6.11.2015

DIY Wooden Baby Pillow Rocker Bassinet Lounger

Preparing for our baby has been fun!  I put a few ideas together and came up with a wooden rocker frame that has a large-contoured pillow for baby to relax in during the day in our living room.

I realize this project isn't for everyone as it involves both sewing AND woodworking but I thought it would be nice to share how I did it anyways!

DISCLAIMER: You are responsible for the safety of your baby while in rocker.  There are no safety harnesses.  Recommended to stop using once baby can sit-up or roll over.

There are 3 parts to this post:
Part 1 - Building the Wood Rocker Frame
Part 2 - Attach Adjuster Strap (for recline positions)
Part 3 - Sewing the Contoured Pillow


BABY PILLOW ROCKER INSTRUCTIONS

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-Part 1- 
FOR WOOD ROCKER FRAME:

Approximate Dimensions: 25"-deep by 17"-wide by 12"-tall

Materials Needed:
4x1x8' Furring Strip***
3x1x8' Furring Strip***
2x1x8' Furring Strip***
32 1-1/4" Kreg Pocket Hole Screws
16 Pine Pocket Hole Plugs (Optional) 
Wood Finishing Products of your Choice
Template for Rockers + Placement Guides (Click Here to Download)

***PLEASE NOTE: If you aren't familiar with buying lumber, the said dimensions of a board are actually different than the real measurements.  If you buy a common 2x4, the actual dimensions are 1-1/2" x 3-1/2".  It's weird, I know!  When I say 1x4 furring strip, the actual measurement is 3/4" x 3-1/2".  A 1x2 furring strip is actually 3/4" x 1-1/2".  The said length is always the actual measurement, so when you see 1x4x8', the board at the store will measure 3/4" x 3-1/2" x 8'(feet)

Tools Needed:
Kreg Pocket Hole Jig (or joining method of your choice)
Kreg Clamps
Drill & Pocket Hole Drill Bit
Miter Saw
Jigsaw or Band Saw
Orbital Sander
Measuring Tape
Pencil
Safety Glasses

Cut List:
 REMEMBER: The said dimensions of a board are always smaller, but the said length is exact.  So 1X4 @ 25" is actually your 3/4" x 3-1/2" board and you cut it to 25".

  2 - 1x4 @ 25" (for rockers)
2 - 1x4 @ 11" (side stretchers)
4 - 1x3 @ 8" (side arms)
4 - 1x2 @ 15" (center crossbars)

General Instructions:
I advise you to read through entire plan before beginning. Take precautions to build safely.  Always use straight boards. Work on a flat-level surface. Ask for help if you need it and have FUN!

Print out template for rockers and piece all 6 pages together.  Make sure print scaling is at 100% or set to "no page scaling".  Cut out.

Cut board pieces out using the "cut list" above.  For the rockers, use template pattern to cut out shape using jigsaw or band saw.  I used clamps to clamp both rockers together and sand curved edge nice and smooth (you want both pieces to match so it rocks smooth); test out how they rock on a flat surface and sand more if needed.

I clamped the 4 side arms together and rounded off the corners on one of the small ends (the other end stays flat for attaching to rockers).

Use your Kreg Jig to drill pocket holes.  See diagram below for pocket hole placement.
 

Sand all surfaces and corners smooth.  Layout your boards to make sure everything looks right before assembly.  The side stretchers sit 1-1/4" above the rockers.

 Use your Kreg clamps to clamp boards to a strong-flat surface.   Screw side stretchers to side arms with your 1-1/4" screws.

 Make sure your side piece is centered over rockers and screw into place.

 Use wood glue and pocket hole plugs to cover holes.

 This is what your pieces look like so far.

 Use your orbital sander to sand plugs flush with boards.
 Cut out around red dotted lines of your printed template for crossbar placement.  Place template over your sidepieces (whatever side you want on the inside) and mark around each rectangle for crossbars and over cross-hairs for screw placement.  TIP: You want your sides to be a mirror-image of each other so flip your template over for the second side.

Use a Kreg clamp to clamp center crossbars over your marks on your first side.  Screw all 4 crossbars to one side then onto the second side piece.

 Finish your wood how you wish.  I used General Finishes stain and Ceramithane protective coat.

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-Part 2-
FOR RECLINING ADJUSTER STRAP:
-pictured above-

Materials Needed:
2 Washers - 1"-diameter with 1/8"-hole
2 Pan Head Screws - Size 8 x 1/2"
1"-wide Nylon Webbing - 2 13"-pieces
2 1"-wide D-Rings

Tools Needed:
Drill and Drill Bits
Stove or Lighter (for Finishing Webbing Ends)
Large Nail (for Making Screw Hole in Webbing) - Optional

Lightly burn ends of webbing with fire to keep from unraveling.

 On first strap, place both d-rings over one end and overlap webbing 1-1/2"; stitch a rectangle around overlap to secure in place.  On second strap, fold one end over with a 3/4" overlap; stitch end down.
 On both straps, fold over remaining end down 1" and poke a large-hot nail through the center of the overlap to create a hole for screw (simultaneously melts opening to avoid unraveling).

 Pre-drill hole in wood frame over "screw placement" mark you made during the building process.  Place screws through washers and "pre-drill" through webbing hole.

Screw straps in place and secure straps together withe free end through d-rings.

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-Part 3-
FOR CONTOURED PILLOW:
-pictured above-

Materials Needed:
2/3 Yard (54"-wide) Minky Fabric
Large Bag of Stuffing (or 2 Regular-Sized Pillows)
Matching Thread
10 Small Pony Beads (for securing puckers)
Heavy-Duty Matching Thread (for securing puckers)

 Tools Needed:
Sewing Machine
Long Hand Sewing Needle
Washable Fabric Marker


Lay your minky fabric out flat; fold in-half (hamburger style) so selvage ends are together; cut down the center.  You should now have 2 rectangles that measure 24" x 29".  To create the curved corners, use a large dish plate or other large circular object; match up with raw edges of fabric and trace curve.  Cut curve.  TIP: to save time, keep your fabric together from cutting center so you can cut corners of both layers at the same time.

To mark fabric for puckers, follow diagram above to mark over red cross-hairs with your washable fabric marker on the right-side of fabric.

With right sides together (and marks matching), pin fabric pieces together and sew around entire pillow casing with a 1/2" seam, leaving a 4"-wide opening on one of the long-straight sides.

Turn pillow casing right-side out and stuff with stuffing (either packaged or from other pillows) until it is full and firm enough to cradle baby well.

Sew opening closed by hand with a blind stitch.

Create puckers by looping your heavy-duty thread from each front mark to corresponding mark on the back-side using an extra long sewing needle.  Add a pony bead on each side to keep thread from pulling through fabric.  Looping around each bead about 4 times and pull tight each time to create a nice-deep pucker.

Your pillow should look like this when you're done!

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 Place pillow in rocker so the centered-pucker is on the end where the adjuster strap is (where baby's head goes).



6.10.2015

DIY Wooden Toy Vehicles - Car, Truck & Helicopter

I made these cars off a plan from Ana-White.com but changed a few things and thought it would be helpful to make a post about the building process.


WOODEN TOY VEHICLE INSTRUCTIONS

Materials Needed:
Select Pine Board - 4"-wide x 3/4"-thick
16 Wooden Wheels (1-1/4" to 1-1/2" diameter with 1/4" hole)
2 Axle Pegs (for Propellers) - 7/32"-wide x 1-1/4"-long
 1/4"-Diameter Wooden Dowel (Cut 8 2-1/2" Pieces for each Toy)
Wood Glue
Sand Paper
Paint
Car Template Printout (Click Here to Download)


Tools Needed:
Scroll Saw or Jigsaw
Router with 1/8" Round Over Bit (Optional)
Electric Sander (Optional)
Drill & Drill Bits

 Download and print vehicle template.  Cut out.  Trace patterns onto your pine board - I traced 1 of each plus an extra car to make 4 total.


Whether you are using a scroll saw or jigsaw, drill a large enough hole for blade in each vehicle window.  Cut pieces out.


If you choose to, use a router to round over all your edges with a 1/8" round over bit.  Sand all edges smooth.  You can see in the picture above the difference between the rough car and the routed/sanded car.


Drill holes for wheel axles and propellers for helicopter over each of the cross-hairs from template patterns.  For the wheels you want the holes slightly LARGER than 1/4" so your wheel axles will turn, for the propellers you want 1/4" holes.  Paint vehicles, let dry and lightly sand smooth.


Glue a wheel onto each dowel piece and set aside to dry.

For the propellers, rip a 3/8"-wide strip from your pine board, at least 8"-long.  Cut a 5"-long piece and 2"-long piece from that.  Drill a 1/4" hole in the center of each.

 Attach wheels and let dry.  Sand axles flush with wheels if you prefer (I didn't).


6.09.2015

DIY Wooden Clothespin Airplane Toys or Baby Mobile

 I wanted to make our new baby an airplane mobile above his changing table (I'm not into the cutsie-stuffed-animal kind from the store).  When I saw some jumbo-sized clothespins at Joann's I thought they would work perfectly for the body of the airplane, similar to what I've made with my boys with regular popsicle sticks and clothespins. They looked like this:

Of course you could just make the airplanes and set them on a shelf for decoration or have them be toys!

Here's what my mobile turned out to look like:

WOODEN CLOTHESPIN AIRPLANE INSTRUCTIONS

Materials Needed:
2 Pine Craft Boards - 3/8"-thick x 2"-wide x 24"-long
1 Axle Peg (for Propeller) - 7/32"-wide x 1-1/4"-long
 1/2"-Diameter (or thicker) Wooden Dowel (12" piece)*
1/4"-Diameter Rope*
Thread to Match Rope*
3 Metal Eye Screw*
1 C-hook for Hanging from Ceiling*
Wood Glue
Masking Tape
Sand Paper


Tools Needed:
2-6 Small Clamps
Drill & Drill Bits
Scroll Saw/Band Saw Recommended (can possibly get by with another type)

*If you don't want to make your airplanes into a mobile, you do not need to have the items with the (*).

 First step is turning your pine craft boards into the wings, tailpieces and propeller!


Your boards are 2" wide and you'll want to cut 4 8"-long pieces for the wings and 2 4-1/2"-long pieces for the tail pieces.  On one of the tail pieces, cut it down the center to make 2 narrow pieces (only one shown in picture).  Cut 2 triangles with a curved top side that matches the width of your narrow tail pieces.  Sand all edges smooth and round corners.  Follow instructions below for the propeller.
  For the propeller, sketch out a long-narrow oval that is about 2-3/4"-long and 1/2"-wide on your craft board.

  Cut out with your scroll saw or band saw (or made due with a jigsaw or handsaw).

  Shape your propeller, especially the indent in the center, with a sander or use regular sandpaper by hand.  TIP: You want to keep the width in the center for strength.. just create the illusion of narrowness by creating the indent.

 Drill a hole SLIGHTLY larger than your peg axle in the center of your propeller.

My clothespins were painted so I sanded off the paint in the areas where I wanted to glue my pieces... do the same if you wish.

I wanted to keep my clothespins closed so I glued inside.  You can wrap masking tape around the outside to make sure it dries tight and both pieces are centered.

For your propeller, drill a hole in the front of one of the clothespins.  Butter axle and inside of hole with glue and push propeller in.

  Now you can start assembling your airplanes!  Make sure to butter up each area with glue that will be touching each other.

Use masking tape to hold pieces in place temporarily while you clamp.  If you only have 2 clamps... do 1 airplane at a time.

Once the glue is cured you can use masking tape to find the center of balance on your airplanes (so you know where to put your eye screws).  The center of balance for me just happened to be behind the wings on all 3!

Pre-drill a hole and twist the eye screws into place.

 Now you can start figuring out how long you want your airplanes to hang down from the dowel.  My smallest rope (left) was cut @ 15", longest rope (center) was cut @ 38" and medium rope (right) was cut @ 20".  Tie a knot around each eye screw and then around the dowel (you'll want there to be about 7" extra on the top-end of each of the ropes on the sides-not pictured above).  Mostly what you're doing here is finding the balance between all the airplanes so the dowel hangs horizontal (because each airplane weighs differently).  Once you find where the ropes need to be for the dowel to hang horizontal, mark the dowel along each side of where the ropes are tied and also make a note next to the marks about which airplane was hung there.

Drill a hole in the center of your marks, making sure they're all centered together.  I used a 1/4" bit since my rope is 1/4" thick.

Here's my mobile with ropes going through the holes in the dowel, knots tied on each side of the dowel and I have at least 7" of extra rope on each of the end ropes.

To secure the ends of the ropes I did it in a way that would be "invisible" and very streamlined.  I used matching sewing thread!  Of course I didn't take a picture of the process but hopefully the following pictures will be self-explanatory:
 I overlapped the rope with itself about 3/4" and wound thread over the overlapping area over and over until the end was completely secured down.

 For the top section I brought the free ends from the sides over to the center rope and wound thread around all 3 securing them tightly together (the ends overlapped about 1-1/2" with the center).

For the last touch, I made a loop on the end of the middle rope for hanging.  I made it so I could easily undo and adjust the height of the mobile if needed later.