Big Barrel Full of Monkeys




My wife was hosting a baby shower for a close friend, and the theme was amazon jungle. As an accent piece I made a large "barrel full of monkeys" to hang around the room. This was a simple weekend project requiring only plywood and paint, and a few tools. The result was a fun conversation piece at the shower.

Step 1: Prep Work

I started by looking up pictures of the original game pieces, adapting the look for big pieces, and making a paper template. I used the template and drew 14 monkeys on 1/2 inch plywood. I then used a hand jig saw to divide the plywood into smaller workable sized pieces. I the used a stationary jig saw to cut out the monkeys.

Step 2: Filling Imperfections in the Plywood

After cutting out the monkeys, there were a few "holes" and imperfections in the inside layers of the plywood. I took some wood filler, mixed it with a little of the saw dust from the jig saw to give it the correct color, and plugged any holes. I let it dry overnight.

Step 3: Rasping, Filing, and Sanding

I broke out my hand tools to smooth out the imperfections, round edges and smooth the finish. I started with a hand rasp. This is the roughest tool, and takes the most off, so it can takes away the biggest imperfections. However, the rasp can easily pull splinters from the plywood, so use it carefully.

I the used a set of hand files. I started with the most rough and worked my way to the finer ones.

Step 4: Sanding

Lastly, I used increasingly finer grains of sandpaper to smooth the surface, from 60 grit to 220.

Step 5: Finishing Work

I tend to like the look of naked wood, but there was a color theme for the baby shower. My wife painted the monkeys according to the theme, and gave them faces, hand pads, and foot pads. She laid out a tarp over a desk, and first painted one face of each monkey as well as the sides. She let them dry overnight, then turned them over and painted the back side. She did two or three coats on each side, before adding the accent paint on the hands and face.

Step 6: Placement

I originally designed the monkeys to hold onto the top of doors, or any round object like tree branches. They also held pretty well to the door frame.



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    2 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Super cute and fun idea! Would be great in a nursery, too!


    3 years ago

    These are fabulous!