Introduction: Decorative Light
This light gives very nice decorative light. It will make nice interior decoration or a unique present for Christmas or birthday.
- Plywood (I used 12 mm plywood)
- Bottle or Carafe (I used IKEA 365+ Carafe, Volume 0.5 l)
- String light (e.g. IKEA VISSVASS light with 40 LEDs or, better choice, AliExpress light with 100 LEDs). AliExpress offers tons of lights for any taste - with a power adapter or without it. I used a USB-powered light. You can connect the light to a laptop, smartphone charger or power bank. Another option I considered - IKEA FLAGGSPEL - a bottle with light.
- Ruler and (optional) caliper
- Fretsaw, Scroll Saw, or CNC
- Wood file and Sandpaper
- Drill with a glass bit (optional)
- Soldering iron and heat-shrinks (optional)
Step 1: Measure and Draw Your Bottle
First of all, you need to measure the bottle. Arm yourself with the ruler and caliper to do it.
My bottle has a simple profile. On the picture above you can see that the bottle has six sections from the bottom to the stopper: bottle bottom (I), bottle body (II, III), neck (IV, V), top of the stopper (VI). To make a drawing I made 7 measurements of different diameters and its distances from the bottom. Note that sections II and III have same diameter but different height from the bottle bottom, and for section V we need to measure two different diameters - internal and external (d1V and d2V). If you do not have calipers you can use a thread to find bottle diameter: reel up a thread on the bottle two or three times. Then measure the length of the thread and divide it by the number of turns. You will get the circumference of a circle - L. After that, use the well-known formula for diameter: d = L / π, where π is the irrational number that equals about 3.141 592 653 589 793 238 462 643 383 279 502… (phew... fortunately for our needs 3.14 is quite enough). For example in my case, three turns around the bottle body made 67.5 cm. Circumference is 67.5 / 3 = 22.5 cm, therefore diameter is 22.5 / 3.14 = 7.2 cm.
So you have corresponding bottle dimensions: heights and diameters. Now, using measured dimensions (and, of course, a ruler) you can draw the bottle profile. If you have some uncertainty you can cut a bottle profile and compare it with the bottle. At this stage, you can correct your template and redraw it as needed. By the way, you can use this method from the start: cut an approximate bottle profile and adjust it to the bottle. It is not rocket science, so you do not need micrometer accuracy!
Step 2: Draw the Sketch
Now you need to sketch the deer's head and body. Use the bottle template to keep to the dimensions and proportions. The body should be approximately the same width as the plywood thickness - about 2/3" (15-16 mm) in my case. Draw a small tail on the body piece.
Now you need to draw the deer's X-shaped legs with approximately same thickness as the body. The part of the legs holding the bottle should be slightly larger than the bottle diameter. Use smooth lines.
Draw deer's horns. Keep the appropriate proportions. Do not draw very complicated horns, keep in mind that you will saw them. By the way, there are no restrictions - maybe you don’t want a deer, but a moose? You may keep it symmetrical or do not keep - like nature.
Add the slots for the legs at the top of the body and near the tail. Also, draw slots at the bottom of the central part of the legs to connect them to the body. Dimensions of the slots depend on the thickness of the plywood. So the length of the slots is equal to the plywood thickness and the depth of the slots is 1/2 of the body thickness. Draw one more slot on the head for the horns. Depth of this slot should be equal plywood thickness, length depends on the horns thickness near its center.
If you use the same bottle as me, you can use pdf-file attached to the next step. Just print it and use as a template.
Step 3: CAD Your Sketch (optional)
If you are going to CNC your deer use CAD software to redesign the sketch that you draw on the previous step. If you have a CNC machine I think you know what to do! I redraw it with the SketchUp software. You can find my SketchUp model below. Red line on the deer's head in the pdf-file is the cut line, so you can print two sheets of paper and connect the parts of this long detail along the line.
Step 4: Transferring Template
Take the template from the previous step (or your own template) and transfer it to the piece of the plywood. There are many ways to do that (e.g. in this instructable), but I can recommend you to use the next ones:
- Use clothes iron to transfer it directly from printed paper to the plywood. Cover the plywood with a paper (printed side down) and press a hot iron to melt the toner so that it glues to plywood. Keep in mind that it is better to use glossy magazine paper than office one, it has weaker toner bonding.
- Wide-stroke the backside of the paper you want to transfer with a crayon or graphite pencil. Then place the paper over the plywood stroked side down. Trace figures on the printed side applying some pressure to get graphite stick to the plywood. See this instructable for details.
- Cut pieces from cardboard and use them as a stencil.
- Cut paper pieces and glue them to plywood with a gluestick.
You may need to overdraw lines to make that cleaner and well visible. I made several deers, first time using the last method (see picture), all the rest - using third one.
Step 5: Sawing
Note: Be very careful when working with sharp instruments. Observe safety precautions.
And now... sawing! It is the most important critically step. As you can see, I used a hand made Scroll saw, but you can use the fretsaw or copying saw. Be careful with the slots. In the ideal case they should be tight enough to stay together without glue. It is a good practice to saw straight or smooth lines before slots.
Step 6: Sanding and Combining Pieces
Use wood file and sandpaper to make the edges more smooth. Be careful with the slots - they must have clear edges and be tight enough. But don't worry if it is not so - you can use glue to fix it.
Combine details with accuracy. If you need strength, use a file or sandpaper to widen the slots. You can try to swap legs together or flip them out.
Step 7: Electrical Part
Almost done. The last step is to put the string light inside the bottle. You can pass the cable through the bottleneck and fix it with the bottle stopper. In this case, your bottle remains airtight and still will be good for liquids if necessary. Or, if you want the end-product, you can drill the bottle bottom with a 2-3 mm glass bit to pass the power cable over the hole. In this case, you will need to solder off the power cable from the light, pass the cable through the hole and the bottleneck, and solder light back. Use heat-shrink tubes to prevent shortcircuit. Be careful with LED light polarity, and mark wires when soldering off. When soldering back make sure to keep polarity. Check the light. If everything is good, use a lighter to heat-shrink tubes.
Step 8: What's Next?
So your deer is done. I think it is pretty enough, but you can draw eyes, for example. Or you can paint the deer's horns with brown paint. Or maybe paint the whole deer with white paint, etc.
P.S. I want to express my sincere gratitude to my wife for the patience with the scroll saw noise and help in writing the instructions, to my brother and his daughter for proofreading, and to my ex-wife for the deer's photos.
P.P.S. Follow my Instagram to see some other crafts.
Participated in the
Indoor Lighting Contest
2 People Made This Project!
- Ima Pseudonym made it!
- lotusandy made it!
3 years ago
Just found your instructable, lasercut the deer from 6mm ply & painted with metalic black spray paint, added an IKEA bottle, looks great, thanks for posting it.
3 years ago
Great idea! Thanks, now I can use my scroll saw for a few Christmas gifts!
Reply 3 years ago
Guess your friends and family will be touched. Mine were:) Please ask any questions if you have it!
3 years ago
Very nice! I made a similar "Rudolph the red nose winedeer" a while back but, I like the idea of making it as a light!
Reply 3 years ago
One of my deers was Rudolph too:) thank you for feedback!!
3 years ago
Very cute idea, I quite like it. Nice work! : )
Reply 3 years ago