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Picture of Wooden Air Plant Pendant
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Are you someone who likes to always be surrounded by plants? Why not carry one with you around your neck? 

This piece of original jewelry is a good introduction into small scale wood bending and mold making.

The materials you will need include:

Veneer (Make sure it is between 1/26th and 1/40th of an inch thick)
Wood Glue
Packing Tape
Blue Painters Tape
Foam Tape or Foam Rubber Sheet
Plywood
1 inch Dowel
Chain
Wood Finish
Sand Paper

The tools you will need include:
Clamps
Spindle Sander
Band Saw
Belt Sander
Dremel Tool or Similar
Pliers 

Have fun,

They are also for sale on Etsy if you want to skip directly to step 9. (https://www.etsy.com/listing/129357018/wooden-air-plant-pendant?ref=shop_home_active)


 
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Step 1: Cut Wood For Molds

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Bent Lamination of wood requires molds. We will be making these molds out of plywood and a part of a dowel.

Cut three pieces of half inch plywood to about three by four inches. The exact measurement is not important but stay consistent.

Glue wo of those pieces together and wait for the glue to dry.

In the mean time cut a piece of your one inch dowel to about three inches long.

Step 2: Shape Molds

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This is the trickiest step so be careful.

Cut your dowel roughly in half diagonally and keep the larger half. It may be easier to cut the piece off while it is still attached to the longer dowel. 

With the belt sander sand it down to be exactly half round at the top and taper to nothing about two and half  inches down.

With the spinde sander carve out an angled channel in your double thickness plywood piece. This channel should go from the top to about half an inch away from the bottom and be about half an inch thick. You want to be able to fit the dowel piece you just cut to fit in the channel with a tiny bit of space on all sides. 

Round off the hard edges on the sides of the channel. The veneer will need to bend around that curve.

Now glue the dowel onto the single thickness piece of plywood so that it lines up with the channel when the two sides of your mold face each other.

Your molds are almost finished now.

Step 3: Tape Molds

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We are going to use two types of tape on these molds. The foam tape will take up any extra gaps between your molds and make sure the veneer layers are glued tightly together. The packing tape is there to make sure your work does not get stuck to your molds.

Cut pieces of foam tape to go in the corners between the dowel piece and plywood and stick them on. Next cover the entire mold with foam tape. It is only necessary to cover one mold in order to take up all the gaps.

Now cover both molds entirely with packing tape. 

Step 4: Glue up Veneer

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Now that the molds are complete it's time to make some bent laminations. 

Start by cutting your veneer to the size of your molds. You will want four layers for each side. Two with the grain going vertically and two with the grain going horizontally. I replaced one horizontal grain piece with a layer of burl veneer.

Apply blue painters tape to one side of the two horizontal grain pieces. These will become the inside and outside layers of the lamination. The tape is there to keep the veneer clean and to keep it from splitting and leaving a gap.

Now apply glue evenly to the veneer and stack them up with the blue painters tape on the outside. 

Place the layers between the two halves of your mold and clamp it all together. Seeing some glue squeeze out is not a bad thing. 

You will need to do this step twice. Once for each side of the pendant. 

Step 5: De-Mold and glue up

Picture of De-Mold and glue up
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After waiting for the glue to dry it is now time to take the lamination out of the molds. 

Start by removing the clamps.

Next remove the tape. This is harder than you might expect. Go slow and make sure not to peal any small pieces off of the wood surface. 

Once you have done this with both halves of the pendant apply glue to the flat parts and clamp them together. Glue squeezing out here is more of a problem because it's way harder to clean up later. Be more mindful about the amount of glue used on this step.

Step 6: Trim and Shape

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Cut the excess pieces off of your pendant with the band saw. I chose to make it a trapezoidal shape but you can really choose any shape for the flat parts. 

Sand all sides with the belt sander to make them flat and square. 

Use a Dremel to sand the edges and corners so that they are more friendly. (I don't have a photo of this step, sorry)

Step 7: Drill Sand and Finish

Picture of Drill Sand and Finish
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Drill two holes for the chain in the top corners of the pendant. I chose to use a Dremel for this step too although a drill or drill press would work just fine.

Next, sand the whole thing with sand paper stating with rough grit (maybe 80 or 120) and moving to a fine grit (400 or 600).

After it is as smooth as you want it to be blow off the dust and apply some wood finish with a rag. In order to get the corners on the inside of the pendant it might be best to dip it in the finish and then remove the excess with a rag. Multiple coats are almost always necessary when finishing wood. 

Step 8: Add Chain

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Use a pair of pliers to attach your chain. In my case I had to use a small copper wire piece to bridge the gap between the jump ring and the chain. 

Step 9: Add Plant and Wear it

Picture of Add Plant and Wear it
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Air plants are best for this vase because they don't need dirt or water. Dried flowers would also be nice. I don't suggest using fresh flowers or live plants other than air plants. The wood is not likely to hold up well to excessive moisture or soil. 
CobyUnger (author) 2 years ago
These planters are also for sale on Etsy if you don't feel like making one your self.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/129357018/wooden-air-plant-pendant?ref=shop_home_active
starforest4 months ago

Very cool. With this, you could take your plant on your vacation and not come back and find it dead.

Seriously search up how to care for air plants A.K.A tilly or tillandsia

WARNING!

Air plants DO need to be watered and you must soak them in a container for ten to twenty mins then shake off excessive water every week. (Each Friday) in the other days mist the plant with water. Also don't keep it in direct sun.

NickTheEngr2 years ago
Very cool! They make epoxy that will withstand water and is FDA compliant if you want to make items to drink out of, I make mugs and vases that can have soil and water sitting in them. Here's the link if you are interested: http://www.sscoatings.net/brewcoat.htm
Cheers
CobyUnger (author)  NickTheEngr2 years ago
Thanks, I use salad bowl finish for just about everything but I didn't think it would be enough to withstand dirt and water constantly.
timwikander2 years ago
Very cool way to make a mold. Thanks for sharing Coby!
CobyUnger (author)  timwikander2 years ago
Thanks, Tim. Glad you liked it.
what a great idea and lovely guide too :)
nanaverm2 years ago
Beautiful and unusual! As a woman wearing this, having the bump facing inward and the chain smaller would allow this to fit nicely between my breasts. Or big pec muscles for guys?
foobear2 years ago
such a great idea - love it
You will save the earth my friend :). What a lovely idea. Well explained too.
Love the idea, beautiful!