Introduction: Overlook Hedge Maze

The Overlook Hedge Maze is iconic in Stanley Kubrick's film The Shining. After viewing it in a high school film class, I thought it would be awesome to build a replica, just like the one Johnny (Jack Nicholson) is seen with

First, you'll need some sort of plans to go off of to be able to determine the size of the maze.

I used 4" x 1" wood, so my "hedges" were 3/4" wide, and I had my walkways twice that length, 1.5".

From there I calculated how long each piece would be by counting how many wall widths and walkway widths long a certain segment was.

My overall specs were about 63" by 41", and in total I needed about 101 linear feet of wood for all of it.

Step 1: Supplies

The next step after getting your lengths calculated is purchasing your materials.

I got an extra 8' piece of wood just in case I might make mistakes or something could come up.

I used 4" x 1", MDF or another size of wood is fine, it just depends on how big you want the maze and the size of your pocketbook.

You'll also need a base for your maze, I got 4' x 8' plywood. (as flat as possible - this is important)

To connect these pieces together, purchase brad nails, 1" nails work, and 1.25" would also do the job.

Don't forget wood glue to secure the pieces to each and to the base. Green spray paint is a good idea or crushed up faux ferns if you wish to get a more authentic hedgy feel.

[ -Wood -base -brad nails - glue ]

Step 2: The Basics

Practice using the mite saw, being able to make 45 degree angled cuts and using the wood with the brad nailer.

1. Measure the length of the piece of wood you will need.

2. Cut the piece out, accounting for the width of the blade itself as you cut.

(The way I did the corner cuts was by making a 45 degree angle cut on each piece)

3. Get the next piece and glue one of the cut edges.

4. Push these edges as perfectly together as possible, so that you get a right angle.

5. Hold it firmly together and then put in a few brad nails to help maintain form as the glue dries.

Step 3: Make Your Cuts

One method of going about the maze is to do all of your cuts at the beginning.

You'll start to see some progress as you set up the pieces so it feels good to visually see how far you're coming.

I started with my largest cuts so that the scrap wood from those big cuts can be used to make the smaller pieces later.

Once I had all of my cuts done, I laid them out in order on the plywood base so I would know where everything would need to go later.

Step 4: Attachment to Base

Now is when you really need to concentrate, you have to attach every piece to each and also to your base.

First, you'll want some plan of how to relate your blueprint to the actual base, I just drew a simple "+" to indicate the center of the maze and worked from there.

For some pieces, I glued corners together and then attached them to the base, but other times I didn't feel the need to.

It is very important that you start in the middle so that you can make minor errors and still have room to fix them, and also so that you will physically be able to use the brad nailer to attach the pieces to the base.

To attach a piece of wood to the base, I put wood glue along the bottom of the piece, put it where it was supposed to go, held it firmly, then put a couple of nails in the bottom to hold it there while the glue dried.

Sometimes calculations are not perfect (see picture). The double piece is the spacer between hedges and is as wide as the walkway is supposed to be. Clearly something got messed up so there was a large error. To fix this I tried to cut the one piece down with a reciprocating saw (which was not the best idea) and ended up having to take that piece out, despite already being glued, and cut a new piece (that's why you buy extra) and start this part over.

Step 5: Finished!

After several hours, you should be done!


Your maze should look something like this when you are finished and it doesn't weigh too much, the plywood base is by far the heaviest part of mine, but 2 people can easily carry it.

It took me about 2.5 weeks to do this while off at college.