Introduction: Large Bluebell Teaching Aid

About: Woodsman and field tutor on a week day. Life long inventor, designer, engineer for the rest of the time. From items that make life easier to items with no reason to be....other than the idea popped into my hea…

Covid shutdown found me in my workshop making teaching aids. What follows is the making of a large, accurate "take apart" model of a bluebell flower, I say accurate there are no single flower bluebell plants in nature but it needed a stand so it got a stem and leaves.

Wood turning lathe
Vacuum former
various woodworking tools, hand saws, files etc


Lots of wood for making bucks
Lots of vacuum formable plastic sheets in purple and green
6mm perspex
Strong magnets
Brass tube
Silicon rubber tubing
8mm steel rod
Various glues and screws
Purple paint

Step 1: Wooden Bucks

As this is mainly vacuum formed wooden bucks were made for petals, sepals and ovary.

As there are 6 petals the woodem buck is hand cut and shaped to make 1/6th of a circle, the cutline for the plastic when formed is the groove along the edge.

The sepal buck will make a ring of six sepals for the base of the flower. at the same time it will add strength when the flower is mounted to the stem.

The ovary buck was turned in the lathe and once shaped was cut down the middle. ready for a 2 part vacuum form.

Step 2: Petals: Vacuum Forming

The buck goes on the Vacuum former ,the sheet of plastic goes under the heater and once it is soft the vacuum sucks it to shape.

Step 3: Petals: Shaping

Plastic sheet edges removed and the moulded shape released from the buck, the final shaping was done with hand saw and files

Repeat 6 times.

Step 4: Sepals: Forming and Shaping

Vacuum formed, and cut to shape

Step 5: Joining Up Part 1

The next job was to join the petals and the sepals, this required a perspex former to help hold the shape.This was in 2 pieces with strong magnets to hold the pieces together.

The petals were assembled around former and stuck together in threes, the sepals were stuck on the back in one piece and then cut in half with a hand saw.

Step 6: Joining Up Part 2

2 pairs of purple covers were cut to go over the join between sepals and petals. A piece of aluminium was cut as a strengthener for the attachment point, a piece of copper tube was used cut to be attached to the ovary, this was trial fitted.

Step 7: Joining Up Part 3

The aluminium part was attached with 2 long stainless screws, gaps were filled with silicon sealant and the magnets stuck in place.All joints were glued and filled.

Step 8: Purple Paint

The petals were masked and sprayed in various shades of purple/blue

Step 9: Ovary: Vacuum Forming and Cutting Out

The 2 halves of buck fitted onto the vacuum former together and the shape set in. The buck was removed and the halves were cut size, the lower one had the copper tube positioned into the base, the upper got a tube glued to the front to form the pistol.

Step 10: Ovary: the Innards Part 1

The inside of a blubell ovary is split into 3 parts each with 2 rows of 7 seeds.

First job was to fit a threaded ferrule into the copper tube and join the tube to the inner frame using hot glue.

The real bluebell ovary is almost fur lined to protect the seeds, to this end I used some stiff white felt to line this one. After a little bit of lime green paint was added the last piece of felt was stuck in place.

Step 11: Ovary: the Innards Part 2

The seeds are white beads stuck together on a plastic rod, these were then inserted into the ovary.

Step 12: The Pistol

a plastic bung with a small hole was inserted into the pistol tube and the tube was covered in green shrink sleeving.

Step 13: Stamens: Part 1

The stamens were made from strips of purple plastic, tips were glued together from some scrap orange plastic. The stamens were stiffened with some brass tube stuck in place on the back of the stamen and, using a heat gun, the plastic was shaped around the tube.

Step 14: Stamens: Part 2

The stamens were spray painted, bent to shape and stuck inside the petals.

Step 15: Flower Finished.....

So the flower is complete, it needs something to hold it........

Step 16: Stand

The stand was bent up from 8mm steel rod. it has 3 feet that it can free stand or be trodden into the ground, a bolt was welded to the top to attach the flower.

A length of silicon hose covers the metalwork and forms the flowers stem.

Step 17: Leaves

The leaves are strips of green plastic, cut to size and shape.

They were heated with a hot air gun and shaped over a piece of stretched wire to get a pleasing shape, they were than attached to the stem with shrink sleeving.

Step 18: All Done!

All done and here is a short video showing how it easily comes apart.

All I need now is for schools to return to my woodland so that I can use it :(

The trifid from Rog8811 on Vimeo.

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