Here is the tutorial, as promised, for our Gnome Bunk Beds. To read the story “Britta’s Dilemma :: A Gnome Thicket Adventure”, just click HERE!
1″ x 6″ x 12″ wood – I used pine
two branches – 1″ x 8″
2 pieces 3/8″ x 1″ dowel rod
wood or crafting glue
beeswax wood polish
pattern found HERE
scroll saw (preferable) or hand saw
sander or sand paper
blunt yarn needle
Begin by “ripping” 3 pieces of fabric for the hammocks. For directions on how to rip fabric, check out our blog on Rip and Tear Napkins found HERE. Rip 3 pieces that are 5″ x 7″. Note, you can cut fabric, but if you do, make sure you follow the grain line so you can “fray” the fabric. You will want to create a fringe. If you need help straightening the grain of your fabric, check out our post on Straighten the Grain of your Fabric found HERE.
Remove enough threads on the 7″ sides of the fabric pieces to create a 1/2″ fringe. DO NOT fringe the two short sides.
Turn under to the wrong side of the fabric the 2 short edges 1/2″. Finger press. (Simply means to run your finger over the fold several times to set a crease.) Using a running stitch, sew the raw edge to the fabric, creating a casing along the fold.
Optional: I hand washed the fabric and dried them in the dryer. I wanted to remove the sizing and soften the fabric.
Make a copy of the pattern. Trace the pattern on the wood. Lightly mark to the two circles for branch placement. Note: I like to cover my patterns with clear contact paper or wide packing tape before I cut them out to make the pattern sturdy. This makes it easier to trace on the wood and it can be reused.
Cut out the base and sand the edges. (Note: If you do not have a scroll saw, you can simply use a rectangle for the base. It will still be lovely!)
Cut your two branches. Make sure you make nice smooth cuts and that the cuts are perpendicular to the height of the branch. This will ensure that it sits firmly and even on the base.
Using a drill and a 3/8″ drill bit, drill holes in the center of the bottom of the 2 branches and in the center of the 2 branch placement circles. Make each hole slightly more than 1/2″ deep.
Glue the dowel rods into the hole of the branches.
Drill holes in the branches to thread the twine through. Select a drill bit that will make the holes slightly bigger than the eye of your blunt yarn needle. From the bottom of the branch, drill holes at 2″, 4 1/2″ and 7″. Make sure your holes are in a straight line and go all the way through.
Glue the branches to the base. IMPORTANT: Make sure you position the holes so the holes face the center of the base.
When the glue has dried, use a beeswax wood polish on the wood. Note: To keep all wood toys “healthy”, periodically, apply another coat of the wood polish.
Cut 6 pieces of twine 18″ long. Thread with a blunt yarn needle.
Thread one piece of twine through each of the casings you sewed.
Center the 2 ends of the twine and pull, gathering the casings.
Using a square knot (right over left, left over right) tie off the 2 ends of the hammocks. Arrange the hammock so the right side of the fabric is showing. The fringed edges should hang over the sides.
NOTE: You will notice that the glue on my base is not dry yet. That is me being impatient and trying to get the tutorial done. DO NOT do this part until the glue is thoroughly dried or you risk pulling the branches out of the base!)
Thread one strand of the twine through the yarn needle.
Going from the center of the branch to the outside of the branch, bring the needle and the twine through the branch.
Do the same with the second piece of twine. One side of the hammock is now attached to the branch. Do the same with the other side, making sure the hammock remains top side up and that you thread the twine through the same positioned hole on the other branch.
Do the same with all 3 hammocks.
To tie the hammocks to the branches, make sure each hammock is centered between the branches. Then, separating the 2 pieces of twine in a hole, bring the twine to the center of the base, cross the twine, then bring them back around to the outside of the branch.
Tie off the twine. Note: you have 2 choices. First, you can knot the twine if you want the hammocks to be permanent. Britta and I like to have the options to seasonally change things in our house, so I tied mine in bows, so I can untie them and put up different hammocks in the future.
So, there you have it… a set of bunk beds ready for visiting gnomes and fairies!