Wooden Snowflake Puzzle Stockingstuffers

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Introduction: Wooden Snowflake Puzzle Stockingstuffers

About: I have a blast creating things, inventing things and pulling pranks. Getting a nose full of sawdust is very satisfying! Retired Carpenter and Construction Superintendent for the University of Illinois.

Fun little puzzles that become nice holiday decorations...everybody wants one!

Step 1: Make a Pattern

Start by drawing a pattern. Make each piece a little different, and it doesn't have to be 'perfect'. Make it easy on yourself and round all the interior corners a little so your scroll saw can make the turns. Sketch with pencil but then trace the final version with a black ball point pen, clean and crisp thin lines. Make copies of the original (you'll probably want to make them in multiples of three to intermix the wood colors).

Lightly sand the piece of wood (1x8) and spray a light coat of adhesive on the back of the snowflake pattern. Let dry at least 30 minutes before sticking it onto the wood...it'll save an hour of peeling paper off your puzzle pieces later! Trim around the snowflake with a jig saw or band saw to make it a little more manageable on the scroll saw.
Also note that turning the pattern for different snowflakes alters the direction of the grain in your final puzzle, making them even more interesting.

Step 2: Cut Out the Puzzle Pieces

You can be sloppy cutting out the basic perimeter shape, but you must be fairly precise when cutting all the interior lines! You'll want all the pieces of the puzzle to be interchangeable, so they must be accurate and uniform. The thicker your scroll saw blade, the more 'forgiveness' you have.

Step 3: Sand

Peel off the pattern, put the puzzle together and sand both sides flat on a sheet of sandpaper, with the grain, just to take off the burrs from the saw.

Step 4: Stain and Seal

Stain whole snowflakes different colors. I've found it's easier just to drop the pieces into a can of stain, fish them out and wipe off with paper towels. Let dry, put puzzles together again and spray both sides with crystal clear enamel. You don't want to varnish the interior edges of the puzzle pieces unless it has been thinned way down, just as a sealer. For the top coat I really like Rustoleum's 'Triple Thick Glaze'.

Step 5: Play With Them Before Giving Them Away!

Play around with different color combinations. You are only limited by your imagination and your pile of wood! I might try making some spray painted gloss white, metallic gold and silver...or not...seeing the wood grain is nice.

Put your final combinations into separate little gift bags. Squeals of delight emanate from those racing to put their puzzles together. Those who don't get one will be envious! For each snowflake, I have invested 50 cents for the gift bag (Dollar General), about $1.00 worth of stain and lacquer, and the wood was going to the burn pile so it was free. About two hours of labor each, but that includes the 'play time' and they are highly cherished gifts!

3 People Made This Project!

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Okay, I've finished 24 snowflakes now, that should cover everyone on my list...and no two are alike! I scanned two of my crude patterns onto a 8.5x11 sheet for you. You can certainly improve them and customize them! Each flake will fit on a standard 1 x 6 if you angle it slightly.

Snowflakes.jpg

Your puzzle is gorgeous! As someone who appreciates handmade things and has a great love of snowflakes it's just perfect for me. I love the idea of painting different pieces in gold, silver, etc. I'd probably stain most of it and then paint one side so I could enjoy both the grain and the colors. My dad is learning scroll saw work. I'll have to ask for one for Christmas. Thank you for sharing and great job.

1 reply

Thank you! Please share a photo if you end up painting it gold and silver.

i found these a little challenging but were definitely fun to make. and yes I made it

1 reply

Way to go! I had lotsa fun too, and it's not over yet...I can't wait to give them away.

These are so pretty! I really need more experience with my scroll saw before I try these. Why isn't this included in the wood contest?

5 replies

I've tried entering it several times but it doesn't get accepted. Maybe the judges are off this week, or maybe it's not original enough. To be sure, this is an old idea that has been around since scroll saws and cold weather.

And you do NOT need a lot of scroll saw experience to do this! Start with cutting out the perimeter outline on all three snowflakes first - that will give you ample practice time, and if you make a mistake it's no big deal. Accurately cutting the interior pieces is more important (so they are interchangeable with the other colors of wood), but I've found that as long as you make sure to completely cut out the black line, it will turn out great. If you waver off the line a little, just back up and start over, taking out all of the 'ink'. Besides, a little mistake gives them some 'character' and is obvious that you didn't use a CNC or laser cutter and did it by hand. Like real snowflakes, no two are exactly alike!

I'll second that - I saw this project, and went out and purchased a scroll saw and am having a lot of fun with this project!

What is the brand and model of the scroll saw?

It's a Performax 16" from Menards they had on sale last weekend for $69.95. It has variable speed and a dust blower which is nice, the flexible light works ok, about the only problem I've had with it is the blade tensioner sticks and is sometimes hard to adjust. I have it mounted to my bench and there is very little if any vibration. Overall it works really well - don't know how long it will last, but it does have a 2 year factory warranty + 1 year extended from Menards that I paid something like $8.00 for.

I had a little Dremel hobby saw that my brother gave me several years ago and did a little cutting with it a few years ago but never made anything mainly because the vibration was insane! I did get it out for this project and then quickly realized it was not up to the task so decided to treat myself to an early Christmas present with the new saw!

Thank you! No, sorry, not selling any, but there may be some folks on here who are making them and selling them...I'm sure they'll contact you if so!

Those look great! I love things like this! If you have the pattern in a file that you could upload I think that a lot of people would love this!

6 replies

Thank you! I hate to share my pattern because it's so crude, pretty sloppy. I'll see if I can get it scanned and post it. Not sure how to upload it?

I finally did include a scan of the snowflake pattern, it's at the top of the comments page.

Looks great! I still love this instructable!

Thank you. I can't wait until Christmas so I can give them to my cousins!

Save the scan as an image file. Your scanner will most likely do this anyway. Something like a .jpg or .png extension. Then add it just like you add photos

On second thought, I'm too ashamed of my drawing to publish it. I would have to redraw it with a ruler and compass. Besides, drawing your original snowflake would be half the fun. You could even incorporate your initials into the puzzle pieces or personalize it some other way.