author)2014-07-05

You have a lucky daughter. This was brilliantly built and shown.

jeepdude48507 (author)2014-06-28

jeepdude485070 seconds agoReply
I have a novelty hand held thing called Pinpressions that looks something like this. In that one there is a second pin holder about a third of the way down to stabilize the pins. You did a great job making it large and using nails for pins. It must be calming playing with the nails and creating impressions of things. A giant version of this would be fun to play with. Where did you get access to a laser cutter? I could sure make use of one!

bergerab (author)2014-06-23

Great instructable! It looks so pro!

Istarian (author)2014-06-19

Couple of things:

- you might want to use something to cut off
the sharp ends of the nails or at least smooth them to they point poke
anything important.

- some very loose springs might make it even more fun, if you make sure that this won't launch the nails.

- I'm pretty sure someone on the internet made a musical interface out of this style thing by adding contacts and making it so that pushing/pulling the nail connected a circuit.

rimamonsta (author)Istarian2014-06-22

The nails actually weren't sharp. Musical one sounds awesome

Lakes57 (author)2014-06-20

You blew all your spending money buying the laser cutter didn't you.... :D

Your daughter has a cool maker mom!

rimamonsta (author)Lakes572014-06-22

Luckily I have access to one which is why I decided to do this project. Probably wouldn't have if I didn't. My kid loved it, even showed it off to her friends. She took pride in it.

fixfireleo (author)2014-06-19

your picture gave me an idea...if you could find some really big nails at not too expensive, this would make a really cool coffee table!! i wonder if gutter nails would be big enough??

rimamonsta (author)fixfireleo2014-06-22

You should do it. I had that idea too but probably won't execute it anytime soon.

ralphab (author)2014-06-20

Try using a PC "ready made holes" board and then smaller nails. Could be as large as the PC board.

cobourgdave (author)2014-06-17

Nice idea, nicely carried out. It may have cost more, but just like the rest of use DIY monkeys it WAS WORTH IT!

Quadrat (author)2014-06-17

you nead 1 more plate to stabiliz the nails

nodcah (author)2014-06-17

Nice job! I've never seen it done with nails before =D

Cairdy Crafts (author)2014-06-16

Cool project and nice finish. Your daughter must love it!

TieDIY (author)2014-06-16


Penolopy Bulnick (author)2014-06-16

This is awesome! I had one of these once! So much fun to play with :)

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