From DIY home decor to handmade gifts, here are the best arts and crafts to spark your creativity

Wooden Heart Pendant With Inlaid Silver

This is a wooden heart pendant i made for my girlfriend. I have to apologize the horrible quality of the images, and maybe the lack of photos at some times, i only got my good camera when the project was finished. It is also my first instructable, so i am only just learning this (:
I hope you can make out what i am doing, but if not please leave a comment with your question below.

I have made this heart pendant because I am not very wealthy, but I wanted to give my girlfriend a gift every once in a while anyway. I hope she will like it. It is made of two types of wood, one inserted in the other, and finally a silver heart inlaid in the wood. It could probably be done with heavy machinery like CNC routers and such, but i do not have access to those tools, so i made it by hand.

Drawing the Shape

The first thing I did was to fire up Photohop and draw how I wanted the pendant to look like. The fact that I have made a heart shape is not essential for this project, it could easily have been made in other shapes. For inspiration I have included a few other shapes that you could use.

When you have your shape you'll need it on a piece of paper, but note that you only need the outlines. I made the outlines by putting a piece of paper over my laptop display, and drew with a pencil. I could have printed it out, but I had drawn it in a 4:1 scale, so I would be a little tricky to print 1:1. You are going to need at least 2 examples of the inner part, and 4 of the outer part. ‘At least’ as in: backups are always a good idea, and if the first ones get messed up, you have a few new ones ready. The 1:1 heart measures 22 mm tall, and 21 mm wide.

Materials and Tools

Now you have to choose your materials. I choose for the outer part walnut (I think) and for the inner part an insanely hard type of wood called something like stone oak (directly translated from Danish. I unfortunately don’t know the exact name of this type of wood..) The wood was just lying around in the basement, so I am not sure where it came from, or the exact names. Just make sure to use hard types of wood.
Additionally I used a length of sterling silver wire 1 mm thick. I used about 10 cm all in all including failed attempts.
For tools, I used:
A band saw (Optional, an ordinary saw can be used) to make the rough cuts in the large pieces of wood
A cordless drill (Optional, anything that can make a drill spin will do) to make the hole for the jump ring
A rotary sander (Optional) to sand larger pieces away
A Dremel (Pretty much essential) to make the hole in the outer part, and to make the grove for the silver wire.
A selection of small files (Essential)
A bench vice to hold the pieces when you are working with them
Sanding paper

Make Smaller Pieces of Wood

Now it is time to start cutting out the large chunks of wood. For the outer part, I made a piece approximately 6x4x0,7 cm. It doesn’t really matter how big it is, just make sure that your paper pieces fit onto it. The thickness it important though, I wanted the final piece to be about 0,5 cm, so I made this a little larger, 0,7 cm. If it gets much thicker, it will be very difficult to make the heart shaped hole in the middle accurate enough.
For the inner part, I made a piece big enough for the piece of paper, and 1 cm thick. It is a good idea to have it a little thicker that the outer bit, and then sand it flush afterwards.

Glue the Paper to the Wood

Now glue the paper to the wood. You will need to glue it on both sides of the wood, and it must be pretty well aligned. This is because otherwise the inner piece will likely not fit in the outer piece, because it is sloped. I used ordinary paper glue, you are going to sand it off anyway, so use whatever you want, just make sure the paper stays there. Placing the paper on the edges makes aligning them easier.

The Heart Shaped Hole

I strongly recommend to make the heart shaped hole, before cutting out the heart in the outer part. It makes it so much more easy to clamp it down and work with, and it is much less likely to break. (I broke 6–7 outer parts before I got the inner piece in, weeks of work down the drain)
To make the hole, get your dremmel and a router bit, small enough to fit few times in the hole.
Now make a very rough cut, holding the dremmel as perpendicular on the wood as possible. Do not go closer than 1 mm to the edge, the dremmel is way too inaccurate to use for the final hole.
When you have the rough cut, it is time for the files. Make sure you use the selection of files you have. If you are making a rounded edged, use a rounded edge file, not a flat one because it is faster. The keyword here is patience, you have to be very precise in this project, otherwise it will never fit.
When you are closing in on the edges, make sure you check both sides of the wood frequently, making sure that you are closing the edge of both pieces of paper. This is very important, because if it only fits on the one side, it is sloped, and impossible to fit the inner piece in.

The Inner Part

For the inner part, I started out by sanding the largest areas with the rotary sander. Only go 2 mm close to the edge, the rest is done with a file. Make sure you check the fit in the hole you have made in the outer bit. It will take a while to get it to fit, so have patience!

Inserting the Inner Piece

This a horrible stage… I have broken the outer bit 4 times in this stage before I found the trick. The inner piece has to fit very snug, my piece has not been glued in, it just sits there. But the first few times I tried to push it in with a bench vise. This is a very bad idea! The trick is to use a hammer, and lightly tap it in. When using a bench vice to push the piece in, it WILL snap the outer piece, so don't do that.

The Silver Wire

To put the silver wire in, first start by making a groove in the now double piece of wood. With a pointy router bit in your dremmel, start making the groove. You don’t have to make it big enough right at once, just make it so there is a little groove. Now take the silver wire, and put the tip of it in the top corner of the heart (Where the two half-circles meet), and start bending it around in the groove, until you have a unique shape, that fits exactly your pendant. Now when that is done get the dremmel again, and make the groove big enough for the silver heart to fit in there. Keep checking the fit, by simply trying to place the silver heart in there.

Securing the Silver Heart

When the silver heart fits in, in a way that it is flush with the surface of the heart, it is time to glue it in. I used two component epoxy. Take a piece of scrap wood and place on the back of your soon-to-be pendant. Then put in a thin layer of epoxy, not so much that is overflows and gets messy, and put the silver heart in. Should it get messy, make sure to put a piece of baking paper over the silver heart, before placing another piece of scrap wood over the whole thing. Then secure the whole thing in a bench vise, and leave it overnight.

The Outer Shape

Now it is time to make the outer shape. Now, very likely your pieces of paper will be completely messed up, so go ahead and glue two new pieces on both sides. With that done, just cut the outer shape out. Remember! to use the files like before, be very patient and thorough, it will be so much more pretty. When you have the outer shape cut, start sanding the pendant to get round, soft and nice edges. I am sorry I don’t have any pictures here, but it is really not that difficult, if you made it here, it should be a piece of cake making it nice to the touch.
As consolation and compensation for the lack of pictures, here is a cute picture of a dog.

The Jump Ring

To make the jump ring, take the same silver wire you used for the silver heart, and bend a little ring around a round object of your choice. I used a screwdriver. The length of the piece that goes in the heart does not really matter, but I prefer to go into the inner heart, so about a centimeter or so. Then with your 1 mm drill, make a hole into both hearts at the point where you want your jump ring. It does not necessarily have to be where I put mine; you can put it where ever you want.

Finishing Up

Finally, rub it with your favorite wood oil stuff (I used linseed oil) and polish it with a piece of cloth, and you are done!
Now all that you have to do it find a chain to hang it on, and either wear it yourself, or give it away. I really hope my girlfriend will like it, I have put a lot of time into this. From the time I got the idea, to the final product was done, it was almost 3 weeks, including many failed attempts.
But feel free to ask questions about the project, I will answer them as good as I can.


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