January 4, 2013

A-Door-Aborable Wreath: Tech Edition, Part 1

      I know it has been a while since I've written a post (the combination of being in my best friend's wedding and the holidays), but I have another - perhaps now less timely- Christmas wreath project. This project is unique in that my brother and I collaborated on the design and implementation of the wreath. I also knew that I wanted to use cardboard in some way because I have a bunch of it at my house from work and it is a cheap material to work with. This post will just describe making the cardboard wreath. The next post will cover how to install LED lights and set up the arduino code to play Christmas music.

  •  cardboard, lots of cardboard
  • wood or white glue (Elmer's or other brand)
  • An exacto knife or a box cutter
  • marker or pen
  • surface to cut on (one that you don't mind getting scratched up or marked on)
  • (optional) acrylic paint (red, green, white)
How To:

1.  The basic plan was to create a wreath of interlocking triangles. So, the first step was to cut out a bunch of similarly sized triangles in three different sizes. (I needed about 60-75 total for the project)
Triangles- so many to cut out. Get a cushy exacto knife or your hand is gonna kill you afterward
 2. you will also need to cut out circles for the layers of overlapped rings. To do this, I used different sized circular bowls we had around the house, but you could also use a protractor or compass if you had a love of trigonometry in high school and kept yours (I know I did). Draw an outline and carefully cut out the circle, using an exacto knife. Now, if you want a smaller ring, make another, 1.5" smaller circle in the circle of cardboard and cut that out until you have a ring shape (for a larger ring, take the outer portion of the cutout circle.)

2.   After playing around with different designs, I ended up overlapping different sizes of triangles to achieve a star burst pattern. In picture two (top middle), you can see that I have portioned out same size triangles across the first ring.
First, play with the design, then glue on your base circle; add to this in smaller rings of triangles, until you finish
3.  Then, in a counter-clockwise fashion, I added 1 medium sized triangle on top (but shifted over) from each of the large triangles. I did the same thing again with the smallest sized triangle until I completed the first ring with no gaps to show the cardboard ring itself (top right picture).

Note: *If you like how the wreath looks with one layer, you could be finished with your project now. But I had three layers of rings, each using the above method to create the ring.

2. The next step was gluing all the layers I had made together, using a basic Elmer's or Wood glue.  I did this in 3 different layers, letting each ring dry out fully before adding it on top of the previous layer, until I had a completed star burst shape I wanted. We needed it fully closed to add the electronic element behind the wreath.
Finished cardboard wreath, front and back views
3. (optional) I decided to make the wreath a little more obviously Christmas-y with a few colors of acrylic paint: white, lime green, dark green, and red. I just used a paintbrush and tried to be careful about where my paintbrush touched down, but you could probably do this step before gluing everything down, if you have enough foresight to do so.  Stay Tuned for part Two!
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