Introduction: Butterfly Coat Rack From Off Cuts

About: One day I shall own a Delorean.

Using off cuts I created a Butterfly coat rack for my other half, I have been promising to make her a coat rack for a while now but with other projects and time constraints I've not been able to.

When I started I didn't really know what I was going to create, I knew she liked Butterfly's so I knew it would have to be Butterfly themed. I ran a fair number of designs through my head before I came to the one I finally created which has turned out brilliantly.

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Step 1: Materials and Tools


18mm Plywood off cut, or other thick wood off cut.

5 - 6mm Plywood off cut

Wood glue

Spray Yacht Varnish, you can use standard Yacht Varnish that you apply with a brush.

3 x Antique finish copper colour coat hooks.

Brass / Yellow screws for the coat hooks.

Sand paper


CNC Router - Optional, you could use a jigsaw and a plunge router.


Screw Driver

Bench Sander - Optional, you could use a block and some sandpaper and a bit of elbow grease.

Step 2: 3D Designing

I'm using my CNC Router to make the wings and the back board so I have to design what I would like to have machined using Google Sketchup.

If you don't have a CNC Router you could easily draw a template on a piece of card and draw around that on to the plywood then use a jigsaw to cut them out, the pattern you use apply using a brush and wood stain which is what I was originally going to do. I realised I was making them out of plywood and the plywood I was using has a hardwood surface and birch underneath if I removed the hardwood the white wood would show through.

Designing the wings in sketch up couldn't have been easier, I imported a Vector image of a silhouette of a butterfly that i got from google images and using the tools in Sketchup traced around the wing I then created the pattern. Once I had one wing I copied it 3 times.

I also created 6 blocks which I will use later to raise the wings off the surface of the backboard.

using the width of wings and the coat hooks I worked out the size I needed the backboard to be, 6 wing widths and 3 coat hook widths, plus enough for the routed edge.

I designed some dips in the backboard so I know where the hooks go later on.

Step 3: Cutting the Parts Out and Finishing

I exported the Sketchup design as an STL file and using Vectric Cut3D I setup and generated the Gcode for the CNC Machine and loaded it on the CNC computer using Mach3.

I machined the wings, the backboard and the jacks for the wings, I said previously you don't need a CNC machine to make this, you could use a jigsaw and a router to make them. to do the pattern on the wings you could use a small artist paint brush and some wood stain.

Once all the wings have been cut out they are still a little rough as I skipped the finishing stage so I could do them by hand using a bit of sand paper so that I can retain the sharp edges.

I did the same with the backboard, i'm using plywood so in places there are holes which I filled with a mix of wood glue and sawdust and sanded smooth.

Step 4: Assembly and Varnishing

The final stage is to stick it all together and give it a coat of varnish.

on the back of wings I measured up 3cm and drew a line and stuck the small blocks on, these will raise the wings up from the surface of the backboard. Once the glue has set on those and Can then run the bottom over a sander to thin the edge that meets the hook and give me a nice flat surface to glue to.

I use a small cheap artists paint brush to apply wood glue to the newly sanded surface and the bottom of the wing jack and place the wings on either side of the cut out in the backboard. I then place the coat hook in place to ensure there is enough clearance, I don't screw it down at this point i just remove it once the wings are spaced correctly and let them set for about 30 minutes to and hour.

once the wings are set I give it 2 coats of Yacht Varnish, the Yacht varnish will slightly colour the wood and bring out the rich wood colours.

See you brands instructions for how long you have to wait, Once the varnish has completely cured place the hooks on and use a bradawl to create pilot holes and put the screws in and its ready to be put on the wall or gifted to someone.

Wood Contest 2016

Participated in the
Wood Contest 2016