This wall decoration I made some time ago for the bedroom of my daughter.
For furnishing of her bedroom we were looking for something with flowers and butterflies. Only we could nowhere find what we had in mind. The only thing that came close was either not suitable or too small, and therefore too expensive for a whole wall. And yet still not 100% what we were looking for.
That's why we decided to make a custom-made wall decoration of wood. To combine this with an at Ikea bought bed (Lo), cabinet (Rakke) and other decorations. Almost everything we needed, were three plates MDF and some paint.
For this wall decoration, the following items were created:
2 Flowers (2 different petals, 4 leaves en 2 stems)
2 Clouds (whereof 1 bookshelf)
1 Panel in the shape of grass
1 Ceiling light
It was my first big job with a plunge router. And making this Instructable does take some practice, but it is not too difficult.
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Step 1: Tools and Materials...
All components in this instructable are crafted with a plunge router. This involved the use of homemade molds (templates). Furthermore, it exists mainly of many partial circles. About 250 in total. With several arches repeatedly machined, with different router bits. So choose a router with which it is possible to make circles.
The supplied tool for creating circles can be attached to the router. Always Measure the distance between the point and the edge of the cutter. This is the radius of the circle (this equals half the diameter). The supplied rod, for making circles, might be too short for all circles. I’ve replaced it with a steel rod of 1 meter.
All parts are made of Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF). These have (in Europe), a standard panel size of 244 x 122 centimeter (8 x 4 feet). I have used 3 panels, with a thickness of 8 mm (about €12/piece).
Most patterns in this Instructable are 2 x 2 feet (60 by 60 cm) or 3 x 2 feet (90 x 60 cm). You can halve the boards lengthwise, so they are easier to transport. This will not result in a lot of material loss.
The grass, which covers the length of the wall, is 12 feet (360 cm) long and is up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall. It is completely made up of circles (almost 200). I have used a ruler, with distance holes, for drawing these circles. As a result, there are only 3 sizes of circles used. This eliminates the need for often altering the router's settings.
Always move the router against the rotation of the bit (mostly move to the right). That allows the bit to cut into the work, giving you full control over the router. If you advance the router in the same direction as the bit's rotation, the router will run along the edge of the workpiece and it's harder to keep control.
In addition to a router I've mainly used a cordless drill and a jigsaw.
Use safety glasses, hearing protection and a dust mask when working with MDF in combination with a router. Ensure good ventilation (outdoor) and dust extraction. Use the provided attachment for connecting a vacuum cleaner. This also keeps the lines on the workpiece visible, during the milling operation.
Step 2: Pink Flower
In this step, I describe how to make the petals of the first flower. The dimensions are approximately 2 x 2 feet (60 x 60 cm) and it consist of two parts on each other. The rear part has 6 petals and the front part has three petals. Through the use of a template, the front part fits exactly on the rear part.
First, a template of a single petal is made (see the last picture from the previous step). It has a size of approximately 20 x 30 centimeters (A4 paper size). This is then drawn on a piece of solid wood (may also be MDF). Use a jigsaw with a short blade for the making of the mold. Sand the edges until they are neat and smooth. All imperfections will be transferred to the workpiece.
This mold is used for guiding the milling cutters which are equipped with the ball-bearing wheels (the last two in the picture). There might be a small offset between the outside edge of the bushing and the cutting edge of the bit.
Mark, from the middle of a piece of MDF, three lines with an angle of 120 degrees (second drawing). Place the template in the middle and draw the three petals. Saw about 1 cm (0.5 inch) around these lines. Now place the mold on one of the petals and make sure it can't move. Because the wheels are mounted below the milling cutters, we have to place the mold on the rear of the woodwork
Use a round cutter (4th cutter in the image). And after adjusting the height of the router, mill along the template. Repeat this for each petal.
For the second part, we mark 3 lines with an angle of 120 degrees. These we pull all the way through, so that we get 6 lines with angles of 60 degrees. On this we draw, again with the mold, 6 petals. Number the petals, along with the clock, from 1 to 6. Saw spacious (1 cm / 0.5 inch) around the outer lines. Now edit the odd numbers with the same cutter as used in the previous section.
For the even numbers we use a straight cutter (5th mill below in the box from the previous step). Above this 3 petals we place later, the three petals of the first part. By using a straight cutting, we get no seam between these parts.
Finally, we make a circle with a diameter of 15 centimeters on the part with the 3 petals. For this we use the half-round cutter without wheel (the second one). Practice this first on a remaining piece from the first part.
Step 3: Sun
I've chosen to make a quarter circle, because the Sun is placed in a corner of the room. It is, of course, also possible to make a half round Sun. This requires 14 lines.
Start from a corner, with a quarter circle with a radius of 19,5 inch (50 cm). Then draw seven lines, starting in the same corner. These lines define the center of the template. The first line has an angle of 6.4 (90/14) degrees. Add 12.8 (90/7) degrees for each line. Make sure that the angle of the center line equals 45 degrees.
The template consists of a half oval or ellipse with a diameter of 14 by 22 cm. This is the upper mold of the image in step 1. The making of this mold is equal to creating the mold for the petal.
Draw, using the mold, 7 coves. Saw, with a jigsaw, the excess wood away. Then secure the template at the bottom. And by means of an 45-degrees guided cutter, mill along the mold. This gives the sun oblique angles along the edge, resulting them to end in points. Repeat for all other inlets.
The second part, of the sun, starts with circle with a radius of 14 inch (35 cm) and uses six lines. Wherein the first equals to 0 degrees and the last equals to 90 degrees. Add angles of 18 (90/5) degrees for the remaining 4 lines. The milling is identical to the first part.
Step 4: Butterfly
This butterfly is completely made up of circles. Because of this, it is not necessary to have a template.
The centerpiece is a rectangle of 8.6 inch (22 cm) width and 7.6 (19.5 cm) height. Draw two circles on every corner, each 7.3 inch (18.5 cm) and 9 inch (23 cm) in diameter.
The feelers consists of four circles of 17,3 inch (44 cm). Start these 2 inch (5.5 cm) above and 11,8 inch (30 cm) and 12,6 inch (32 cm) to the left (and to the right) of the center of the square. There is a pdf document with patterns on the last page. The small piece, at the bottom, has been made with two circles of 23,6 inch (60 cm) diameter. Mark these on 8.8 inch (22.5 cm) to the left, and to the right of the center of the rectangle. This allows the second piece to connect perfectly.
To begin, all lines are made with the half round cutter (4th one on the photo in step 2). Make these lines about 4 mm deep, so don't go all the way through the wood. Start with the upper circles. These run all the way to the middle body. The lower circles begin at its intersection with the upper circle. All circles may continue through the center body. We’ll place another piece above this piece. Finish with the four circles for the feelers.
Now create the lower tip with a straight milling cutter. This can’t be done after the next step. And carefully cut the other circles with a straight milling cutter.
The second piece (middle body) is composed of four circles of 23,6 inch (60 cm) in diameter. Start with the middle section: Draw the outer 2 circles with a distance of 10 inch (25.5 cm) from the middle. The circles for the outer edge are placed at 8,8 inch (22.5 cm).. For the inside edge I have used a round milling cutter, just as the first part. The outer edge is made with a V-shaped milling cutter in combination with the straight cutter.
Step 5: Cloud
After the making of the flower, the sun and the butterfly, all used different techniques have been discussed.
This cloud consists in its entirely of circles. And the method to create this cloud, is similar to the procedure of the butterfly. Draw 14 circles on a plate of MDF (see the pdf document in the last step for the pattern) and start milling with the half round milling cutter. Beginning with the small circles, to end with the largest circle.
Finally, finish the outer edge with the straight cutter.
Step 6: Grass
In order to complete the wall decoration, a panel in the form of grass has been made. This section is completely built up from (partial) circles. In total about 200 circles, for a piece of 12 x 2 feet (360 x 60 cm). Because this part is longer than a single plate of MDF, two half plates of 2 x 6 feet (62 x 244 cm) are placed, with the short side, against each other. As a result, the pattern can in its entirety run through.
This design, I made directly on the wood (The example in the last picture has been made later). In order to minimize the change of the settings, during milling, there are only 3 sizes circles. The grass is formed by varying the diameter and the distances between the circles (picture 2 and 3).
The blades of grass are further divided into a low and high portion. The small and middle circles are mainly used for the low portion. The higher part, is made of the middle and largest circles.
All arches are made with a V-shaped cutter, with a depth of 4-5 mm. After milling, a jigsaw is used for removing the excess of wood (follow the upper groove).
Step 7: Purple Flower
The making of this flower is almost the same as making the first flower. Only this flower consists of one layer with 8 petals.
Start with drawing 4 lines with an intermediate angle of 45 degrees. Then make a circle, starting from the center, with a diameter of 13.5 inch (35 cm). With the aid of the third template (fourth image from step 1), create 8 petals.
This flower has sharp leaves. For getting an additional pointed effect, while using a round cutter (4th in step 3), the upper part of the cutter is not used. This is the opposite of the first flower, which has perfect roundings. Whilst they are made with the same cutter.
The middle part is a circle of 8 inch (20 cm). Use a straight cutter to create the circle. Finish it off with the half round cutter.
Step 8: Cloud Bookshelf
The second cloud is a bookshelf. In practice it's only used for stuffed animals. It has 4 parts: one big cloud, a shelf (in the shape of a cloud) and two sides.
The process to create these two clouds is similar as the cloud in step 5.
For the sides, mark two circles of 18 and 22 cm. Use the same technique as used for making the clouds. Use the plunge router to create the recess. One in each side and two in the shelf. And each recess must be equal to the thickness of the material. This may be up to half a millimeter larger, because of the finishing (paint).
Don't forget to drill holes when assembling. MDF splits quickly.
Step 9: Leaves and Stems
While not the most exciting part of this Instructable, these parts are ideal to start with.
The leaves are very similar to the body of the butterfly. But the leaves are only milled on the outside. There are two formats. A leaf of 4.7 x 14 inch (12 x 35 cm) and a leaf of 5.5 x 17 inch (14 x 43 cm). The smallest leaf is made of two circles with a diameter of 23,6 inch (60 cm) with a mutual distance of 18.5 inch (47 cm). The largest leaf is made of two circles with a diameter of 31.5 inch (80 cm) with a mutual distance of 25.5 inch (65 cm).
The stems are also made from circles. These are arches with a diameter of 45 inch (115 cm). Make a square of 2 x 2 inch (5 x 5 cm), and draw two circles on opposite corners (the distance between the points is about 2,75 inch (7 cm). First, use the semicircular cutter for the borders. Complete the stalk with a straight cutter following the same arches.
Step 10: Ceiling Light
This ceiling lamp has been made, to complete the project.
It consists of two parts of the first flower. The first part has been made two times. Use a multi hole saw set for the middle circle. Make sure that the lamp does not touch the wood. Preferably use a LED lamp, because these are made of plastic. They also use less energy (lower temperature).
Use a small MDF-circle for the fastening of the bulb socket. The petals are fastened by long screws to the lamp holder. The second picture shows the complete assembly.
Step 11: Finishing
After the milling is complete, it’s time to paint all the pieces. Start with the sealing of all the drill holes, using filler. Then, if necessary, sand down all parts neat and smooth with sandpaper.
After cleaning, for better adhesion, the primer can be applied. Don’t use a water-based primer or paint. This will swell the wood fibers, because they absorb the water. And this is hard to sand out. And the pieces absorb, especially the first time, a lot of paint.
Due to the MDF edges, I applied several layers of primer. Always sand down and clean between each layer. Starting from the second layer, you can add some of the final paint to the primer.
It's not necessary to purchase different shades of a single color. Because it's quite easy to create different shades of a particular color by yourself. Always start with the lighter color. And then, little by little, add the second color. Don't forget to write down how you've created the color. There always will be differences, each time you create color. So make enough paint, for at least one layer.
I hope I've shown, with this Instructable, how to make decorations with limited resources. After some practice you should be able to create a panel of hearts, using a plunge router. Or make a rainbow with a radius of 10 feet (300 cm).
Finally, I've made two PDF files with the patterns. Beware that the measurements are in centimeters, or you might end up with flowers which don't fit on your wall.
Runner Up in the
Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016
Participated in the
Big or Small Challenge
Participated in the
Hand Tools Only Contest 2016