Working with wooden sticks
From the ground up
The first step is to get an inspiration. Think of something you want to build. In my case, I chose the Eiffel Tower since its iron girders can be best mimicked by small thin sticks. Here are some ideas you can use:
- Miniature houses
- Small-scale bridges
- Jewelry box
- Picture frames
The possibilities are endless. Once you've finalized what you want, do some planning and research. Gather pictures or drawings from the internet, from books or you may also draft your own illustrations of what you want to create. But before you start out a project like this, be sure to ask yourself "can I finish what I started?". If you think the answer is no then don't be surprised if you find yourself throwing away your unfinished project.
Off to the workbench
Now that you've decided what to work on, it's time to prepare the materials and tools you need for your project. Bear in mind that materials may differ depending on what type of project you have in mind. In other words, walls for a miniature house could be done easier using popsicle sticks instead of matchsticks. But for a project like the Eiffel Tower, here are the things you need:
- Popsicle sticks (tongue depressors)
- Toothpicks (preferably unused ones)
- A pair of pliers
- and some patience
Depending on the complexity of your project, you may have to cut small pieces individually and glue them together to make a single shape. If you have an eye for details, a little mathematics and geometry might be required for you to figure out how the parts will come out as it is in your drawing. To make things simpler, easier and faster,try to build your model section by section. So while you're waiting for section A to dry after gluing them together, you can start building section B.
Let's get started
I didn't have much pictures to show a step-by-step process on how I built my Eiffel Tower because I never thought I'd be creating a hub about it back then. Anyhow, here's what I did:
- The Base. I used popsicle sticks to form 4 L-shaped bases where 4 angled popsicle sticks are placed on. While waiting for them to dry, I started on making a square platform that will be placed on top of them.
- The Lattice. Take a few bamboo skewers for your stockpile. Strip them down to size by slicing them into 4 parts (or even more depending on the girth of the lattice that you need). Be careful though as cutting them can be tricky, especially when they get a lot thinner. As soon as your pillars are done and dry, you may begin doing the latticework in this order:
- 1) the horizontal strips.
- 2) the diagonal strips.
- 3) the vertical strips that run through the middle of each "X" strips.
- The Pillars. These are made up of popsicle sticks as they need to be sturdy enough to form the basic shape of the tower and hold the lattice of skewers as you go along the building process.
- The Arches. From your stockpile of skewers, pick out the flexible ones that can be curved or you may further thin them down until you get the desired flexibility you need for the arch. It's a little difficult and time consuming as you need to test fit them before you glue them permanently. In the middle of either arch on all four sides of the tower are short matchsticks or toothpicks that add further detail. That's where tweezers come in handy.
Now that you've already built a sturdy foundation, it would be a little easier from here on out as you piece them all together. You may add more tiny details as you go along or you may just add them later on. The important thing is you already have the tower's basic shape firmly set. During the build, you may want to:
- view the model from all angles to see if the parts are properly aligned.
- check for any stubborn and straying latticework that the glue failed to hold.
- look at your drawing every now and then to see if you've missed out on something.
- double-check if you've forgotten to feed the kids or your pet
- see what's for dinner.
Time can really fly so fast especially when you're really engaged in what you're doing. And always remember to take a break when you get tired, unless there's a deadline you have to meet, there's really no need to hurry. The more time you spend on a hobby, the more beautiful the outcome will be.
Below are some of the photos I've taken during the build.
Making crafts from wooden sticks not only brings out the artist/engineer in you, but it's also inexpensive. It doesn't matter how simple or complex your model is, the important thing is to have fun while you're doing it because at the end of the day, there's something you can be proud of.