Introduction: Paracord Sewn Wood - Wall Art
How many reasons can one have to start a project and change the design. Read on and find out.
Do you have a spare slap of wood, an ugly board or something similar. Get yourself a nice color paracord and start sewing it into a piece of art to go onto your wall. The options are endless.
Step 1: Materials & Tools
- Wood: Since we live in our current house (over 3 years) I planned to make us a new floor lamp if we couldn't find any in a shop for a price we liked. A month or 2 ago I finally had a design we both agreed on. My brother in law could provide us with an oak board. A week after I arranged the wood, we finally bought ourselves a floor lamp (IKEA, so it was hacked to our liking of course). So there you have it, reason 1 to make such a piece of art.
- Paracord: I used around 10-15 meter. The color we choose was a multicolored 'random' pattern weave which fitted our interior best.
- Steel bar
- Wood finish
- Miter saw, but also only a hand saw will work.
- Drill for drilling the holes where the paracord will go through.
- Sander including sandpaper with different grids.
- Paint supplies
Step 2: Design
This design started out as a design for a floor lamp. The design had a live edge slap and fabric wire woven from the bottom all the way to the top. But since we bought a lamp we won't make the lamp anymore.
We now got a spare oak board, luckily my wife wanted to hang something on the wall above the couch for a long time. Reason 2, happy wife, happy life, so we decided to use the board for a piece of wall art. I watch Make Anything on YouTube and I remembered a big letter design he made where he chain stitched wood using paracord. I liked the idea to stitch a design on wood, so decided I could use that here, reason 3.
So now we have an oak board we want to stitch using paracord. Great, but what about the design. Let's try the curly design we had for the lamp with some changes, not what we want, the ratio of the board is off. Cut the board in three and stitch them together, much better. Now we need three designs. We both like 2D low poly animal heads, reason 4, and it even looked good on paper. Let's get started.
Unfortunately, the board didn't have a live edge. But after cutting it in three, one of the parts split in two, providing us with the option to use that split as a live edge in the middle. What a great reason 5 to change the design again. Add the live edge and only add two low poly animal heads.
Only one problem remains, the board now consists of two parts, left and right. Lucky for us we bought some steel two years ago for another project and never used it for that project. Reason 6 to again change the design, but this time it was for the final design.
Step 3: Wood Work
We start with all the wood work for this build. It's not much work and it shouldn't be too hard. Simple tools should be able to do the job.
- Cut your wood to the dimensions you need. We cut our board in three pieces of 45 cm, width is 34 cm.
- Sand the wood to the roughness you like. We went up to 120 grid. Because we had a really rough piece of lumber, it was quite a lot of work to get it completely smooth. So when sanding with the first grid, I actually liked the look where some of the saw marks were kept visible. My wife also liked it, so this saved me a lot of sanding.
- Transfer your designs and stitch pattern to the wood. I used an owl to transfer a printed design.
- Drill all the holes. First drill pilot holes followed by the desired drill size by drilling from both sides to prevent tear out. I finished the holes with a countersink drill bit.
- Apply finish to the wood.
Before you drill your holes, use a scrap piece of wood to drill some test holes of different size. You are then able to see how many times the paracord can go through the hole. Based on your results and animal design, certain nodes need bigger or smaller sized holes. The sizes I used are 6mm for 2, 8 mm for 3 and 4, 10 mm for 5 and 6 strands of paracord.
Step 4: Sewing Work
Again a fun and not too difficult step. However, stitching wood can take some time depending on your design.
- Stitch the design onto the wood. I've divided each animal into multiple sections. As an example I've shown all in between steps (every section) for the rhino in the images.
- Finish the ends of the paracord by heating the paracord with a lighter. The paracord will melt and can be fused together that way. Another option could be to use some kind of glue or staple from the back.
- Do the stitching of the separate panels before you mount them together. This way you have a smaller piece to work with, which makes the work a lot easier.
- Use a thin piece of steel wire as the tip of the paracord. This makes it a lot easier to stitch all holes.
Nerdy math stuff:
The problem of connecting all the holes is part of Graph theory in mathematics. You would suspect that it is not possible to connect all the holes with a single piece of paracord because there are more than 2 holes were paracord passes the hole an uneven amount of times. However, one should realize that the bottom of the piece also connect the holes. So if you would route the paracord the same on the back side as you do on the visible side, that would mean every hole is connected by an even amount of paracord 'paths'.
So consider the holes to be vertices and the paracord connections to be edges. By definition (according to Wikipedia): "An Eulerian trail, or Euler walk in an undirected graph is a walk that uses each edge exactly once. If such a walk exists, the graph is called traversable or semi-eulerian." The properties of an Eulerian path (also according to Wikipedia) states: "An undirected graph has an Eulerian trail if and only if exactly zero or two vertices have odd degree, and all of its vertices with nonzero degree belong to a single connected component." So all our vertices have an even amount of edges connecting them (even degree), so the Eulerian trail exists, so it is possible to connect all holes by a single piece of paracord, if (but not exclusively) the back side is connected the same way as the visible side.
Step 5: Metal Work
To finish the piece we added metal bars to the top and bottom of the piece.
- Mark the steel where you need to drill the holes by using a center punch.
- Drill the holes.
- Use screws to mount everything together. I offset the steel bars a bit so they wouldn't touch the wall.
- Predrill your wood because you are screwing in end-grain.
- Put on the radio while working, makes your quality time with the drill press even better.
Step 6: Finish Touches
- Added some hardware to the back in order to mount the art piece to the wall.
- Put hardware in the wall to hang the piece.
- Take some pictures to post here as an 'I made it'.
If you like my idea don't forget to hit the vote button for the 'Rope and String' Speed Challenge.
Participated in the
Rope & String Speed Challenge