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An egg shaped coat hook 'cracks' open to reveal a baby bird when a coat is hung, when the coat is removed the egg closes up again. This fun coat hook is made with 1/8" [3mm] craft plywood and was made on a laser cutter.

When I first saw this design on the Grand Illusions Youtube channel, I really wanted to know more. The brief review did not go into the design and researching plans online was fruitless, so I had to puzzle it out on my own. My first attempt was with traditional tools (bandsaw, drills, hand tools) on 1/4" [6mm] plywood, but the results were clumsy and bulky. Instead I decided to design in CAD and use a laser cutter to get the precise geometry I wanted. I've included my CAD and laser cutting files so you can make your own.

Ready to make a fun coat hook? Let's get cracking!


You're welcome to download the CAD file I made below.

Step 1:

I started by looking for a simple clip art style bird that I could modify. I just did an image search for "baby bird cartoon" and got heaps of results.

I was looking for an image that either had wings spread, or would be easy enough to modify, either in an image editor or by making photocopies and sketching on top of a printed image.

Step 2: CAD It Up

I used AutoCAD to puzzle out the design and create the vector outlines used to laser cut the pieces.

bird:
After modifying the bird to the style I wanted (wings open), I started a new CAD file and imported the bird image.

There's no way to convert a raster image (JPG, BMP, TIFF) to a vector, but you can easily trace over your image in CAD to create a vector image. Using the SPLINE tool (other programs may have this function, or similar function using a 'pen tool'). I made an outline of the bird image I modified on one layer, and the details of the inside (the eye and the curve of part of one wing) on another layer. With two layers I can differentiate cutting or etching when I laser cut later.

To keep things tidy and prevent accidentally deleting a portion of the outline I created a BLOCK of my bird outline.

egg:
After making the bird outline I could start on the egg. I started with a basic oval shape, then scaled it up to roughly match the size of my bird outline. Placing the egg over the bird CAD block, I designed the egg crack sawtooth, then played with the location and size until I was happy with a design.

The CAD bird block was re-sized a few times to get the placement to line up with the egg design, and the travel distance required when the egg cracked open. This was the toughest part of the build, as the bird size and travel distance kept needing to be changed to meet the design intent. Doing this in CAD really allowed me to explore a few different design options.

After a few iterations I made a glide track inside the lower portion of the bird (which would be hidden behind the egg), and created a few mounting brackets the matched the interior diameter of the racetrack. Then copied out the final design into a new CAD file and saved it for laser cutting.

You're welcome to download the CAD file I made below.

Step 3: Laser Cut

After saving my CAD files I was able to import them into Corel Draw, the program used to print to the laser cutter. If you're using a laser cutting service you can just send them the CAD file I shared above. This cracked egg coat hook can be easily flat packed and shipped.

After importing into Corel Draw I made 2 layers, one for cutting the outline of the pieces and one for etching in some detail. I used an Epilog 75W laser cutter and cut my pieces out on 1/8" plywood. I used the following settings for the laser cuts:
  • Power: 40
  • Speed: 40
  • Frequency: 500
After the shapes were cut I ran a second pass with for the etching of the beak, eye, and portion of the wing.

**Note: You should etch first and then cut. Cut pieces can fall off the parent material and become misaligned, which will cause the etching to be misaligned.**

Step 4: Sanding and Refining

After printing I sanded the faces of my pieces. Having a smooth face on the bird and on the backside of the egg will allow an easier transition when the surfaces slide past each other. I sanded to a 600 grit.

The guideway is an area that will be prone to sticking, as laser cut edges can be sticky after cutting. I tried to smooth the guideway edges and the guide pins by sanding to allow for a smoother action. Ultimately, I decided to use a wax to lubricate the guideway after assembly.

After sanding each piece was brushed to remove any dust or debris. The major assembly happens after painting, but I decided to attach the hook to the bottom portion of the egg now.


 

Step 5: Paint

Before assembling the coat hook everything was painted.

Each piece was sprayed with an acrylic primer and allowed to dry for about an hour. Then, I hand painted each element with a brush. The etching on the bird was used as a guide to colour the beak and wings slightly different shades of the same colour than the rest of the bird. The eye was painted black.

The egg was painted a light blue, then I flicked some watered down white paint with a brush to create a spotted effect.

Step 6: Glue + Sand Again

The top of the bird was aligned with the top portion of the egg and glued in place.

Even though I sanded the faces of the pieces before painting, I decided to sand down the back face of the egg where the sawtooth "crack" was to make a gentle transition for the sliding action.

Step 7: Attach Guide and Mounting Cleat + Wax Guideway

After the bird is glued to the top of the egg, the bottom of the egg can be attached to the bird guideway.

A sandwich of oval wood cutouts fitting inside the guideway was made and screwed into the back of the bottom portion of the egg through the bird portion guideway. An oval shape is important to have inside the guideway as it keeps the sliding action linear. Do not tighten the guideway wood sandwich, it needs to be secure but loose enough to allow a sliding action.

A cleat was screwed into the top of the back of the bird shape. This will be used to hang the coat hook.

The basic assembly is complete. To allow the self-closing action an elastic band was wrapped around the top cleat for hanging and the guideway sandwich installed on the bottom portion of the egg. To aid in the sliding action when the egg opens stiff grease ( or wax, or bar soap) was worked into guideway to lubricate for smooth operation.

Step 8: Wall Protection + Mouting

To protect the wall from damage and marks felt furniature pads were placed on the back of the cleat, and on the guideway sandwich.

A small cleat was mounted to the wall, and the corresponding cleat on teh back of the egg easily slides into place to hold the coat hook securely to the wall.

Step 9: Hang Your Coat!

You now have a fun coat hook that breaks open when you hang your coat up for the day!


Have you made your own hatching coat hook? I want to see it!
Share a picture of your version of this project in the comments below and be awarded a 3-month Pro Membership on Instructables.com and a digital patch.

3-month Pro Memberships remaining: 8 / 10

<p>I made a version of this with (what I believe) some improvements. First there are 4 eggs for the family. Its made of solid maple for durability and instead of rubber bands (which will break over time), the eggs close using springs. Instead of painted birds I've laminated clip art that inserts behind the egg top. The eggs are more chicken egg size which restricted the drop to about 1&quot;. It was all done using a band saw which was time consuming since I don't have a laser cutter.</p>
<p>This is a great instructable and you did a nice version all your own. I'm a little confused about how did the guide-way though. Mike's is built into the bird but you've got laminated prints so I wouldn't think that would provide enough thickness. Is it in the backing instead? Could you please explain? I'd really appreciate a picture that shows how the springs work into it too. Thanks for your time.</p>
I just had it apart last week for some tweaks and should have taken some pictures. There are a couple routed channels for the spring and related hardware that's best described in a picture.<br>I should probably do a full instructable some time.
<p>Fantastic work!</p><p>I really like that you made a bunch of them, they look great. The first attempt I made on the bandsaw, but I wasn't pleased with the cracking on the egg - yours however looks perfect! </p><p>Good option on having a laminated artwork, it's something I'll consider on the next ones I make. </p><p>Thanks for sharing your version of this project. I've doubled the award and given your 6 months of Pro (because you did a really good job on these). Stay awesome!</p>
<p>Anyone have the dwg or a png of this? I can not open the file. </p>
<p>I just downloaded the CAD file and it opens fine. It's backsaved as an AutoCAD 2000 file. Maybe try using another program that's more current?</p><p>Here's the same digital file direct link: <br><a href="https://www.instructables.com/files/orig/FFU/IMSO/HR1711RT/FFUIMSOHR1711RT.dwg" style="background-color: initial;">https://www.instructables.com/files/orig/FFU/IMSO/H...</a></p>
<p>nope I get invalid version not sure what, just finished redrawing it up in illustrator. </p>
<p>I made it, check it out here:</p><p><a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Child-Hatching-egg-Coat-Hook-v2/" rel="nofollow">https://www.instructables.com/id/Child-Hatching-egg...</a></p>
<p>So glad you shared your build. Yours has the addition of some very cute legs when it's hatched!</p><p>Thanks for sharing the picture, enjoy the Pro Membership!</p>
Pretty neat project, I dont have lazer cutter but pretty darn good with scroll saw. Decided each of my grandkids get one.
<p>Wow, my 5 year old would love to work on this project! Really creative. Does anyone have a PNG or PDF format of the DWG file? If so, shoot it over to usssandhu@gmail.com... thanks in advance!</p>
<p>You did a <em>cracking </em>job :-)</p>
<p>Woah!!! This is stunning! The gif totally shows off its use. Thanks Mike again, for another brilliant Instructable :-)</p>
<p>Wow. That has to be the cutest coat hanger I've ever seen!</p>
How cute! I make loads of coat racks and sell to fund my woodworking hobby....I just might try this! Thank you :-)
<p>SHUT UP AND TAKE MY...oh wait, I can make it myself. Awesome!</p>
<p>great project! why not put the drill holes in with the laser? also two lines on the bird's wing changed from hairline to .5pt for etch .. also with corel draw x7 it now OPENS .dwg files directly ... </p>
<p>beautiful! I don't have a laser printer... =,( Wish they could be easy to find and affordable because I know once you get one the opportunities are endless.</p>
<p>So. Cute. And. Clever. </p>
<p>I'm gonna use this concept, to make A CROCODILE VERSION! ;)</p>

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Bio: I'm Mike and I make crazy things at Instructables HQ in San Francisco. Follow me and try a few of my projects for yourself!
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