I thought this was such a cool project, I had to share with you all. It could not only be a a fun decor item, but with the summer break starting might be something the kids could have fun jumping in on! (or making one of their own…) This project was a party link, from Autumn at The Fickle Hobbyist here are the links Part 1 and Part 2
One of the main things I HAD to have for Abby’s French Lavender party was, of course, an Eiffel Tower for her dessert table. I mean, it just wouldn’t feel complete. I saw one that was the scale I liked at Hobby Lobby but it was somewhere near $60. I was thinking that just for a centerpiece that was a bit out of my price range. I googled it and still didn’t find something that was the right size in the right price range. So, instead I decided to make it.
Originally I wanted to use metal rods but when I saw that each was $2.50 and I’d have to use 16 just for the base, (for the plan I was making up in my head) I figured that would get pretty pricey. Instead, I headed over to the wooden dowel section of HD and picked up a bunch of the tiniest sized dowels and 4 slightly bigger ones that I would use for the supports. After all the “end of the year” parties were over today, I sat down with my trusty glue gun and got to work. (since this project is still in progress, I’m just going to show you what i have done right now. I will finish up tonight and post the 2nd half tomorrow.)
Ok, so I didn’t have an actual plan, other than to look at an image of the tower and go from there. Remember, this is what we’re looking for.
Please keep in mind I didn’t measure anything. I know that probably drives some of you nuts if you’re looking to replicate, but it’s sort of the way I do things. First I held the medium sized stick up and eyed the size I liked. I then cut four of them to the same size. I hot glued two of them together and held them at an angle I thought appropriate until the glue hardened, and then did the same with the other two. Then I took those two points and glued them together to make a pyramid top. With the left over medium sticks that were cut off, I glued around the sides for support.
Now that it was secure I added the smaller sized dowels to the inside of the supports to form the frame.
For the next part, I created the arch at the base of the tower. Because the dowels are so small, they are pretty flexible and bend easily. However, they still needed to give a little more for the desired effect. I decided to soak the rods in water for 10 or 15 minutes before I adhered them to the base so that they would move more freely. This worked really well.
While they were in the water, I gently coaxed them into the arch that I needed. Then I dried them off and used clothes pins to hold the ends to the base.
See that piece hanging down inside the arch? I cut that part right where it meets the arch and glued it right there. Then I removed the pins and glued the sides.
This is what you are left with. I added one more row of supports right above the arch, but I haven’t yet taken a photo of that.
The plan for tonight is to make a bunch of Xs on the left and right edge of each side. Obviously this part is going to take some time, which is why you’re only getting half of this. When I’m all done, I am going to spray paint it all black. When I’m finished using it at the party I think I’ll stick it in the girls’ room. After all, their bedroom is French inspired. (are you seeing a theme here?)
Now all I had to do was the tedious stuff. I have to say, this part was a bit time consuming. All in the name of love, right? Remember, the right and left edges that we created using the thin dowels? We are going to use the same thin dowels to create the X pattern in that empty space. Like always, I don’t measure. In fact, this is what I do to get the sizing correct. I will hold the stick up, put my finger where need to cut, and then just cut. It eliminates a lot of steps you’d use if you actually measured. Of course, you’re left with a less perfect product, but really this doesn’t look JUST like the Eiffel Tower anyway. It’s just my interpretation. So I’m ok with some imperfections. I hope you are too! I started by cutting the edge of the stick at an angle. Then, I held the stick up to the side where it was going to be glued, and marked it with my finger and cut that side at an angle as well. I started by doing all the same leaning angles on the back side of the edge like this. See if you understand what I mean. See the right vertical stick? See how the first part of the X falls behind that stick? Do this all the way up that one side. By gluing these sticks to the back, it leaves an open space for the second half of the X to be adhered, while at the same time, keeping the front edge neat. For the next part, you’re going to again cut an angled edge, hold it in place, and mark it with your finger, just like I showed above. Instead, this time, you will cut the piece to fit inside those two vertical pieces. Again, this leaves the front more neat. I’ll be honest, though, you can really glue the pieces however you like. I am just kind of anal and this is the system that I found worked for me both aesthetically and functionally. For the area below the horizontal sticks, I just made two Xs on each side. The final product, when all sides were Xed, looked like this. You’ll see I left the top, skinnier part bare of the Xs. I was honestly done doing Xs by that point. I had burned my fingers 3 times with my glue gun and I just wanted to paint this already! I have to say, I thought it looked pretty awesome the way it was, but it REALLY came to life for me when I began spraying it! I just picked up the cheapest, HD brand spray paint for this project because it was bare wood, and there wasn’t a lot of it to cover.
I gave it a few coats, being sure to spray on the inside as well, and turning it upside down to get the underside edges. I have to say…I LOVE IT!!!!! I cannot wait to put this on my dessert table!!!!! Yeah, so it took me a while, and I have the glue gun burns to prove it, but I’d do this one over in a heartbeat! I am so very happy with the outcome. And the fact that I didn’t have to spend $60? Perfect. Here’s how much it cost me: $.19 x 12= $2.28 (small dowels) $.20 x 4= $.80 (medium dowels) $.97 for paint $0 for glue on hand Total cost= $4.05 $4.05!!!!! I’ll always take the less expensive price with a little bit of elbow grease every time.
Such a fun little model product.
Don’t you agree?
Is this something you would try with your kids or do on your own, I’d love to know!?
Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.