In this Instructable I will explain how to make a lovely rustic silver star from reclaimed wood which you could use as a light pull or Christmas decoration. It would make a lovely star on top of the Christmas tree or you could make several and spray them different metallic colours and hang them on the tree.
Having finished my scrap-wood Adirondack chair made from an old fence and palets (see the list of Instructables on the right) I was left with a lovely wooden star as a by-product. My wife Becca who loves stars suggested that we use it as a light pull for our new bathroom; a thought which had already crossed my mind. As you can see from the second and third images, it matches beautifully.
It is really important to wear proper protective equipment when you are using power tools. Protect your eyes with a good pair of goggles and ears with some proper PPE ear plugs such as my ZenPlugs. I found ear plugs uncomfortable and didn't stay in well enough so I developed a completely new type of molded plug which is antibacterial and can be remoulded as may times as you like to get a really good fit. Many people using power tools don't take hearing protection seriously enough; they aren't just risking deafness which can be socially isolating but also tinnitus which can cause depression and anxiety.
It is not worth making the whole Adirondack chair just to get the star so I will explain how to cut the star from scratch. You can use this Instructable to make pulls/decorations of other shapes; square, circle, heart, diamond etc. Please send me photos of what you make!
Step 1: You Will Need
- Scrap wood. I used an old fence panel but you could use any flat, wide piece of wood you can find. I deliberately used a piece with holes in and glued two sections together to make one piece.The wood I used is about 1cm thick but it doesn't matter if it's a bit thicker or thinner. You can either choose to avoid or include the knots; it's up to you.
- Craft drill.
- Drill bits. 1 or 1.5mm to start off the hole and 2.5mm to widen it, depending on the diameter of your cord.
- Spray paint. I had some shiny silver which was ideal. You could do red and/or gold if you are making Christmas decorations.
- Wood hardener. This is less important for Christmas decorations. As I was using the star as a light pull it will be frequently tugged and I was concerned that it might break so I used this. It makes it hard like plastic.
- Electric sander or sandpaper and sanding block.
- Protractor. (Not shown)
- PPE ear plugs and goggles. (Not shown) You can get them from https://zenplugs.com/ultimate-ppe-ear-plugs if you need them.
- Wood glue. (Not shown)Only if you make yours from sections of wood stuck together.
- Cord. (Not shown) If you want to use it as a decoration, otherwise attach it to your existing pull cord as a light pull.
Step 2: How to Draw a Star
Draw a 10 cm line on a piece of paper, as shown along the edge of the protractor in the first picture. To calculate the angle of each of the points, divide 180 by the number of points. As there are five points, this gives an angle of 36°. Using a protractor, measure this angle from the end of the line. You can see a pencil mark here on the first image if you look closely.
Move the ruler to draw a second 10 cm line through the 36° mark and the end of the first line that you drew, as per the second picture.
Repeat the process until you have completed the star, see third photo.
Cut out the star and place it on your piece of wood, draw round it with a pencil. As my star was cut from the back of the Adirondack chair it is in two sections which I glued together. You could cut yours from a single piece. It is up to you whether you avoid or include knotholes: it depends on the look you are after.
The fourth picture shows the star in place on the piece of wood, the fifth shows the star drawn on the wood and the sixth shows the chair with the star cut out of the top of the back.
Step 3: Cut Out and Sand the Star
Cut out the star with a fine saw. I used a cutting disk on my craft drill to cut it it out which was time-consuming (>1hr) but gave a good result, as per the first four images. I would not have been able to remove it in one piece if I had used a hand saw but you will be able to if you sacrifice the surrounding wood. I wanted to preserve both the star and the surrounding wood for both light pull and chair.
I love the star because it reminds me of Mario's invincibility star, like in the last picture.
Sand the wood using a sander or sandpaper and block. Make sure you wear your ear plugs if you're using a power sander; they can be really noisy. The standard of the finish is up to you. You could give it a deep sand and fill any dents and holes with filler if you wish. I decided to go with a rustic finish and sand it just enough to remove rough corners and splinters.
Step 4: Make a Hollow for the Drill
Use some sandpaper or the edge of your sander to gently create a shallow depression in the uppermost point of the star. This will enable you to drill a hole here and stop the drill slipping.
Step 5: Drill a Hole
Use a fine drill (1-1.5mm) to carefully drill through from the flattened area at an angle. Make the angle shallow, about 30 degrees, to reduce the risk of the star's point breaking off.
Step 6: Drill a Larger Hole
Switch to the 2.5 mm drill to enlarge the hole. This should be the right diameter for standard cord. If your light cord is particularly thick or thin you will need to adjust the size of the drill you use accordingly.
Step 7: Harden the Wood
Immerse in wet rot wood hardener to harden the wood. I filled the top of the container with the liquid and turned the star to ensure full coverage. (Please read the instructions on the tin; the stuff has magic properties but is a bit nasty!)
The hardener will prevent the wood from splitting and breaking in use. Immersion will give you good penetration and save you having to clean the brush. Tip the rest back in the tin.
Leave to dry for two hours.
Step 8: Paint Your Star
Push the drill back in the hole and use it as a handle. Paint your star with whichever colour and paint type you prefer. I wanted a nice textured, shiny finish so I used silver spray paint.
I didn't use primer as the wood hardener will serve some of their purposes. I gave three thin coats and left to dry for a few hours in between. Follow the instructions on the paint you use.
Step 9: It's Done!
Enjoy your new light pull/Christmas decoration. Thread it onto the cord and tie a knot. I melted the end of the cord slightly with a cigarette lighter to stiffen it to make it easier to thread. If you are using your star as a Christmas decoration take 10cm of cord, tie it in a loop with the knot right near the ends, thread the loop through the hole from the bottom. You can pull it through with some thin wire if it doesn't pass easily. Alternatively, you can pass one end of the cord through the hole and tie a knot below the hole, then tie a loop in the cord at the top. Using wire is a good alternative to cord.
Please send pictures of yours!