Introduction: Emotional Support Grilled Cheese

About: I build drums, make costumes, work on house projects/repairs, dabble in Genealogy, eat tacos, and sometimes work in IT.

When I'm not working on house projects, building custom drums, Halloween costumes, or napping ... I enjoy making random "art" pieces. More specifically, I like taking two-dimensional art and recreating it as three-dimensional. It's a fun exercise in design and fabrication.

As far as I know, the concept of Emotional Support Foods was conceived within the wild brain of Sara from Wartooth Designs. The series includes a taco, a burrito, and a slice of pizza. I'm making the grilled cheese sandwich.

It's technically an unauthorized collaboration because I didn't ask permission, but she's seen it, shared it on social media, and I haven't been sued ... yet.

Sara makes awesome stuff! Sara sells her awesome stuff! It's good stuff.

Wartooth Websites


Poplar Scrap - board and dowels
Wood Glue
Super Glue
Spray Paint
Acrylic Paint
Black Leather Dye
Ink Pen
Clear Shellac
Renaissance Wax

Step 1: Quick Template

A template isn't really necessary for a small/one off project like this, but I'm not great at drawing and wanted a repeatable method for marking alignment pegs, so I made one. It's dimensions are roughly 2 1/2" x 5 1/4".

I started by scribbling on graph paper and once I had the shape I liked, traced it onto some 3/16" hardboard. It was cut out using the bandsaw and shaped using the oscillating belt sander. Two 3/16" alignment holes were drilled using the drill press.

This template was adhered to a 5/4 Poplar off-cut with carpet tape, rough cut at the bandsaw, and then flush cut using the router table and a pattern bit. The template was removed and the process was repeated to acquire a full slice of bread.

I did round over the bottom outside corner of one half, so that they weren't identical.

Step 2: Toast

The 5/4 Poplar blanks were halved in terms of thickness in order to create the front and back slices. A bandsaw with a fence could be used for this, but mine has a frustrating amount of drift, so I used the table saw and dual push sticks.

All four parts were run through the drum sander to remove tooling marks and standardize thickness, which ended up being 7/16".

The hardboard template and 3/16" drill bit were used to make the locations for alignment pegs. 5/8" diameter holes were then drilled to 1/4" depth using a Forstner bit.

Sections of 5/8" dowel were glued into what I deemed to be the "back slice". I left the lengths long, so that I could trim them down for a perfect fit once the glue cured. The final measurement ended up being 3/8" of exposed dowel.

Step 3: Melty Cheese

For the cheese layer, I decided to use 3/16" hardboard as I figured it'd be more stable. Solid wood could curl/deform and would be more susceptible to split as I removed central material.

The "front slice" halves were traced onto the hardboard and then the template was used to mark alignment holes, which were drilled out using the 5/8" Forstner bit.

After a laughable amount of sketching and erasing, I settled on an outline and removed the waste using a combination of the drill press, Dremel, and a round file [Fig. 2].

The outside shape was roughly cut using the bandsaw and then shaped using the oscillating spindle sander, Dremel, round file, and hand sanding with 100 grit paper [Fig. 3].

Step 4: Eyes

The eyes are made from more 5/8" dowel stock are are 3/16" thick.

Initially, I cut all of the slices first, but every time I tried to drill the 1/4" hole at the edge, they would break. The solution was to first drill the 1/4" hole into a longer section of dowel ... then cut it into slices using a small cross cut sled. A small sled at the bandsaw would also work - if your saw isn't a drift champion.

Leather dye was used to blacken the eyes and they were attached to the "front slices" with super glue.

Note: Leather dye is the best thing I've found when it come to black pigment. Ebony stain tends to "grey" out and the inks I've tired tend to have a purple hue.

Step 5: Banner

The banner is made from a 1 1/2" wide strip of 1/4" thick poplar. I didn't measure any lengths ... just held it up to the assembled sandwich, made quick marks, and made the cuts using the bandsaw. The two ends of the front piece are angled to fit the contour of the sandwich and I added a rabbet for more gluing surface. All cuts and sides were left long because it will be shaped to fit.

While the glue cured, I worked on its mounting hub. This is just a section of 1" dowel with a 3/8" hole drilled into the side. I used a shop made V-block to keep the dowel from rolling around on the drill press table [Fig. 3]. The mounting location was marked on the backside of the banner [Fig. 4], a very shallow 1" hole drilled with a Forstner bit. Glue was added and once I had the desired angle for the vertical post, I tacked it in place with a few pin nails [Fig. 5].

The banner attaches to the "front slices" by way of two 1/4" dowel pegs. The locations were marked and then through drilled with a 3/32 drill bit. With the banner held against the sandwich, I drilled pilot holes into the toast. A 1/4" Forstner bit was then used to drill two shallow holes on the backside of the banner, as well as the toast holes [Fig. 6]. Short 1/4" pegs were glued into the banner holes.

The banner was shaped using the oscillating belt sander. The middle was thinned so that it would flair out to the edges and then all corners were rounded. A somewhat centered cove was then sanded in to add depth and detail.

Step 6: Display Base

The display base is made from 5/4 Poplar and is a 5" diameter disc. Since I already have a 5" disc template, it was just a matter of adhering it to the wood, cutting off the corners at the bandsaw, and flush cutting with a pattern bit.

I used my Disc Center Finder jig to locate the point of impact and drilled a 3/8" hole to the depth of 1/2".

Step 7: Grilled Smiles

The smiles were done totally off the cuff. I just took some of the 1/4" thick Poplar cutoffs and shaped them until they looked right. I reduced the thickness in the middle so that they would flair out at the ends. 1" strip sander/disc sander combo machine, oscillating spindle sander. and some hand sanding made quick work of it.

These parts were pretty thin, so I permanently attached them with super glue.

The thin lines and corner shading was drawn on with an ink pen. Ink can easily be sealed/set with a few thin coats of shellac. Just a quick sprits - too much and the ink will run ... trust me on this one.

Step 8: Paint and Finish

Finishing was a bit all over the map and required multiple steps.

Toast Slices: Two coats of shellac.

Melty Cheese: Two coats of orange spray paint, two coats of yellow acrylic, edges and horns sanded back to reveal some of the orange.

Banner: Two coats of red, one coat of shellac, text drawn on with an ink pen, several light coats of shellac.

Base and Vertical Post: Leather dye and two coats of shellac.

Once the shellac cured, all parts were sanded with 220 paper. A coat of renaissance wax was applied and then buffed out.

Step 9: Assembly

The piece could easily be glued together permanently with a few drops of super glue in the peg holes, but I think it's more fun to keep everything as separate parts.

It's not complicated as far as puzzles go, but I like the interactive aspect.

Step 10: Glamour Shots

The only thing left to do is find a place to display your Emotional Support Food. The fireplace mantel is nice and prominent. Dining room table seems rather appropriate. Atop the toilet tank will ensure it's seen by many.

Maybe send it to your Mom ... or the original artist?

Note: I know what your thinking ... this guy needs to iron the backdrop sheet! I remember that exact looking being an option at Sears when Mom would drag me and my brother out for family pictures. Also, I was too lazy to look for the iron.

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