Some ideas are born in my head, some are inspired by something I see. Scrolling through the internet one night, my wife showed me a picture of a city skyline made with pallet wood. I studied the picture and thought that it would be something fast and simple to make to sell in our booth. The first thing I had to figure out was the overall size of the picture. I measured the hand that was holding the picture and then measured my hand to determine the approximate size of the picture. I took dividers and set them to the size of the hand, then used that distance to step down the length and height of the picture. It was a little under 8 steps for the length and my hand was 5″ long when holding it in the same position as the picture. So, 5 x 8 is 40 with the measurement being a little under 8 steps, I decided the picture was about 3 feet long. Doing the same thing down the height of the picture, I came to a final conclusion that the picture is about 20″ tall x 36″ long.
The next thing I did was google image search “Cincinnati skyline”. Once I came up with a picture I was satisfied with, I printed and cut out the individual buildings. In the original city skyline above, it appears the artist glued a bunch of pallet wood together and then placed a large template over the whole thing, then traced and cut out the outline with a saber saw. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted my buildings to be an individual piece of pallet wood
My pallet wood was 3 1/2″ wide, so I cut some paper 3 1/2″ wide as well. I then took my dividers and used them to gauge where the details of the building fall within the over design of the building. I then transferred those reference marks onto the piece of paper to draw the building.
Once all my buildings were drawn, I lined them up to where I wanted them to lay for my city skyline. The final two buildings are the Procter and Gamble buildings that are the same. So for that template, I simply trace around the wood for the first tower, then flip it over and use that side for the second tower.
The next steps are the easy part. I ripped 1/8″ hard board down to 3 1/2″, traced then cut the shapes out on my band saw.
The templates were the important part of the design process, because they will used to draw the final shape of each building when building the city skyline.
Back to the band saw with a 1/8″ scrolling blade and cut out all the buildings. You can see the final buildings on the right are two of the same.
I decided to use 6″ wide siding for the background. I had some scraps from when I was building my shed, so I didn’t have to go out and buy any. For the frame of the picture I used a 2×4 ripped to 1 1/2″ square with a 3/4″ square rabbet cut down one side. I then cut and fitted each piece with 45 degree angles on each end.
Making sure everything fitted well, I test fitted the frame together without glue. I wasn’t too concerned about the expansion and contraction of the wood, because the siding is freshly milled and will more likely shrink a little bit. Once the wood shrinks, it will be able to expand and contract in the tongue and groove joints of the siding.
I then test fitted the buildings in the frame. What’s great about this project is that it is simple to make and doesn’t require any sanding.
My wife then stained each building with different colors of stain. She also painted the background of the siding with black milk paint. The 2×4 frame was brushed with a steel wool and vinegar solution.
After gluing and nailing everything together, the final product is ready for sale. This is more of a craft project than fine woodworking, but it was super easy to make. The most time-consuming part was the design process. Now that it is made, I need to see if someone will buy it and at what price. Stay tuned.