I call it ‘woodworking lite’. Start off with a bit of balsa, and pretty soon you’ve moved on to MDF, then pine, then jarrah and the world’s your oyster (unless it’s unethically grown, then it’s not imported into Australia).
There are so many cool kits out at the moment, like I mentioned in my previous post. They’re great for first time DIY’ers, or those without enough nous to source and make something on their own.
But we’re better than that right? We can slot two pieces of balsa wood together and slap some paint on it for under a buck a tree. No need to buy a $20 kit with two trees in it. We can make a whole grove for cheaper!!
Plus, we don’t want to be held down by the colour selections on the box. No way. We want our trees to be X and X (insert your off chart colour palette here).
Make your stencil. I traced a rectangle the width of my balsa onto a piece of card 6 inches high. Then I marked the middle point on the top of the card and drew a triangle. And I did it again for two stencils.
The next step is to make a slot in your stencil the width of the balsa wood. I did this by drawing a line down the middle of my stencil, then measuring 2.5mm from each side. One slot will need to start at the top of the stencil, and come down 3 inches. The second slot will need to start at the bottom and come up 3 inches.
Now it’s time to cut your balsa. Trace the stencil onto the wood lightly with a pencil. Use a scalpel or a Stanley knife to cut the lines, drawing the blade slowly though the wood to avoid chipping. I used a metal ruler as a guide. Cut out as many as you need for your grotto.
Tip: Now’s the time to slot your pieces together to see if they fit. If they’re a bit snug, trim them a little bit more. The paint will provide an extra layer that might make them snap when you put them together.
Tip: If they do snap when you put them together, just glue it back together, you won’t be able to see the join.