Follow these steps to make an R2-D2 Birdhouse! Watch my brief video showing all of the basic steps to make one out of wood. If you would like to make one too, click here to visit my website article and download the free PDF plans!
I originally made this project for Star Wars Day on May the 4th, but thought it would be a good time to do an Instructable with the new movie release. May the force be with you!
Step 1: Make the Body
Cut 8 boards with 22.5 degree bevels on both sides. Lay them on a flat surface side-by-side on top of a couple of strips of blue tape. Spread glue into the glue joints, then roll up the boards to form an octagon cylinder. Make sure everything is even and edges are flush. Use the blue tape as a clamp to hold it together while the glue dries.
Step 2: Cut the Legs
Use the cutting templates in my free plans to cut two legs from 2x lumber. Drill a hole about 3/4" deep where a screw will be used to connect the legs to the body.
Step 3: Make the Body Round
There are many ways to round off the corners of the octagon. You could use a hand plane, a lathe, or just sand it. I drew a circle on top using a bowl that just happened to be the right size, then cut off the corners with my bandsaw. This was kind of scary but it worked, so use caution if you try this method. I sanded the surface to make it smooth and round.
Step 4: Make the Dome
I glued up three pieces of 2x material to form a block for the head. I mounted this on the lathe and turned it into a dome shape. I cut some small discs for R2's gadgets and glued them on.
Step 5: Make the Feet
Glue up two blocks of 2x material for the feet. Tilt the bandsaw table and cut the sides to shape them like R2 feet. Glue them onto the bottom of the legs.
Step 6: Make the Bottom
Trace the bottom of the cylinder onto a board and cut out a disc with a beveled edge. I tilted my bandsaw table to create the beveled edge. Glue it onto the bottom of the cylinder.
Step 7: Add the Shoulders and Hole
I made two round spacers that fit between the legs and the body. One side of each spacer must be sanded with a curve to match the profile of the body. Glue them on so they are directly across from one another. Determine where to drill the hole and drill it with a forstner bit.
Step 8: Paint the Dome
Now the fun begins! I had a great time painting R2-D2, but it was a little tedious. I pained the dome with chrome paint. I looked at pictures of R2-D2 to see where to paint the blue rectangles. I masked them off and sprayed them metallic blue. I also cut and painted a few more discs and glued them on for gadgets.
Step 9: Paint the Body
I painted the body white, then used a ruler and fine tip permanent marker to draw all of the lines onto the body. This was kind of tedious. I masked off some areas to add the metallic blue features. I also painted the shoulder spacers chrome.
Step 10: Paint the Legs
I painted the legs white then masked off some areas for metallic blue. I screwed the legs to the body so they were fixed in place, but you could add a washer in between if you wanted to be able to swivel the legs and body.
Step 11: Add the Power Packs
After looking at some more pictures of R2-D2, I noticed he has power packs on his feet. I shaped a small block for each foot and painted it white, then glued them on. I added som chrome features. I also drilled some shallow holes and glued in some bronze necklace cord to look like power cables.
Step 12: Attach the Dome
I put some felt on the bottom of the dome to cover up the screw holes that were used to attach it to the lathe. I used some self-stick velcro to secure the dome to the body, so it can be removed.
Step 13: Finished!
Here is a picture of the back and a close-up of the dome. I enjoyed making this R2-D2 Birdhouse and I hope this Instructable will inspire someone else to make one too!
PS - After I finished R2-D2, I decided to keep him inside and out of harm's way. He makes a good candy jar too!