Friday, February 20, 2015

Shamrock Block On a Stick Decor

March approaches fast and here is 
the perfect decor project to get your 
St. Patrick's Day "greening of the home" into gear!
Two sizes - large 14" x 5.25" and medium 12" x 4.75" -
of festive shamrocks on sticks supported by base boxes
can stand on a shelf, in a niche, provide mantle focus,
or cluster on your St. Patrick's Day table.
Shamrocks are built as open-back boxes with whole clover cover.
Stick posts are sized for inserting a 5/16" wooden dowel
(cut to size) which makes them extra sturdy for use year after year.
Posts are  inserted into easy-build base boxes.
Adorn as you wish, including ribbon bows as shown.

ASSEMBLY: (same for large and medium sizes)
1. Identify and cut the shapes:
A shamrock front (dark green) and accent front
B top boxing strip
C left side boxing strip
D right with bottom boxing strip
E back "hollow" shamrock with center support
F back shamrock whole "cover" (same as front)
G post strip
H base box main (sides) shape with accents
I base box back/top with accents
J base box bottom with trap door
L base bottom hole cover
K base box support interior strip

2. Prepare the boxing strips by folding tabs inward, folding vertical perforation lines inward or outward according to the angle that matches their location at the shamrock front shape edge.

To know which way to bend the perf lines, lay out the boxing strips to "match" the inward or outward angles of the edge.

The top boxing strip includes a tiny "C" cut into the front edge tab that will help identify that indent and perf line as the center top. The top strip can be visually divided into left and right mirror image halves. The indent between the two shorted segments and tabs is the center top "valley" angle of the whole front shamrock.

The boxing strips also include tiny cutout symbols to help identify how the strips join to each other around the perimeter of the front shamrock shape. Here, the tiny circle cutout is shown in the right end tab of the top boxing strip.

The left end of the right side boxing strip will  have a corresponding circle cutout in the end tab.

3. Apply glue to the first tab (begin at the center and work toward right end or left end first), then overlap the corresponding straight edge to the perforation line at tab edge, adjust so that the tab and edge ends also line up, then apply pressure and hold until the bond is complete.

4. Bend the boxing strip to bring the next segment tab and shamrock edge into alignment, apply glue to tab, re-align and adjust, then apply pressure and hold.

Once the initial grab of the adhesive is made, it may be helpful to turn the assemblage over and apply pressure from the backside (on a flat surface). 

5. Continue to bend, align, adjust and attach each segment tab to corresponding shamrock straight edge to complete the joining of first half of top strip.

6. Complete the second half of the top strip in a similar manner.

7. Locate and prepare the right boxing strip by folding tabs and vertical perf lines as was done for top strip. Slide the lead edge tab perf line under the right end straight edge of the top boxing strip that is attached to the shamrock front, adjust top to bottom for accuracy, then glue in place.

8. Bend, align, adjust and glue each of the tabs to the straight edges of the shamrock front. to complete the joining of the right strip (with bottom segments).

9. Join the left boxing strip to the end of the right strip, then bend, align, adjust and glue most of the segments of the left side boxing strip in the say manner as before. Before the final 2-3 segments are prepared and attached in place . . .

. . . prepare to attach the left end and the top strip lead end in the same operation. Apply glue to the appropriate surfaces, then slide tabs into place at shamrock straight edges as you position end straight edge over end tab.

Adjust, then apply pressure to ensure that all tabs and edges are accurately joined.

10. Apply glue to the backside of the shamrock front accent shape, then position, centered, over the block assembly.

It will be helpful . . .

. . . to turn the box over and apply thorough, rotating pressure to the entire inner face of the shamrock front until the accent shape is thoroughly attached.

11. Prepare the back "hollow" shamrock shape by bending the center support tabs inward and outward as shown.

12. Apply glue to the exposed tabs as seen in the second half of step 10. Position the back shamrock outer edges to corresponding tabs, adjust and align, then apply pressure by inserting fingers behind the rim's edges.

13. Apply glue to the underside of the end narrow support tab, then re-position the support tab so that it is perpendicular to the shamrock front and back shapes. Apply pressure and hold in place until secure.

(Be sure to allow the tab to dry to hard join before trying to insert pole in following steps.)

14. Prepare the post tube by folding on all long perforation lines. NOTE: take care when folding and creasing since the narrowness of the sections between perforations are subject to tearing undesirably.

15. Form the pole shape into a tube, overlap the side straight edge over the opposite tab to perforation line, check ends for alignment, then glue in place.

It may be helpful to insert the OPTIONAL 5/16" diameter dowel that will be cut to size into the tube to provide a "press-against" surface all along the length of the tube.

16. Measure the dowel for length by inserting into the pole tube, aligning cut end at the end tab perforations, then mark the opposite end tab perforation position onto the dowel. Add at least an extra 1" to the length, and cut to size. 

(NOTE: exact length is not important, just a good straight perpendicular cut on the end that will be the bottom.)

17. Insert the cut-to-size dowel into the post tube.

18. Adjust the dowel at  the top of the pole tube back away from the top end tabs. (The end will insert more easily through the hex openings without the dowel extended behind the end tabs.)

Insert the top end through the shamrock front's bottom hex opening AND through the support's hex opening.

Bend the top tabs outward . . .

. . . then glue the tabs in place on the support strip.

19. Prepare the base box sections by folding all tabs inward, and folding all vertical or horizontal edge creases inward.

Arrange the sides shape (at right in the image)  with the side tab at top. Align, overlap back/side straight edge over the center segment tab, adjust ends, then glue in place.

20. Fold the assembly into a box shape, bringing the unattached side panel into alignment with corresponding side tabs or edge, adjust and glue tabs in place.

21. Prepare the center support strip by folding at the center perf line as a valley fold, also bending end tabs inward slightly.

22. Insert into the base box with the V end toward the box's front and centered along that box face. Move support "arms" outward until they touch the box's sides. Glue the end tabs in place.

NOTE: the support should be centered and symmetrical as much as possible.

23. Prepare the pole bottom support plank by making accordion folds as shown. Glue surfaces together that will touch each other, both on the front and on the back.

The resulting shape should be a stack with hex hole cutouts as exactly aligned as possible.

24. Position the plank on the underside of the box's bottom panel, taking care to align the hex hole cutouts as exactly as possible.

25. Position the box bottom over the open end of the base box, taking care to orient the square so that the hex cutouts of front and back line up. (NOTE: the top and bottom flat sides of the hex cutout will line up with the front and back of the box.)

Test close the trap door to see that it closes properly.

26. Apply glue and attach the top accent square to the box's top surface.

(You can also adhere the side accent shapes at this point, though tutorial images show them attached at a later stage.)

27. Insert the bottom of the pole through the box's top cutout (top accent should be in place before this step) . . .

. . . through the box and into the trap door hex cutout.

Apply a little glue along the exposed edges of the support strips under the trap door as it is being closed during this step of construction.

Fold and glue bottom end tabs back. 

Glue the cosmetic hexagon in place on the base box bottom to cover the post construction.

28. Glue side accent rectangles in place.

29. Apply glue to the shamrock hollow back, then position the whole back into place, adjust so that edges match, then apply whatever pressure is possible to achieve a good, smooth join at edges.

Finish your shamrock by tying a 12" length of accent ribbon
at the top of the pole.

Side view, below:

This shot is of the medium sized shamrock.
Construction of the medium is identical to the large
that is featured in the tutorial images.

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