Introduction: Plant-Gnomes Vs. Zombies

Picture of Plant-Gnomes Vs. Zombies

At first glance, this project comes down to making "garden gnomes" based on the Plants vs. Zombies franchise. While that is really all you need to know, there is so much more to it on so many levels.

On top of providing some much needed protection in these zombie-riddled times, their delightfull demeanour and the bright colors also lighten up every room in the house, as well as any mood in need of some relief. Well, they really might do all that. At the very least, though, they are fun to make!

A word on this Instructable: as I am writing this, I realize that it will be a lengthy thing. Five plants, some of them complex enough to justify two steps, not to discount the pots, plus one step for variations and ideas on each, makes for a lengthy piece, and it might still feel crammed. I have considered splitting this up into Instructables for every component, but I do not think that would have worked that well either (correct me if I am wrong about this). So I stuck with this huge one.

Once again, providing a comprehensive list of tools is tricky since there are many ways to go about the many aspects of this project. Still, I want to give you an overview of what I used - just keep in mind that there are always different ways to get to where you want to go.

Tools

  • Miter Saw - used mainly for cutting the compound angles for the pot, but there are other ways to achieve that, as detailed in the step about pot variations. It can come in handy for cutting stock to size for other parts of the project, but again there are a number of options for that.
  • Lathe - probably the least optional tool in this project since all but one part has a turned component. There are ways around that, even though they probably are not as easy. You could improvise a lathe with a drill press, for example (video by Nick Ferry), or build your own lathe (videos by Mathias Wandel).
  • Belt Sander - used heavily in this project for shaping and smoothing over pieces. I had it clamped into a bench vise for that, and you could approximate that by using a slat and two long screws and use those as a makeshift clamp against your bench. Or flip it on its side and use clamps. I used 60 to 80 grit belts.
  • Bandsaw - handy for cutting out petals, leaves and stalks. Could be substituted with a number of other saws.
  • Table saw - used to make a triangle slat for cutting out teeth (it will all become clear later). You could do the same on a scroll saw, for example.
  • Forstner/Spade Bit - to make holes that connect pieces via dowel, and to create the business ends of two plants.

Materials

  • Board Material, Wood - this is for the pots and some accessories. Any kind of board material works for this, really. I used OSB because I had a few cutoffs of the right width on hand. Actually, the pots just ended up having the width of those cutoffs, which is why I made two different sizes.
  • Full Material, Wood - this mainly refers to the turned pieces in this project, usually the main bodies of the plants (at least for four of them). While I used beam cutoffs most of the time, I also glued up board scraps to make one turning blank, so you do not actually need complete chunks of wood for this.
  • Duct tape - useful for clamping things together that would be too tricky to do using clamps, like the pots.
  • Wood glue - the obvious and probably best choice for most of your adhesive needs in this project.
  • CA Glue - useful for attaching small parts to virtually anything.
  • Paint - this project lives on bright colors, reminiscent of the bright cartoonish looks of the games.
  • (Acrylic) Lacquer - makes the pots and plants shimmer somewhat, and povides some protection against the elements. I used acrylic lacquer because I had it on hand, but there are other solutions out there that are at least as good (or even better).

Step 1: The Video!

As usual, I made a video about this project which you can find and enjoy above. It features a little more narrative, and shows the making of the five plants described here with a little more action.

As I have mentioned before, though, you will find additional ideas and thoughts on those plants and on variations that could be made in this Instructable, so after you have thoroughly enjoyed the video, please keep on reading!

Step 2: The Important Note!

The goal of this Instructable is to inspire you. While you could use the same techniques I used to make the same plants I made (and part of me thinks you really should), there are countless other ways to go about this, and almost countless plants to chose from.

On the one hand, do not let your tools limit you. Sure, there are limits to what you can do, but they may not be what you think. A lathe makes rotation symetrical shapes easy, but they can also be created using a belt sander or rasps and files. Cutting wood for teeth, leaves or petals works on the bandsaw, but also on the scrollsaw or the fretsaw. And even if a plant does not work out the way you had planned, at the very least you will have gained something more valuable than tools - knowledge. And if that happens check the list linked below - maybe there is a plant that you can use the "failed" pieces of your first attempt for.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a plant to make check out the gallery of plants on the PvZ-Wikia page. There are some repetitions between older and newer games, but the number of more or less unique plants is astounding, as are the different skins or textures for different versions of the same concept (like the pea-shooter with his ice and fire variant). Truth be told when I set out to do this I had a huge number of plants on my list, most of them easy to make - most can be made with a simple turned piece and a few add-ons at most. I ended up making only five because I ran out of ready material for the pots, but also realized that if I made every plant that I had on my list, it would get really tricky to walk through our garden without tripping over plant gnomes.

So in that spirit, lets go for it!

Step 3: The Pots!

Picture of The Pots!

I decided that I wanted my plants to be mobile in the sense that they could be placed even where there is no soil to provide a backdrop, so I had to make pots for them. As mentioned in the next step, you can also forgo this step, but I think with a pot they do not only work better as gnomes, the pots also add another speck of color to it, providing some contrast for the plants (at least for some plants).

I made the pots from a ring of splayed mitered pieces, and to get the angles required I like to use this reference on Matthias Wandel's site.

Once I got both angles, I used my compound miter saw to cut the pieces in one go. To keep them the same size I used a piece of tape in the saw's bed to mark where I need to line up the last cut after flipping the piece over. For other ways to make these cuts, see two steps ahead.

Once the pieces were cut I laid them out with the outside, i.e. the wider side, facing up. Using duct tape to connect the pieces I can then flip them over, apply glue to the angled sides and close the ring up with yet some more duct tape.

You can leave the pots as they are but I wanted to round them over a bit. Depending on how you look at it the belt sander clamped in a vise is one simple way to do that. The result might not be perfect, but round enough for this project.

Another way to go about it is to use the lathe, which of course excells at round shapes if you can get it to hold the piece securely. As luck would have it I had two round pieces of wood in my shop, one a scrap piece and the other part of another contraption. With them, I managed to get the protopot between centers, and, turning it by hand and pounding on it from above, I tried to center it as best as I could.

With the lathe speed at its slowest setting to begin with and only roughing the pot to a round shape this worked well, but it might be a bumpy ride if you did not center the pot properly. Since OSB is not a first choice for turnings - at least not mine - I did the sanding on the belt sander.

Step 4: The Pots, Encore!

Picture of The Pots, Encore!

Since plants do not actually grow in pots but in soil that is held by the pots, we need to make a piece of soil. If you did precise work on the previous steps your pots might all be of the same size and dimensions, and you could draw up the shape needed on paper and cut out pieces from there. Since I have first-hand experience with my usual degree of precision I opted to make pieces dedicated to each pot, by forcing my hand into the pot and tracing the inside with a pencil held flat to the wall. The reason for the later is to get an offset, which will allow the soil to sit a little deeper in the pot.

On the bandsaw I tilt the table to roughly the angle of the sides of the pot. Frankly, I aimed by eye since I do not think that precision here will pay off later. I did not have any problems putting the soil pieces in as it was, and the main idea behind the tilting is not to get the sides to fit with the walls of the pot, but to make sure that it is the top edge that connects to them to avoid gaps.

As far as color goes, I decided to go with bright colors in keeping with the cartoon-like style of the games, using orange for the pot (as a substitute for traditional terracotta) and brown for the soil-piece. Make sure to paint the inside of the pot down to where the soil will be. On top of that, I used two coats of acrylic lacquer to protect the paint.

Since the pot is the basis for every plant, I recommend making as many as you see yourself making plants in one go so you do not have to set the tools up again once you are done.

To attach the plants to their pots I drilled a hole through the earth-plate and screwed the plants to it from below using wood screws.

Step 5: - Pot Variations

Cutting the pieces: while a compound miter saw is all but made for this kind of cut, it is by far not the only tool capable of cutting the slices needed for these ring-design pots. There are other pot designs which you can find below. Keep in mind that when cutting splayed miter slices you need to flip the piece after every cut.

  • Table Saw - you need to tilt the blade to the angle of the sides of your piece, then use some kind of guidance to make sure the piece moves through the blade at the correct miter angle. Depending on your saw this would be possibly using a miter gauge, or with a crosscut table with a temporary fence attached to it. Search here for "crosscut table" if you own a table saw but have not made one of these ultra-versatile thingies yet.
  • Circular Saw - Although similar to the table saw, using a circular saw is a little different. For starters, you need one where the blade tilts, which might not be a given. Then, you need to use a piece of wood as a fence or guide for the saw to run against, and it needs to be clamped to your stock at the right angle, the one you would use your miter gauge for on your table saw. That means that for every cut you need to remove and replace the fence. Using some spacer piece as a guide to keep the width of the pieces constant would help, and so would some way to easily set the angle - like two slats screwed together to form a skewed L. One slat would then align with the edge of the board and the other woud be the required angle.
  • Bandsaw - if your bandsaw allows for the table to be tilted, then you can use it for the pot slices as well. Set the table to the compound angle and use a miter gauge for the miter angle. One problem would be that the tables of most bandsaws I know are not wide enough to support stock of the size I used while also holding the miter gauge. Also, the cut face might not be as clean as with the previous saws, but that should not be an issue, at least with a little sanding. Here you will have to experiment with your tool to see whether you can make it work.
  • Jigsaw - here, too, you need to be able to tilt the blade in order to make these cuts. Similar to the circular saw, you also need an auxilaury fence clamped to your stock in order to make this work.
  • (Miter Saw - see two steps further up)

Clamping them:While I do believe that duct tape is the easiest way to do this - mainly because it holds everything in place despite the odd shapes, and you do not have to do any actual assembly once the glue is spread, there are other methods that might (or might not) work. Unlike I did with the tape, you should put the pot upside down for this, since that will make it easier to put the pieces in place.

  • Rubber Bands - probably the most viable alternative option here. Once you have glue on all the necessary faces and the pieces in place put a number of rubber bands all over it, from top to bottom. Be careful, though, applying pressure that does not come from all sides (i.e. squeezing from two sides) will quickly ruin the set-up and you have to assemble (and at least at the third repetition also curse) anew.
  • Plastic Wrap - along the same lines as the rubber bands, and frankly I do not think this would work well. Plastic wrap can be used as a clamp here if you can manage to wrap it around the structure without collapsing is in the first place. Once you are there you can add layers of wrap and even pull it taut
  • Hose Clamps - those are probably too specialised, or at the sizes required too expensive to go out and buy for this project. If you happen to have some on hand, you can put them over the pot just like you would a rubber band and tighten it until it holds the pieces together. You could even use two or three. You can also connect several smaller ones to make a bigger one (at least with the designs I know). Keep in mind that since the metal band is meant for cylinders, it will probably leave a mark on the pot, but if you round it over they should not be an issue.
  • Rope - this one is a good way to clamp odd shapes, and probably up there with rubber bands as far as ease of use goes. In theory you could wrap the rope around the pot and tie it off with a knot. A better idea would be to tie off a slightly oversized loop of rope and put it over the pot. Then take a dowel/pen/rebar, insert it into the loop and start twisting it. This will shorten the rope and excert pressure on the pot. Once you are satisfied, make sure to clamp the bar down somehow so it does not spin out of controle and knock you over the head before the glue has set.

Other methods of pot-making: Other than the splayed miter method for making the pots, there are also methods that do not require as much cutting, and that you can use depending on the tools you have and the material you want to invest.

  • Full Turning - If you have a lathe at your disposal, one way to go would be to turn the pots from solid material. Given the size, I think you would be best off with pieces of complete trunk. Keep in mind that there is no need for the pots to be hollow like the ones I made. All you would need on the inside is to go down slightly to "soil level". This would make the pots a lot heavier and thus harder to topple. I would recommend drilling drainage holes, though, from soil level to the outside, so prevent standing water in your gnomes if you put them outside.
  • Segmented Pot - This methods cuts the number of angles that you need to cut in half, at least compared to the splayed miter method. If you want to get an idea for what is possible, search for "segmented turning" to see some vases and other hollow forms that were made using rings composed of small angled pieces. And to cut down on the hassle of making these, check out Frank Howarth's Wedgie Sled, which is a table saw accessory that makes cutting the right angles every time easy. To make it easy in yourself, use circles cut from board material for the bottom 4/5 of the pot and only start with the rings at soil level. Since these rings are stil polygons (and the circles might not match), you need a way to smooth them over - either the lathe or the belt sander would work well for that.

Step 6: The Sunflower!

Picture of The Sunflower!

This is the basis of every good defensive plantation, because you need sunlight to grow plants. Yes, it is somewhat backwards, but why would you call it sunflower if it did not produce sunlight? Game mechanics aside, the main body of the sunflower is a turned piece with a gentle radius and a step along the outside for attaching the petals to.

I turn that shape on the lathe, taking into account the material I will be using for the petals when cutting the aforementioned step (in the wood, not in this Instructable). Since I will be using thin plywood I use that as a reference.

To make the petals I roughly sketch out one and cut it out on the bandsaw, then make the rest by stacking pieces of plywood and using one already cut as a template. This operation looks dangerous but - at least in my opinion, which mattered to me most at the time - it was not, since I did not allow pressure to build up and was very conscious about where I put my fingers. Your mileage and, thus, opinion may vary.

With a drum sander (the roller of the belt sander would have worked just as well), I add a slight curve to the inside of the petals so there is less gap between them and the center. I also go over the edges to make them look a little less on edge.

I had laid out the petals on the actual flower to see how many I need, but as it turns out the method I used for cutting produced slightly skewed petals that take up sligjtly more or less space depending on which way they are facing each other. This is not a major problem, but you might have to adjust the last petal to fit a little better. I had to cut one in less than half for that.

To attach it to the stem I am using a pocket hole and a dowel of the same diameter. That dowel also goes into the trunk piece which I shape on the bandsaw with a little sanding added for the shape.

The stem and trunk are painted green, the center of the flower orange and the petals yellow, and the whole thing then gets a face according to the source material, and a coat of lacquer to grant it some protection from the elements.

Step 7: - Sunflower Variations

Even more so than the pots, the flowers leave open a much larger room for interpretation and improvisation. I have listed here the major points that I think might help you circumvent certain problems that might arise from the way I built mine, but it is the end result that counts, not how you get there. Which is true for every project.

If you do not have a lathe, you can instead cut two discs from a board, one a bit larger than the other, and the smaller one preferrably a bit thicker (although you could also laminate two of the same size together, bringing the number of discs to three). The thicker, smaller one will be the centerpiece, while the larger one will serve as the step for the petals. You can use files, rasps or any kind of powered sander to give the centerpiece the gentle radius before gluing it onto the larger disc.

A less tricky way to make the petals would be to sketch one and cut it out as before, then trace it onto the board you want to use and cut out each one indivitually. Ideally, thich would allow you to keep your fingers further away from the blade due to a larger workpiece, macbe saviing some time by layering two or three pieces with double-sided tape to hold them in place.

If you do not have a pocket hole jig you can either use a drill bit of the size of the dowel you want to use, drill straight into the back for 5 mm or 1/5", then use that hole as a guide and tilt your drill to a very low angle to complete the hole. You could also just hot-glue the dowel to the back of the flower without any hole at all.

An even simpler approach for the whole flower would be to sketch out the whole sunflower on a piece of board, including petals, and cut that out. Add your paintjob and you are all but done. You can even go as far as to include the stem and the trunk in your sketch and make the sunflower in 2D from a single board. Unlike most other plants, the sunflower is already pretty "flat", so this method would work well here.

Step 8: The Pea-Shooter!

Picture of The Pea-Shooter!

This is pretty much the staple of every yard defense, and a very distinct plant. I will not get into where the pea-shooter takes all the peas from, but I will tell you how I made mine.

The basis for this plant is a large turned body. I like to hoard beam cutoffs from roofing construction whenever I can get my hand on them, and I used one of those here. Before approximating a pea-shape on the outside I used several forstner bits to drill out the opening of what equates to the pea's mouth. Let me mention right here and now that I had the intention of coming back to it and cleaning the hole up, making it smoother, but I only remembered that after I had already parted the workpiece off of the lathe, so I now have to live with that.

The outside shape is based on reference material, and since the holes do not go that deep either way you do not have to worry as much as to how far you can safely turn. I sanded the surface a little, but knowing that it would get painted anyway I decided not to invest too much time here.

Once I was happy with the shape I parted it off and used the belt sander to smooth over that last spot right at the back.

As for a trunk, you can use the same technique used for the sunflower. For this particular plant I used the bandsaw to cut out the leaf shape, but then proceeded to the belt sander to give it a little more organic form.

A dowel serves as the stem, and I wanted the pea to lean backwards. Using a spade bit in my drill press I drilled two holes at a matching angle into both pieces, so that when connected, the pea-shot's head would be roughly level. I actually had to sand down my dowel to fit the holes.

After gluing everything in place I colored it green and gave it the signature face, then covered it all with two coats of lacquer.

Step 9: - Pea-Shooter Variations

I want to mention again that in the games there are variations for every plant (say, pea-shooters that shoot burning or frozen peas, not to mention the plethora of variations in Garden Warfare), with the main difference being a new paint job. So you can also make several plants of the same shape and still end up with a variety of defense options.

As for the pea-shooter in particular, I do not think that there is the option of making it 2D with this plant. But if you do not have a lathe, here are some other options:

  • You could use a bandsaw to shape the pea-body. This would work by tracing the shape on two adjacent faces of the square blank and cutting it out, then rounding over the edges either with file or rasp, or on the bandsaw directly.
  • It is possible to do the whole thing with a belt sander, although to save on time I would recommend removing bigger chunks of material with a saw or, if you are proficient with it, a carving knive.
  • You could also carve the whole thing with a knive, but I would not feel comfortable doing that because have neither practice with is nor expertise.
  • A little more esotheric but still an option is the table saw. Here you can either use a sled and cut slots into the piece where you need material removed - although the step-like surface will then need to see some further shaping...
  • ... or you can use your table saw to make coves. Check out this video by Matthias Wandel. It would be similar to the bandsaw option as it allows work only on the four sides of the blank, but I like this technique and thought I would mention it here.

Step 10: The Wallnut!

Picture of The Wallnut!

This is in my opinion the easiest plant to make, and it also has the coolest look - literally speaking. The wallnut is just that, a defensive option, and as such both bulky and nutty. But enough with the puns.

Simply put, all you need to do is to get the wood shaped like a wallnut - and even simpler, a wallnut as portrayed in the game. There are plenty of methods for that (see next step), but for mine I chose bandsaw and belt sander, the later mainly because I already had it set up in my vice for this project.

The first step is to cut the general oval shape out on the bandsaw. I freehanded it onto the piece and got lucky that my bandsaw had enough vertical clearance to accommodate the piece (which I should have checked first).

After that cut is made I tilted the table to an angle somewhat in the neighbourhood of 45° and cut a chamfer on both sides. This was a little tricky as I had to take care not to cut too deep, since the actual cut was obscured from view by the workpiece most of the time.

The final shaping, i.e. rounding over all the corners, is then done on the belt sander, and it is important here to have a firm grip on the workpiece. Despite the chunk being rather big, it can still get propelled by the belt, and while you should not be standing in the line of fire in the first place, it can be both annoying as well as inconvenient.

The finished shape then gets a coat of brown, the signature eyes, and some lacquer.

Step 11: - Wallnut Variations

The Wallnut allows for a lot of flexibility when it comes to tool choice, and how far you can take it depends mostly on what you feel comfortable with.

  • For example, you could also do freehand bandsaw shaping. It is not as dangerous as it sounds, but the wallnut might be a little unqwieldy for that. If you are interrested in the technique, though, check out this demonstration by Jimmy DiResta (part of a video I really recommend regarding bandsaw use).
  • In theory, you could also do the whole thing on the belt sander, but considering the amount of material you would have to turn into dust I would not recommend it. Same goes for other sanders (disc sander, random orbital sander, spindle sander, etc.).
  • Using rasps and files might be an option provided that you have aggressive rasps and the patience to file away those rasp marks afterwards. You would need to clamp the workpiece down in order to work it properly. If you do not have a vice large enough, using clamps directly on the workbench or screwing the nut blank to a board and clamping that would do the trick.
  • In theory, if you have a lathe, you could also turn a piece with the outline of the wallnut from a sufficiently large block of wood and then flatten down two sides, although I imagine it would still require a lot of shaping to make it look as intended. If you feel adventurous, you could try using excentric turning to shape both sides, but I do not think I would dare with a piece that large.

There are other methods that do not actually pertain to shaping the blank, but to making a blank that is already closer to the right shape. They might also be good options of you do not have a cutoff large enough, and also help you out if you do not have a bandsaw powerful enough to cut such a large piece (believe me, mine struggled quite a bit). And of course, you can combine all of those methods below with the shaping options detailed above.

  • You can combine two or three slats to make up a block of sufficient size. Before you glue them up, consider whether you can actually leave out material that will only get removed later anyway.
  • If you have a sufficiently flat board you can cut out slices and stack them up to make a nut. To visualise, imagine cutting the finished nut into discs - those are the pieces that you need. I would recommend tracing the shape you want out on paper, then draw lines representing your board's thickness and take your measurements from there to sketch the discs that you need. You will still need to do some shaping to get rid of the steps, but it will give you a decent blank.

Step 12: The Chomper!

Picture of The Chomper!

This one is my favorit plant as far as this project goes, but also a rather complex one that does not allow for as much variation as the others.

To begin with, I needed a wooden ball that I can then cut in two halves. I actually made the blank for this from a bunch of scrap pieces glued together, and believe me, truing them up was about as much fun as it looks. Getting the cylinder into a sphere was actually not that bad by comparison.

I finished one half and parted it off, then did the second half - with a groove in the flat side that will provide completely useless, so I would recommend you disregard that particular feature. Luckily for me, I do not need to take that much care sanding the sphere since it will get covered with paint and lacquer later anyway.

To connect the jaws I need coresponsing flat spots on both halves, and the easiest way I found to make them is once again the belt sander. I aim a drill by eye in order to create a hole in one half to accept a screw that will pull both pieces together, mainly for the subsequent glue to dry since I so not see another way that you could clamp these pieces properly.

Step 13: The Chomper, Again!

Picture of The Chomper, Again!

I made the chomper's stem from a piece of slat which I cut out on the bandsaw based on a rough sketch. I then smoothed it over first on the very same tool and then with the belt sander. The end that will be attached to the jaws receives a rough approximation of the angle between said jaws.

To attatch it, I drilled a hole through where the jaws meet, avoiding the screw that is still holding the two halves. I would recommend drilling a pilot hole into the stem to avoid it splitting. If you do not, the wood might crack and you might end up using hot glue to fill up the cracks and secure the stem in place. Which I happened to do.

To paint it I mixed up some purple that came out too heavy on the blue side and thus does not match the actual color this plant has in the game, but I think it worked out rather well. In addition, the Chomper gets some green accents.

Step 14: The Chomper, Revisited!

Picture of The Chomper, Revisited!

The main aspect of the whole chomping theme of a chomper are, of course, the teeth, which should be plentyful and pointy.

In my opinion, the best way to "mass-produce" teeth is to cut a triangular piece of slat on the table saw. Make sure to work with push sticks and take care to always use the fence for support. I think the pictures show how I did it better than I could describe it. The actual triangular piece you want is the "cutoff" in the third picture.

The idea now is to resaw that piece on the bandsaw, and since it is small I do this by hand. This way, you can create a large number of similar shapes pretty quickly. Just make sure that none slip into the casing of your saw. To help that, I use a piece of particle board as zero clearance insert - slide it in through the saw and clamp it down in place halfway through.

Next, I shape every single tooth, both chamfering the edges as well as taking off a bit of wood on two corners to give it a more steep angle. The later I could have done before resawing the triangle to save a little more time. Also, I used the same kind of zero clearance table add-on for the disc sander to prevent the teeth from getting sucked in by the disc.

To glue them in place I use a slow-setting kind of ca-glue, since it would be tricky to clamp the teeth in place.

Remember the slot I turned into one jaw? I did that with the intention of setting the teeth into it. Turns out, it actually makes it harder to get them to fit and provides no advantage that I could find.

I also chose not to paint the teeth, even though it would be appropriate to give them a coat of white. I thought that the grain running in the ones I had made gave them an even more aggressive look - which makes the teeth of a zombie-chomping plant the only part of this project where bare wood is showing.

Step 15: - Chomper Variations

Picture of - Chomper Variations

Since the chomper is based on a ball the lathe remains the best choice to make it, but there are other alternatives, even though they are bound to be trickier or more complex to pull off. Most will not be perfect, but after chomping through hordes of zombies a chomper has deserved some geometrical leeway.

  • Use the Bandsaw to approxinate a ball by making a cylinder, then chamfering it, then working your way to a sphere taking off whatever edges remain. Holding that protoball can get tricky though, so use clamps tp hold it..
  • Do the same using a belt sander. I would not recommend this solution because of the large amount of material you would need to turn to dust, but it is a possibility..
  • Personally, I would recommend a combination of bandsaw and belt sander.
  • Files and rasps are another option, but I think they work best for refining the shape, not for producing it, just like the belt sander.

Other alternatives include using the bandsaw to cut the connecting faces of the jaws on the bandsaw, but I have actually tried that and it did not work out for me, mainly due to lack of clearance on my bandsaw. You could probably make it work using something to register the half-sphere against, a miter gauge or the fence. Just make sure that you use a clamp on the piece so it does not escape you.

The teeth do offer some degree of variation, on top of doing more shaping before resawing it.

  • If you do not have a bandsaw but have already cut the triangle on the table saw, you could use a table saw sled to resaw the teeth. This will cost you more material due to the wider saw kerf, and it would be a tricky thing to handle safely unless you are using a crosscut sled (like you should). The sled would also prevent the pieces from falling into the saw if you do not have a zero clearance insert..
  • You could also take a thinner board and cut the teeth using a scroll saw or a fretsaw. The easiest way to do that would be to take a strip the width of the teeth and repeatedly cut it at the same angle, flipping it over after every cut.

On a slightly different note, you could also cut the triangle with the bandsaw if you can tilt its table, as well as with any other saw that allows for tilting, including a jigsaw if you use a slat clamped to the workpiece to make the cuts straight.

Step 16: The Bamboo Shoot!

Picture of The Bamboo Shoot!

Yes, I knnow, this plant does not actually appear in the original games. Instead, it comes from the Garden Warfare games where it is a support plant, and since I like those games, too, I thought I would go for it. That, and it is a rather simple plant to make.

Like the pea shooter, it requires a turned body piece, made from another beam cutoff. Here I go for a plain forstner hole to mark the business end - no steps, and, intentionally this time, no smoothing over. It will get painted black later anyway, and does not need to be that deep.

Unlike the pea shooter, the bamboo does not have a stem - or is all stem, depending on how you look at it.

As accessories go, this plant has two tiny arms which I cut from thin plywood using my bandsaw, and attach by drilling two angled holes into the body and glue the arms into them.

It gets a green paint job, and I tried to go a little more artistic on this one by adding watered down yellow to add some highlight to the top portion.

I also painted on a grumpy face and gave the whole thing two coats of lacquer.

Step 17: - Bamboo Shoot Variations

Since this plant is mostly one turned piece, many of the same ideas used for the pea shooter apply, even though using the lathe is by far the easiest. To repeat,

  • You can use the bandsaw to cut the shape.
  • You can use a belt sander.
  • You can use both.
  • You can use files and rasps.

The arms can be made with any kind of saw that works on such small pieces - which in my mind excludes the jigsaw for safety reasons.

Instead of drilling a hole into the top you could simply paint a black circle onto it.

Step 18: The Future!

There are so many other plants available, and on top of that, there are countless variations of the "core plants" in the Garden Warfare games especially.

I would love to make more of these, and explore more ways of making those plants and turning a small drawing into the "real thing" - well, maybe not "the" as much as "a", but you probably get the picture by now. For me, the limiting factor is space, and I am happy to report that all five plants have found a caring and sunny home. I do not know how many more I could get my wife to sign off on, so I will leave it at that for now.

But if you decide to make your own, make sure to check out the ressources online - do an image search for "plants vs. zombies list" and you will find more than enough material. Expand that by searching for "garden warfare list" and you will find even more than that.

But whatever you do, please remember to share the result with us in the comments down below!

Step 19: The Thanks!

Picture of The Thanks!

Thanks for sticking with me through this rather long Instructable. I hope the instructions were detailed enough, but in case I missed something please feel free to ask!

Also, I have entered this into the Wood Contest that is currently running, and I would appreciate your vote it if you feel that I earned it.

Keep those Zombies at bay, and as always, remember to be Inspired!

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Bio: Remember to be Inspired! And remember to subscribe to my YouTube channel for a lot of stuff that does not make it here!
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