When I hung our Christmas lights a few weeks ago it was missing the finishing touch to complete the festive feel we were looking for, so we decided to go for a decorative Christmas star to finish the job. After a quick trip to Home Depot to see if there was anything that caught our eye, we quickly decided this was going to be a DIY project. We found a couple of 7-foot lengths of 3/4″ oak squares to build our own star. At just $0.67 per foot, the total cost for this project (since we already owned the rest of the supplies) was less than $10.
With all the supplies on hand and no plan in place, it was time to figure out how to make this thing work. I wanted to do something a little unique, so I found a style I liked online and used it as a template. Naturally, the next step was sorting out the details in SketchUp. I’ll cover that process more in another post, but for now let’s get to building.
I’m no expert in carpentry – in fact it’s been a number of years since I’ve taken on a fun project like this – so I figured being a little over the top on the planning end would probably serve me well in the end. With the help of SketchUp, I got some quick and easy measurements, transferred those to the wood and made my cuts with a band saw. Since the blade on that is fairly low profile, I didn’t worry too much about the cut width throwing off my measurements.
Next step was connecting the pieces. My first thought was wood glue, but the clamps we have weren’t great for the odd angles. Instead, I decided to use a combination of wood glue and screw to lock things in place. Lucking out with another nice December day, I headed to the garage during Mya’s nap to begin the construction.
After finding screws that were the correct length, I used a strip of tape to mark the appropriate depth on the drill bit. I added some wood glue before clamping down the pieces then drilled the initial pilot hole. I didn’t have a countersink drill bit, so I just used a larger diameter bit to get the same effect to allow the screw head to lie flush with or below the surface of the wood.
To make things easier on myself, I created the four smaller segments shown below before attaching all of the sides together. This made clamping and working with all of the pieces a little more manageable. Once the star was fully constructed, I finished it off with some wood filler to cover up the screws and other imperfections before sanding and spray painting.
I really liked the look of the raw wood but since I was relearning some carpentry skills during this project there were some rough spots, so painting was the way to go. We decided silver would be best for a Christmas star and a few coats of paint and clear coat later finally have the finishing touch for our Christmas decorations that we can use year after year.
Since Christmas is just around the corner, we opted for hanging the star on our door this year. When we have a little more time to work with, we may add some lighting and hang the star above our porch as originally planned. For now though, we’re happy with our homemade decoration and can’t wait to celebrate it’s true meaning in just a few short days.