Introduction: Porthole Sign

Picture of Porthole Sign

The eldest son asked me to make a sign for his newly completed garden bar and barby area. As he is an ex sailor I decided to make him a themed sign. I decided to try and make a porthole type sign with a sea scene in it.

The internet provided many suitable pictures and I finaly decided on this victorian brass one as a model.

Step 1: Good Idea But How to Do It

Picture of Good Idea But How to Do It

I tried a few ideas using metal but finally decided on plywood as I intended to paint it with brass paint and it didn’t need to be functional only decorative.

After cutting a few plywood circles I realised I needed to make a circle cutting jig for my bandsaw which I have put up as a separate instructable. just using a jigsaw freehand did not produce very good circles.

Using the photo as a ratio guide I made the two main pieces. these start off fairly rough as the ply isnt furniture grade but it will be painted anyway. I realised that the bottom one could be just a circle and the top one a ring. I cut the ring on the bandsaw and then pinned and glued it together where the blade had entered and exited the center circle.

Step 2: Plywood Pieces and Positioning

Picture of Plywood Pieces and Positioning

I made the hinge pieces and locking tabs from furniture grade plywood for strength, then glued and pinned them together. I used wooden pegs to locate the front to the back so that the picture could be removed or replaced. Its essntialy two pieces screwed together from the back.

Step 3: Construction

Picture of Construction

after trying metal bolts and eyebolts I decided to just make the locating screws out of wood also.

When pinned and glued they are quite sturdy. The tightening pins are wooden dowels. the main pins are 20mm dowelling and go into the back piece without glue so they can locate the front piece but be taken apart to access the picture. the hinge assembly is also located this way but using dowel pins.

Step 4: Finish Off

Picture of Finish Off

when glued and pinned up it started to look ok.

with computer printed graphic and some 20mm chrome upholstery studs as rivets it came out ok.

The finish was a spray can of brass paint two coats. It could have been done with a much better finish if better plywood had been used but I used all scrap stuff including the perspex. I also cut the perspex on my circle cutting jig.


jeanmarie2601 (author)2017-05-02


J'aimerai le faire, pouvez-vous me dire comment je peux faire pour avoir le fichier PDF, SVP,

Je n'y arrive pas


Bonjour, j’ai n’a pas fait un PDF ou des plans pour ce projet Désolé. Je vous remercie pour vos commentaires. Bonne chance


Ok Merci.

je vais essayer de le faire.

si je réussi je vous met des photos.

------------ traduction google -----------

Ok Thank you.

I will try to do it.

If I succeed I will put you pictures.

PlaidPete (author)2016-09-22

Thanks man! I made some modifications to make it more like the titanic and it looks great! Thanks for the idea!

Tangski (author)PlaidPete2016-10-07

nice job buddy! Looks great! I would love t9 see this idea turned into a stain glass window too!

theoblackadder (author)Tangski2016-10-08

Good idea might try it.

Pierred35 (author)2016-10-07

Nice job, I like it a lot.

Have a look to this web site, it cans give you some nice ideas if you combine both !

theoblackadder (author)Pierred352016-10-07

Thanks for the info. Looks good

cflett (author)2016-10-06

Great job. I may make one for a small sailboat.

theoblackadder (author)cflett2016-10-07

Thank you. I love to see it if you make that

Tangski (author)2016-10-06

This is great and can also be used for a set, text on outside, picture on inside (open the door)....very cool! THANKS!

theoblackadder (author)Tangski2016-10-07

Good idea. Thanks for your kind comments.

twagner3 made it! (author)2016-10-06

Mine is in a submarine

theoblackadder (author)twagner32016-10-07


tscott222 (author)2016-10-06

I saw something like this once with a flat screen behind, playing a loop of ocean waves as seen through a porthole!

theoblackadder (author)tscott2222016-10-06

That sounds cool! - as long as you don't get sea sick watching it! ?

theoblackadder (author)2016-09-23

hey love it! Have you done an Instructables for it? Looks great. I was going to use a metal toilet seat hinge as they could be modded quite easily and it would then be able to open.

thongn7 (author)2016-09-19

An amazing post. Thanks a lot

theoblackadder (author)thongn72016-09-19

You're welcome- and thanks a lot for your kind comments.

Erika021084 (author)2016-09-18

Thank you so much!!! I love making them things!!

Erika021084 (author)2016-09-17

That's awesome, really is incredible good job!! And I know what u mean with kids no matter what age they're always our babies!

Thanks again I really like the stuff you've made for your kids too ??

Erika021084 (author)2016-09-16

Amazing work! Very cool and super creative

Thank you! I gave it to him last night and he was delighted, which was nice to see. They're still your babies even when they are grown up!

sukuakku (author)2016-09-15


theoblackadder (author)sukuakku2016-09-16

thank you!

About This Instructable




Bio: Ex: Business Analyst, IT Manager, Terminal Manager, Shipping Key Worker, Stevedore, Production Manager, Farmhouse Inspector, HGV Mechanic, Rivercraft Mate, Bread Salesman, Van Salesman. Now retired ... More »
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