Monday, September 13, 2010

constellation headboard

this headboard was a long time coming. we originally had plans to do a really modern, boxy white rendition that would contain enough light to read by like the lld muse here, but decided that this would be much more soothing and cozy. 

my parents are amateur astronomers, and doing the sky gave us a reason to make a round piece for the backdrop. when it's off there's no light, but when it's on it gives off just enough light to see to get to door, but mellow enough that i can sleep with it on.

plywood sheet
screws and nails
wood glue
rope lights

so! on to the step-by-steps:
we started out on this project with just a thin sheet of plywood. we used a decent hardwood, since we wouldn't need much of it. the height was minimal, and the sheet already took up the width of the bed. the arc was made using a ribbon tied to a nail and a marker.
we cut along the lines drawn with a jigsaw

after the piece was cut, we sanded down the edges to make the semicircle more even and smooth

we next added a thin border so that the lights could be hung behind the frame without risk that they would hit the wall or be crushed.
using leftover pieces of wood, we filled in any gaps in the frame to make sure no light escaped. now for the fun part!
i selected my favorite constellations, with no real regard for how they appeared in the actual sky, but with consideration to the respective size of the stars in each shape.
we then numbered the marks to drill with the size drill bits we intended to use, from largest to smallest. when we finished up on the main ones, we randomly applied a smattering of very small holes to give a bit more depth to it overall we just kept poking the drill in at random 'til there weren't any noticeable blank spots.
after the holes were drilled, we started to paint.
the blue looks very bright here, but dried to a dark navy
many of the smaller holes were filled up with paint. the smallest ones could be freed up using a toothpick
the larger holes needed to be re-drilled with the appropriate drill bits, but because the paint was still slightly wet the holes remained clean looking and neat.
we left a small gap to add the light cord through so that the frame could be flush with the wall
next, we wired a string of white rope lights flat to the frame, making an attempt to avoid putting the lights directly over the holes if possible so that the final effect would be more subtle.
we hung the frame on the wall over the bed. it turned out a little smaller than we thought it would.
this is the final shot with the lights out.
this is a 60-second exposure in pitch black darkness to show how bright and twinkly the effect is. since the holes are technically cylindrical, the light changes relative to your position to it, making them sparkle like really real stars. 

that's it. we'd never used any of the tools involved before (apart from the obvious) and still managed to get this done from start to finish over the better part of only a single saturday.anyone remotely familiar with tools could definitely do this. enjoy!

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