## Introduction: Arrange Furniture More Easily: Create a Scale Drawing With Movable Furniture!

I absolutely

I have discovered a relatively easy way to decide where to put my furniture - to experiment with different arrangements, to see how a particular arrangement will flow, work, and look - without having to call up a bunch of friends to help me (or drag the sofa back and forth by myself)!

Creating a scale drawing of the room you plan to rearrange (as well as scale cutouts of the furniture you will be arranging) takes a little time up front, but is worth it in the long run.

I have also used this technique upon first moving into an apartment, to decide where the furniture goes in the first place. It is easier to measure the rooms before I have all my crap in them, in any case. :-)

*hate*arranging and rearranging furniture. I don't hate the end result of an attractive and functional living space, but I hate trying to figure it out the traditional way - you know, moving*everything*around over and over again, just to see how a different arrangement will look or work? Yeah, I hate that. And I hate the fact that sometimes I will just accept a half-baked or not very attractive or useful arrangement, simply because I'm tired of dragging stuff around. But I don't want to be a hater - so let me tell you something I*!***love**I have discovered a relatively easy way to decide where to put my furniture - to experiment with different arrangements, to see how a particular arrangement will flow, work, and look - without having to call up a bunch of friends to help me (or drag the sofa back and forth by myself)!

Creating a scale drawing of the room you plan to rearrange (as well as scale cutouts of the furniture you will be arranging) takes a little time up front, but is worth it in the long run.

I have also used this technique upon first moving into an apartment, to decide where the furniture goes in the first place. It is easier to measure the rooms before I have all my crap in them, in any case. :-)

*Okay - are you totally***pumped**for this? Let's begin with**Step 1**-**Gathering Necessary Tools And Materials**. All right, let's move!## Step 1: Gather Necessary Tools and Materials

**In this step, you will gather the necessary tools and materials to complete this Instructable.**

(

*NOTE:**All dimensions given in Imperial units, as this instructable was created in the U.S. - one of only three countries in the world that does not currently use the metric system. So if you live anywhere but the U.S., Liberia, or Burma, congratulations! You will have a MUCH easier time doing the scaling required for this little project. If you live in the U.S., Liberia, or Burma, don't fret - it's still possible. just a little more inconvenient.*) :-)

**:**

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Materials

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Materials

*For this Instructable, you will need the following tools/materials:*

1.

1.

**Graph paper.**I used a standard pad of 8 1/2" x 11", blue-lined paper. The pad I used was made by Gold Fibre, and had graph paper on one side of each sheet, and lined paper on the back of each sheet. Also, it is helpful to use a pad that has perforated edges, in case you want to remove sheets for storage later. (More on this in later steps.)

**Use a sharp pencil, okay? And a clean eraser is important here! Drafting is often trial and error, especially when you're dealing with scaling. I have used this technique probably 20 times before doing this instructable, and still had to erase due to math mistakes, crooked lines, etc. Precision is relatively important in this instructable, so feel free to let the little perfectionist inside you run wild. :-)**

2. #2 pencil..

2. #2 pencil..

**I used a 25' Craftsman tape with a 1" heavy-duty blade. The length of the tape is driven by the size of the room you plan to rearrange furniture in. The room I measured (my living room) is 18 1/2' x 14', so obviously a 10' tape would not have been sufficient. If you don't even have a rough idea of how big the room is, I would recommend at least a 25' tape. The heavy duty blade isn't necessary, but it saves time when measuring long distances (a heavy duty tape doesn't bend and curl up as easily as the thinner, cheaper tape measures that sometimes come with small home repair kits.)**

3. Tape measure.

3. Tape measure.

**You will use this to record measurements, work out long division, doodle when you get bored of doing math, and other fun manual stuff. You can use a sheet of your graph paper, if you don't mind wasting it. I recommend against napkins - they are hard to read, and you don't want to lose any important data to a mustard stain.**

4. Scratch paper.

4. Scratch paper.

**You will be using these to cut out the scale drawings you make of your furniture. Sharp craft or kitchen scissors will be perfect! Safety scissors might work, but... seriously? You**

5. Scissors.

5. Scissors.

*need*those?

**You will be using this to draw the outlines of the room and the furniture on the graph paper, and possibly to help you measure small distances on the graph paper. I would suggest a solid aluminum or steel ruler without divots along the edges, to ensure that your lines stay straight. (Did I mention that I'm a perfectionist? Is it obvious yet?) :-)**

6. Ruler with a clean, straight edge.

6. Ruler with a clean, straight edge.

**The software calculator on your computer will work just fine. A calculator isn't a requirement, but if you want to avoid doing long division by hand, it will be helpful.**

7. Calculator (not pictured).

7. Calculator (not pictured).

**This is where you will store the small, delicate paper cutouts of your furniture, if you choose to keep them. Otherwise, they will get probably get lost, ripped, crushed, or thrown away. (Hey, life's not fair sometimes.) I suggest a different envelope for each room's worth of furniture you draft.**

8. Envelope.

8. Envelope.

**Some sort of file folder is useful to store your drafted room along with the envelope containing all your little furniture pieces. If you draft three rooms in your house, you could have three file folders - one for each room! This way the pieces don't get mixed up, and you always know where your scale drawings are if you ever decide to rearrange! (If you have a file cabinet, that is.) Again, I suggest a different file folder/manila envelope for each room you plan to draw to scale.**

9. File folder or Manila Envelope (not pictured).

9. File folder or Manila Envelope (not pictured).

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*If you've gathered the nine items listed above, we're ready to rock and roll! Let's get started with*

**Step 2 - Measure Your Room**.## Step 2: Measure Your Room

Materials:

*In this step, you will measure the length of each of the walls in the room you want to make a scale drawing of.*

Materials:

*For this step, you will need a*

**tape measure**, a sharp**#2 pencil**, and**scratch paper**.**Hopefully your room has four sides. Pick one, and using your**

1. Pick a side, any side.

1. Pick a side, any side.

**tape measure,**measure the length of the wall as accurately as possible. (If your tape measure has the ability, I suggest measuring only in inches, rather than in feet and inches. For example, "98 inches" will be an easier figure to work with later than "8 feet 2 inches." I'm just sayin'.) :-) If the wall has doors or openings, don't worry about this yet - we'll come back to it. Just measure the distance of the wall from end point to end point.

**With your**

2. Record the length of the wall.

2. Record the length of the wall.

**#2 pencil,**note (in some way that will make sense to you) on your

**scratch paper**which wall each measurement applies to. You may want to "name" the wall, as I did. I used pictures or other items that were already hanging on the walls as a reference - I had "sunflower wall," "graffiti wall," "coat rack wall," and "calendar/clock wall."

**3. Repeat 1 and 2**(above) for each wall in your room.

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*You should now have the measurements for each wall recorded on your scratch paper. If so, we're ready to move on to*

**Step 3 - Determine Your Scale**. Pick up your pencil and your scratch paper, and let's do it, yo.## Step 3: Determine Your Scale

Materials:

*In this step, you will find the scale factor that you will use to draw both the draft of your room and outlines of your furniture.*Materials:

*For this step, you will need*

**basic math skills**, a sharp**#2 pencil**, a**calculator**,**scratch paper**, and**graph paper**.**you recorded on your**

1. Review the wall measurements

1. Review the wall measurements

**scratch paper**. Select the longer measurement. (In a truly rectangular room, there will be two longer measurements that are equal.)

**The longest measurement (representing the longest wall[s] in your room) will run along the long side of your graph paper. (My longest walls were 222 inches, so I drew these walls along the 11" axis of my graph paper.)**

2. Which side(s) is longest?

2. Which side(s) is longest?

**from the top of the page of graph paper to the bottom of the page, along the long axis of your paper. This will require your**

3. Count the number of rows of squares

3. Count the number of rows of squares

**basic math skills**- namely, counting. My graph paper had

*of squares from top to bottom. (*

**43 rows****Do not count half rows. You are only interested in full [and thus usable] rows of graph squares.)**

*Note:***Using your**

4. Do some subtraction.

4. Do some subtraction.

**basic math skills**, take the figure you just found in (3) and subtract six from it.

*(This is to give you a margin of at least 3 full rows of squares at both the top and the bottom of your graph paper, useful for titles, notes, and measurements.)*My calculation looked like this:

**43 - 6 = 37.**

**5. Long division**(underachievers may use a

**calculator**).

**Since you will draw the longest sides of the room along the longest axis of your paper, you are now interested in comparing two figures - the**

*(in inches) of the longest side of the room (222 inches for me) and the*

**actual length***(the figure you found in [4], above) that run along the long axis of your graph paper.*

**number of rows of usable graph squares**For my living room, the two figures I am comparing are

**222 inches**and

**37 usable rows of squares**. The question I want to answer is: "How many inches can I represent per square?" And -

*it's like magic*- division will answer this question for us!

Now, using your

**basic math skills**, divide the actual length of the room (222 inches, in my case) by the number of rows of usable squares (37 for me). (In most cases, this is where the calculator will

*really*come in handy. Aww, come on... I was just kidding about the "underachiever" thing.) Here is what my calculation looked like:

**222" / 37 = 6"**

What this quotient means (and I got

*extremely*lucky here with the round number) is that the

**distance I can represent with each graph square (and still have my design fit on one sheet of paper) is 6" exactly. So I can choose to use each side of a graph square on my graph paper to represent**

*shortest**6" of my room. Note that I can choose any length over 6", but personally, I want my drawing to be as big as possible within the physical constraints of my graph paper. (I don't see so good.) So, tentatively, my scale is*

**as few as***However, I need to check one last thing before I settle on this scale permanently.*

**6" per square.****Using your**

6. Rinse, repeat.

6. Rinse, repeat.

**basic math skills**, do the same comparison (it's just long division, dude) explained above for the shorter sides of your room. For example, my living room had short sides that were 168", and these sides would run along the short axis of my graph paper, which had 33 usable columns of graph squares (minus six columns for margins) = 27 total usable columns of graph squares. So I need to divide 168" by 27. And here we go:

**168" / 27 = 6.222"**

Uh oh. You see what happened here? This result means that across the shorter axis of my graph paper, I could use each square to represent

*6.222" of actual space, and my design would still fit on one sheet of graph paper and give me the 3-square-wide margins around each side that I wanted. But although my quotient for the longer axis of the graph paper (and thus my first minimum scale factor) was 6",*

**as few as***and still keep the drawing on the page,*

**I can't go as low as 6" on this axis***and still keep the margins I originally wanted*. Luckily, I am okay with losing a bit of margin, so for the sake of easier calculations later, I will stick with my first scale (1 graph square = 6").

*Whatever your quotient ends up being, you can always round*

**Note:****if you get a quotient with a decimal place in it. For example, if the smaller of my two quotients in (5) and (6) was**

*up***6.53 inches**, I could round that figure up to

**7 inches,**leaving me with a scale of

**7 inches per graph square**. This would make the drawing a little smaller, but rounding up to an even number will make the scale

*easier to work with later, and will just give you a little more margin around the edges of the page.*

**far**So remember - you will usually choose the

*of the two quotients from (5) and (6) above as your scale, and only ever round that figure*

**higher****if needed. Be careful if you decide to do what I did (use the**

*up**quotient), because at the*

**lower***very*

*least*you will lose some margin - and it may blow the drawing up too big to fit on the graph paper.

**Using your**

7. Record your scale.

7. Record your scale.

**#2 pencil**, write down the scale you decide on. I wrote down my scale in two places: first, somewhere it would be more permanent (mine went on the inside cover of my graph paper pad); and second, in the far upper right corner of a clean sheet of

**graph paper**(which I knew I would later use for the scale drawing of my living room). I represented my scale like this:

1 square=6"1 square=6"

Recording your scale ensures that you will always know what the scale is if/when you go back to the drawing later.

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*Okay - got your scale recorded in two places? Are you thoroughly confused? Do you remember why you hated math so much in school? Yes? Then we're done determining the scale! HOORAY! Ahem. Let's move on to*

**Step 4 - Draw a Scale Draft of Your Room**.## Step 4: Draw a Scale Draft of Your Room

**In this step, you will draw the rough outline of the room (not including doors, openings, and windows).**

**Materials:**

*For this step, you will need*

**steady hands**, a**ruler**, a sharp**#2 pencil**, and**graph paper**.**1. Select a starting point.**I used the far top, far right of my graph paper. Remember - originally, I wanted three graph squares of margin all around, but my poor decision-making skills interfered with that desire when I later chose 6" as my scale factor instead of using 6.222" and rounding up to 7". In any case, to compensate for this, I could only give myself a margin of

*squares on the right side of the page (see illustration).*

**two****If you**

HOWEVER:HOWEVER:

*followed*the instructions from the last step (unlike your ungracious host), you may give yourself three squares of margin at both the top and the right side. Using your

**steady hands**and a

**#2 pencil**, draw yourself a dot at the bottom of the third full usable row from the top, and three full usable columns from the right. Again, don't count half-rows that may be visible at the top or side of the page - start counting with the first full usable row/column.

**If your scale is (for example) 5" per graph square, and the length of your wall is 100", you will divide the physical length of the wall by the scale factor. For this hypothetical example, your equation would be:**

2. Determine how many squares to use for the length of your wall.

2. Determine how many squares to use for the length of your wall.

**100" / 5" = 20**Which means that on graph paper, your wall will be 20 squares long.

Now you need to find this figure for the wall you want to draw. Using your

**basic math skills**and a

**calculator**, divide the physical length of your wall by your scale factor (as shown above).

*(Note that you may also wind up with a quotient with decimals here. For example, if your wall is 103" long, and your scale factor is 5", your quotient would be 20.6. This means that 20.6 squares is what it will take to represent the length of your wall precisely to the scale you have chosen. Because I wouldn't want to fool with trying to measure .6 of a square, this is where I would fudge the numbers just a smidge. In this case, I would round down to 20.5, and use a line 20 1/2 squares long to represent the wall. I know, I'm shorting the wall 1/2"... and happily, that's an inaccuracy I can live with. Despite my strong perfectionist streak.)*

**Using your**

3. Draw the line.

3. Draw the line.

**steady hands**

**, a #2 pencil, a ruler**(used here only as a straight-edge), and the clean sheet of

**graph paper**on which

**you recorded your scale in (7) on the last step, start at the dot you made in (1), draw a line that runs for the number of graph squares you found at the end of (2). Draw this line neatly along one of those nice, pretty, straight blue lines that are on your paper.**

Remember, if you're drawing one of your long walls, you will draw it along the long axis of the paper, and if you're drawing one of your short walls, you'll draw it along the short axis of the paper.

When you're done drawing this wall, you can label it with a name of your choice along the outside of the line, in some part of that (now very handy) 3-square margin you created for yourself. I didn't do this, because my room is oddly shaped enough that I know where each wall is, but if you have a more regular room, labels like this will help.)

4.

**Draw the other lines.**Repeat (2) and (3) for the other wall that meets the dot you made in (1). Again, for this second wall, draw this line neatly along the nice pretty blue line that the dot should be sitting on.

Then repeat (2) and (3) for the other walls. Here, depending on what your quotient was at the end of (2) the first two times you did it, you may not be directly on one of the pretty blue lines. This is okay, as long as your finished line is

*parallel*with one of the pretty blue lines. (Assuming your room has parallel walls, of course.)

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*Phew! My math skills are rusty! Okay, got the outline of your room drawn? Good. Then we're ready for some more measuring in*

**Step 5 - Measure Openings, Doors, and Windows in Your Room.**## Step 5: Measure Openings, Doors, and Windows in Your Room.

**In this step, you will measure the length of doors, openings, windows, and other "permanent fixtures" in the room you are drawing, as well as their distances from the nearest wall.**

Materials:

Materials:

*For this step, you will need a*

**tape measure**, a sharp**#2 pencil**, and**scratch paper**.**of each door, opening, window, or other fixture in the room using a**

1. Measure the length

1. Measure the length

**tape measure**. Use the same suggestions used for measuring the room (e.g., measure in inches only, when possible).

**with a**

2. Record these measurements

2. Record these measurements

**#2 pencil**on

**scratch paper,**using a new line for each window, door, opening, or fixture. Be sure to specify which wall the window, door, opening, or fixture belong on. For example, I had a window that was 36" on the graffiti wall, so I recorded it like this:

**Window 1 = 36" (Graffiti wall)**

**of each door, opening, window, or other fixture in the room, using a**

3. Measure the distance from the nearest wall to the edge

3. Measure the distance from the nearest wall to the edge

**tape measure**. You're going to want to know exactly where to draw the window or door in your scale drawing.

**with a**

4. Record these measurements

4. Record these measurements

**#2 pencil**on

**scratch paper.**

**It will help if you record these measurements on the same line the measurements for the door or opening or fixture they go with. For instance, if I had a window that was 36", and it was 24" from the nearest wall, I would record those two measurements on the same line, like this:**

**Window 1 = 36" (Graffiti wall) - 24" from Calendar wall**

----------------------------------------------*Got your measurements recorded? Good! Then we're ready to move on to*

*Step 6 - Finalize Scale Draft of Your Room.*## Step 6: Finalize Scale Draft of Your Room.

**In this step, you will add representations of the doors, openings, windows, and other "permanent fixtures" to your scale drawing.**

**Materials:**

*For this step, you will need*

**basic math skills**, a**ruler**, a sharp**#2 pencil**,**scratch paper**, a**calculator**, and**graph paper**.**of your doors, openings, windows, and fixtures. Use the measurements from the last step and your scale. Use your**

1. Figure the scale size (in graph squares)

1. Figure the scale size (in graph squares)

**basic math skills**, a

**#2 pencil**,

**scratch paper**, and a

**calculator**to divide the measurements of these elements (from the last step) by your scale factor.

**from the nearest wall to each door, opening, window, and fixture. Use the measurements from the last step and your scale. (I won't repeat the instructions and the materials required - I'm kind of hoping you've gotten the hang of converting actual size into scale size by now.)**

2. Figure the scale size (in graph squares) of the distance

2. Figure the scale size (in graph squares) of the distance

**directly on the scale drawing of your room using a**

3. Draw the doors, openings, windows, and fixtures to scale

3. Draw the doors, openings, windows, and fixtures to scale

**#2 pencil**and a

**ruler**. (See the illustrations below for examples.) Remember - there are two important figures you need to know before you draw each element - the scale size of the element itself (found in [1] above) and the scale size of the distance from the nearest wall to the near edge of the fixture (found in [2] above).

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*Once you've got all the elements drawn into your scale drawing to your satisfaction, we're ready to move to the last bit of measuring we have to do in*

*Step 7 - Measure Your Furniture.*## Step 7: Measure Your Furniture

**In this step, you will measure the length and width of all the furniture pieces you plan to arrange in the room you have drawn.**

Materials:

Materials:

*For this step, you will need a*

**tape measure**, a sharp**#2 pencil**, and**scratch paper**.**you plan to have in the room with the**

1. Measure each piece of furniture

1. Measure each piece of furniture

**tape measure**. If you have irregularly-shaped furniture, the easiest thing to do is to treat each piece of furniture as a rectangle (from a bird's eye view). Measure the longest length and the widest width of the furniture.

**for each piece of furniture on the**

2. Record measurements

2. Record measurements

**scratch paper**using your

**pencil**. My small coffee table, for example, measures 24" x 48". So I wrote down:

*Small Coffee Table = 24" x 48"*

*-----------------------------------------*

*Simple enough, yeah? Once you've got the measurements for all relevant furniture recorded, we can move on to the last bit of drawing we'll do in*

**Step 8 - Draw Scale Drafts of Your Furniture**.## Step 8: Draw Scale Drafts of Your Furniture

**In this step, you will draw scale representations of your furniture.**

Materials:

Materials:

*For this step, you will need a*

**ruler**, a sharp**#2 pencil**, and**graph paper**.**Use the measurements from the last step and your scale. You should end up with figures that look something like this:**

1. Figure the scale size (in graph squares) of each piece of furniture.

1. Figure the scale size (in graph squares) of each piece of furniture.

**Sofa = 15 1/2 squares x 6 squares**

**on a clean sheet of**

2. Draw your furniture

2. Draw your furniture

**graph paper,**according to the scale size you just came up with in (1). Use the

**#2 pencil**and the

**ruler**(used only as a straight-edge here).

**as you draw it**

3. Add labels to each piece

3. Add labels to each piece

**with the**

**#2 pencil**so you will know what piece of furniture it represents later. Simple labels like "Sofa," "chair," and "ottoman" work well - unless you've got more than one of an item. In that case, you'll have to be more specific - as in "Big Coffee Table" and "Small Coffee Table" (see illustration).

**with the**

4. Add embellishments

4. Add embellishments

**#2 pencil**and the

**ruler**to indicate direction furniture should face. You can add lines to indicate sofa cushions, chair arms, or legs that extend out beyond the body of a rocking chair.

**This does not have to be pretty - it only has to make sense to you. For example, look at the rocking chair in the illustration below. I PROMISE you my rocking chair does not look like that from above. However, I know what all those crazy lines mean. It makes sense to me. (And I have never claimed to be a good artist.)**

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*When you're satisfied with the look of your scale paper furniture (or at least will be able to tell what piece of furniture each piece represents), we can move on to freeing the sketched furniture from the bars of its graph paper prison in*

**Step****9 - Cut Out Furniture**.## Step 9: Cut Out Furniture

**In this step, you will cut out the scale drawings of furniture you drew in the last step.**

Materials:

Materials:

*For this step, you will need*

**scissors**.**Using the**

1. Cut out the furniture.

1. Cut out the furniture.

**scissors**, cut just along the

*outside*of the lines of each of your furniture drawings from the last step. Cut carefully! :-)

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*Once you're done, you should have a pile of furniture-shaped pieces of graph paper. Got it? Okay. Let's move on to the*

**FUN**part. Finally! Next is the step I've been waiting for, where we get to move the pieces of "furniture" around the "room"! Next is**Step 10 - Arrange Your "Furniture"**.## Step 10: Arrange Your "Furniture." (Play With Your New Toys!)

**In this step, you will use the scale cutouts of furniture and the scale drawing of your room to experiment with different furniture arrangements.**

Materials:

Materials:

*For this step, you will need*

**your imagination**, the**final scale drawing of your room**and the**scale cutouts of your furniture**.**Using**

1. Put the pieces on the board.

1. Put the pieces on the board.

**your imagination**, place the

**scale cutouts of your furniture**(right-side up, so you can see the labels and embellishments you drew in step 8) on the

**scale drawing of your room**.

**at will, play, have fun - try crazy combinations. Use**

2. Move the furniture around

2. Move the furniture around

**your imagination**. After all, you don't have to move anything heavy anymore - at least until you find an arrangement you like! :-)

------------------------------------

*They tell me that all good things have to end. I don't believe them, but if you do, and you're finished playing, dreaming, imagining, and arranging, it is time to put up your new toys. To do this, let's move on to*

**Step 9 - Storage**.## Step 11: Storage. (Save Your Creations - They May Be Useful Later!)

Materials:

*In this step, you will store your scale cutouts and your scale drawing together in a safe place so you can use them if you ever decide to rearrange again.*

Materials:

*For this step, you will need an*

**envelope**and a**file folder**or**manila envelope**.**You will want all your scale furniture cutouts and the scale drawing of your room.**

1. Gather your finished product.

1. Gather your finished product.

**into the labeled**

2. Place the scale furniture cutouts

2. Place the scale furniture cutouts

**envelope**to keep them all together.

**Place the labeled**

3. Put it all away in one place.

3. Put it all away in one place.

**envelope**and the scale drawing of your room into a labeled

**file folder**or

**manila envelope**.

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*Voila! You are done. You now have an accurate scale drawing of a room, accurate scale cutouts of the furniture in that room, and can retrieve these materials any time you'd like if you ever want to rearrange again. Put the manila envelope somewhere safe! (And have fun moving that sofa!) :-)*

This Instructable was a lot of fun to create. I have used this technique before, but never had to think it through so thoroughly! Thank you, Instructables.com! I am grateful for the opportunity to share with the community!

--yasonyacky--

This Instructable was a lot of fun to create. I have used this technique before, but never had to think it through so thoroughly! Thank you, Instructables.com! I am grateful for the opportunity to share with the community!

--yasonyacky--