--- Please take a look at the embedded video for detailed demonstrations of the techniques described in this guide. It will help a bunch, thanks! ------
So this is a project that I made mostly just for fun, that turned out to be pretty popular. I can't tell you why other than to say, people love ice cream. So here is how you can build your own giant, light up ice cream sandwich that hangs from your ceiling.
You will need:
- OSB, plywood, or MDF: This will be the "cookie" part. You need enough to make two sheets sized 17 inches by 40 inches. The material should be 1/2 inch - 3/4 inch thick.
- Foam: This will be your "ice cream." I used some leftover packing material that turned out to be polyethylene foam., about 1/2 inch thick. What you need is a material that is soft enough to manipulate/cut/position easily, resilient enough to be tacked into position and hold, yet translucent enough for the light to come through, diffused. I suspect many different types of foam would work, but it's up to you if you want to experiment.
- Wood blocks: wood pieces to be used as spacers, approximately 3 inches wide (all the same width) by 5 inches long, about 1 inch thick. You'll need between 4 and 6 of these.
- Wood glue
- Wood Nails: a bunch of your favorite type of nail to use to secure wood together. I used what I had lying around, but these will be used to secure the "cookie" material to the wooden spacer blocks, so they need to be at least 1.5 inches long.
- Tacks: some sort of upholstery tacks or a short nail with a broad, flat head. I used masonry nails, but anything that will secure the foam to the "cookie" material. Should be shorter than your
"cookie" material thickness.
- Remote Control LED Lighting Kit: You can get these on Amazon or your electronics dealer in parts or as a whole. I got mine from the big box store and while expensive, it was very simple. Any kit that can give off white light is perfectly fine, but the ones that have full RGB capabilities are much more fun!
- A Jig Saw: or any saw capable of cutting down the sheets of material and their curved edges
- A Drill: with a bit that can bore a 1-inch hole through your "cookie material." I used a standard "paddle" or "spade" bit. Also a forstner bit or a twist bit that is the same diameter as the loops on your "figure 8" hooks.
- Wood Stain: a dark, chocolate brown color. Paint could work, too, if you prefer.
- Measuring device: A measuring tape, or even a yardstick will do
- Clear Cellophane Tape: for when things get sticky, or not sticky enough.
- Pencil or other marking device
- Extension Cord: optional: for hanging your lamp if your lighting kit's cord is too short
- Nylon Twine: I used Mason's Twine but anything that will hold up your chandelier will work.
- Figure 8 Hooks: either 1 inch or 3/4 inch
- Screws/washers: 1 inch or so long screws that will secure your figure 8 hooks. Washers if necessary so the screws don't slip through the loops in your hooks.
- Pliers: Could definitely come in handy.
- A Strong Hook: Probably one of the types with a screw in the other end, but anything you can fasten to the ceiling that will hold this project up will work.
- Circle Template: anything circular and about 3 inches in diameter
- Sand Paper: a random orbit sander or other electric sander will speed things up here, but you can also just hand sand this stuff. Get a coarse grit, like 80, a medium grit, like 120, and a fine grit, like 220. Also grab a 3/4 or 1/2 inch dowel or pipe.
- a decently sharp blade to trim foam and rope.
Step 1: Cut and Shape Your "Cookie" Material
-Cut your material into two 17 inch by 40 inch panels
- use a circle template or round object to mark the corners
- cut the corners round
- You can do this with both pieces stacked one on top of the other to get a nice, matching shape
Step 2: Measure and Drill the Holes
- While the sheets are still stacked, measure and mark the hole locations like they would be on a real ice cream sandwich
- I opted for an alternating patterns with a row of holes along each long edge, and two rows toward the center
- The holes along the edges are 1 inch from the long edge and 8 inches from each other, on center. The row starts on inch in from the short edges.
- the holes in the center are about 6 inches from the long edge, 8 inches from each other. The row starts about 6 inches from each short edge.
- If the measurements don't make a ton of sense (it's hard to describe) check out the video for the general idea. Alternatively, you could just do your best to make them look like a regular ice cream sandwich.
Step 3: Sand the Boards and Holes
- Starting with your coarse grit and working your way to medium then fine, sand one side of each of your "cookie" material sheets
- wrap your sandpaper around your dowel or pipe to sand inside of the holes you drilled.
Step 4: Mark and Cut Your Foam
- Use your spacer blocks to mark the height of your foam. They should be equally wide (about 3 inches)
- Cut your foam using an appropriate saw/blade. I found the jigsaw works really well for this, but moves swiftly through the material, so be careful!
- The foam should be cut into as long of a strip as you can manage.
Step 5: Place and Attach Your Spacer Blocks and Top Sheet
- Lay one sheet of your "cookie" material on your work surface
- place your spacer blocks on their long sides, so the 3 inch width is standing vertically up
- the spacer blocks should be arranged in a rectangular pattern about 5- 7 inches in from the outer edges of the sheet, being careful not to block any of the holes.
- take note of the measurements of where the blocks are arranged, you will be nailing into them soon and will not be able to see them.
- apply glue to the top edges of each block
- press your other sheet, sanded side up, onto the blocks exactly lined up with the bottom sheet.
- add 2-3 nails per block through your top sheet.
Step 6: Stain/Paint Your Cookie Material
- Remove the bottom sheet of "cookie" material carefully and place it on a work surface, sanded side up
- Stain or Paint each sheet's sanded side, remembering to get the edges and the holes.
- Do this in a well ventilated area if necessary, remembering to follow all the necessary instructions on your stain or paint.
- Wait until the stain or paint has dried and flip over the sheet with the spacer blocks attached to it
Step 7: Tack in Your Foam Strips
- Using the upholstery/short tacks/nails, begin tacking in the foam about 1/2 inch from the outside edge of the sheet with the spacer blocks attached to it.
- Hammer your tacks as far in as you can at a slight angle through the bottom of the foam into the sheet. Do this all the way around the sheet.
- When you need to join the ends of two strips together or need to close the loop of foam around the piece, use your blade to CAREFULLY cut an angle of about 45 degrees into the broad (3 inch) side of the foam at each end you wish to join. The angles need to match up and overlap in order to create a continuous look. In woodworking, this is called a "scarf" joint. Included is a diagram.
- Reinforce this joint with some cellophane (packing) tape on the inside of the loop.
- cut small pieces of foam and tape them over the holes in the inside of the sheet.
Step 8: Add Your Lighting Kit
- String or stick the LED Lighting kit around the spacer blocks inside the foam.
- Position the "receiver" for the kit so that it can be hit by the remote through the foam
- Screw/nail/tape/stick any necessary parts of the kit to the spacer blocks, being careful not to block the holes.
- Be sure to position the LEDs to spread the light throughout the piece and evenly shine it through the sides and holes.
- Include the extension cord if necessary/desired
Step 9: Add Hanging System
- Using your forstner/large drill bit, drill 4 holes in the tops of the spacer blocks closest to the "centermost" holes of the "cookie" sheet.
-These should be about 1/4 inch deep, or deep enough to fully seat one loop of your "figure 8" hooks below the surface of the board
- Mount one "figure 8" hook in each hole, drilling a screw (with washer if needed) into one loop, with the other loop facing inward to the center of the sheet.
- Do this for all four holes.
- Tie your rope/twine to the inner loop of each hook. I braided my twine to make it strong enough for this application and for aesthetics. Cut each piece to your desired hanging length, plus a few inches.
Step 10: Close It Up!
- Thread each length of rope through the top sheet, so they run through each of the four centermost holes.
- Run your extension cord/lighting kit cord through one of the four holes as well.
- Position the top sheet exactly over the bottom sheet, on top of the spacer blocks.
- Nail the top sheet down, driving 2-3 nails through it into each spacer board (remember how you were smart and noted the positions of the board earlier? Yeah)
- Drive tacks/upholstery/short nails through the top edge of the foam into the underside of the top sheet from the outside wherever it may seem a bit loose.
- Turn it on and mess with it for a bit, it just looks so darn cool!
Step 11: Hang and Enjoy!
-To hang this piece, put your hook into a solid ceiling area, like a joist or a beam.
- Bring all four lengths of rope evenly to the hook and fasten with a strong knot
- Run the cord up to and through the hook as well and to your power source.
- Turn it on and enjoy your new Giant Ice Cream Sandwich Chandelier!
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