Tag Archives: hexagon

61: Hexagon Trivet

The hexagons are piling up again on the workbench, which are leftovers from making hexagon pendants.  We have hundreds of these slightly odd sized, but yet uniform bamboo hexagons.  Ryan used a bunch for advertising tokens for his shop back in Week 30…I guess at week 61 it’s my turn!

patternMy Instagram “following” feed is inundated with hexagons thanks to the obsession with English Paper Piecing.  I keep seeing the beautiful patterns people are coming up with for quilts, which is how I stumbled across the Hexagon swirls.  The swirl pattern is perfect for a trivet, and I laid out the pre-cut bamboo hexagons according to the original “1 block” plan as posted.  The design takes 75 hexagons, 25 in each color.   Without colors, it was surprisingly hard to keep the design straight in my head!

All the hexes in the full sized trivet.
All the hexes in the full sized trivet.
Stain testing.  Now I kind of dig the red...next time!
Stain testing. Now I kind of dig the red…next time!

I mulled over various ways to treat the hexagons to create the three colors / patterns, but in the end I settled on simply staining them.  I really like the natural grain of the wood, and thought a stain would help that come through better than a paint, and possibly hold up to use a bit better.  From an early “experimental” phase with our laser, I had a couple odd colors of stain chilling out in the garage (literally).  The redwood, dusty green and white combo was a little more “Arts and Crafts Movement” than I wanted, so I ditched the red in favor of the natural bamboo.

Hexes in groups, ready to stain!
Hexes in groups, ready to stain on their transfer tape.  Current “paint station” is a tray table in my living room…I need a workshop!

There was so way I would sanely sane and paint all the little hexagons individually.  To save my fingers some abuse, I laid the hexagons, in groups of 25, to the sticky side of transfer tape.  It held everything in place while I sanded and stained beautifully!

I knew I wanted a boarder around the hexagon pattern to add stability and protection for the individual pieces.  What I wasn’t sure of was how to get the correct measurements to make the border.  I was worried that the spacing between the hexagons left by human hands / glue / etc, would make the design larger than if I had cut a border based on the original hexagon vector butted up to each other.  Ryan was of course the voice of reason, trusting that the margin of wood burned away by the laser during cutting (also known as the kerf) would make up for any spaces I left in gluing.

Test chipboard border
Test chipboard border
Test chipboard border worked perfectly!
Test chipboard border worked perfectly!

I knew I didn’t want the sawtooth edge of the hexagons on the edges of the finished project, so with a couple tweaks and an offset path, Ryan and I came up with this pretty mod looking 12 sided border.  We cut it first of out chipboard, a cheap material that we bought for testing.  Ryan was totally right – it worked perfectly with the laser kerfs.  So I had my border and the outside shape for my base.

You might notice the final design is smaller than the original design.  As I was laying out the colored hexies, I pretty much loved how it looked at every stage of building.  In the end, I actually stopped a couple rounds short of recreating the full pattern, and only using 27 of the 75 hexagons for my trivet.  The full pattern felt a little too large (especially with the yet unmade border) and by stopping there I could used the rest of the hexies to make a set of awesome coasters!

The base of the trivet is one solid piece, and is thicker than the 1/16th inch bamboo that the hexagons are cut from.  Another bonus of setting up a vector file with the individual hexagons in it – I could engrave the design on the top of the base!  It was great to have the guide there when I started gluing!

Starting to build the design, with the help of the engraved pattern underneath!
Starting to build the design, with the help of the engraved pattern underneath!
I like 4 of each color so much, I made them into a set of coasters!
I liked this stage so much, I made them into a set of coasters!
It's like the easiest puzzle in the world.
It’s like the easiest puzzle in the world.
Trivet, pre border
Trivet, pre border
This one isn't lined up correctly, and it's noticeable.  Lesson here - too much glue can be a bad thing, and take your time.
This one isn’t lined up correctly, and it’s noticeable. Lesson here – too much glue can be a bad thing, and take your time.

I used wood glue for the assembly, and per the instructions, clamped them together and left them to dry for 30-60 minutes.  Assembly was easy because I purposely didn’t want the graining or the brush strokes to line up.  The rotation is pretty random, which I think adds visual interest, especially to the unpainted hexagons.  I did get a little overconfident on the last coaster, using too much glue and moving too quickly – the layers became misaligned during when I clamped it.  Whoops!

After clamping them for an hour, I finished the tops.  I laid the stain on a little thick when painting, thinking I would do a quick sanding of the entire piece to fill in cracks and give the piece a uniform look.  Well, that was a mistake.  The stain didn’t work like I had expected (I thought it would penetrate a little), and it came right off on the edges of the hexies when sanded!  There was no way I could fill in the bare spots neatly, so I sanded the whole piece and the trivet has a “shabby chic” look.  I finished it by rubbing in mineral oil.  Mineral oil is food safe, and there were concerns about the heat resistance of polyurethane.  I didn’t want the finish to be melting on my hot pots and pans!

The shabby chic of over-sanding :)
The shabby chic of over-sanding 🙂

Because coasters need to be less heat resistant, but much more water resistant, I did a coat of polyurethane.  Even my mugs of tea are unlikely to be over 200 degrees, the recommended heat limit of the finished surface.  The coating has a bit of a gloss, which looks quite nice.  As I’m writing this post, they are doing a wonderful job of holding my glass of water beside me!

Finished set
Finished set

 

28: Hexagon Pendants

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there is a bit of a hexagon craze going on.  It’s always been a popular design for bathroom floor tiles.  The shocking decline in bee populations have brought them to the forefront of consciousness, including the clever designs for their honey combs.  You can buy a hexagon clock at IKEA that is customizable.  And in quilting there is a revival of interest in English paper piecing (or foundation piercing), and hexagons are by far the most popular shape.

Finished pieces
Finished pieces

I have toyed with the idea of making layered pendants for awhile, and with a bit of encouragement (thanks Rebecca!) these customizable hexagon pendants were born. In designing, I might have gotten a little overzealous.  There are half inch hexes, three quarter inch hexes and one inch hexes.  I couldn’t decide if I liked them wide or tall, so I made both.  And then when I started putting hexes together, I knew I had to stop to get this post done!  So many fun designs, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

All the styles of bamboo pendants
All the styles of bamboo pendants
All the acrylic pendants
All the acrylic pendants

Each pendant is made from two pieces of material – a frame and the backing.  I originally was working with 3mm materials, thinking they could house more dimensional things.  Right off the bat, I felt that the backing at 3mm was just too clunky.  It makes for a combined depth of 6mm, which is hard to find a jump ring for.  So the first redesign was to use a 1/16th of an inch backing.  (Sorry, I know I’m switching measurements types – darn this English measurement system!  1/16th is *roughly* 1.5mm)

3mm frame with a 1.5mm back makes a great combination!
3mm frame with a 1.5mm back makes a great combination!
Straight on view of the same leather material in the deep frame and the thin frame.
Straight on view of the same leather material in the deep frame with 3mm back and the thin frame with a thin back.
A side view of the depth difference with the same leather insert.
A side view of the depth difference with the same leather insert.

Rebecca graciously offered to help me fill pendants (thank goodness!) and she had a different take: she used them to showcase different flat materials such as washi tape, stamped paper, even embroidered fabric.  The shadow and dimension of a 3mm thick frame was okay, but I felt it was just too strong with a flat background.  So we tried a few pieces with a trimmed down (1.5mm deep) front as well.

Yellow and black acrylic in homage to the bees.
Yellow and black acrylic – in homage to the bees. These were made with the thinner frames.
Frame filled to the brim with beads!
Frame filled to the brim with beads! Rebecca’s design.
The paper is trimmed inside the outline of the backing and glued down before the frame is put n.
The paper is trimmed inside the outline of the backing and glued down before the frame is glued on.  Because the lace is thicker, I added that after.

I tried filling these pendants two different ways: a) gluing the frame to the back, then decorating and b) decorating the back, then gluing on the frame.  In some ways, gluing the pieces together first was easier.  There was less worry about glue spilling all over a completed design on the inside.  But if you want complete coverage on the back with a flat piece of material, cutting a perfect hexagon is nearly impossible by hand.  For that, decorating before gluing on the frame is easier.  One caveat with that method, though – trim the material away from the edge.  That way, gluing down the frame can hide the edge of the materials.  If you don’t, the edges show quite clearly between the front and back.

Final design verdict: The thinner back is perfect, and there are uses for both the thicker and thinner frames.  I really enjoyed flexing my creative collaging muscles, and I really think people could do amazing things with them!  If you’d like your own, I’ve put them up for sale in my supply shop, Beadeux.

Tiny half inch hexagon pendants - so cute!
Tiny half inch hexagon pendants – so cute!
This is a great, personalized piece.  Rebecca embroidered her daughter's initial in it.
This is a great, personalized piece. Rebecca embroidered her daughter’s initial in it.
Variety on one inch hexes
Variety of one inch hexes
Layers of the larger triple hexagon.  Love the lace!
Layers of the larger triple hexagon. Love the lace!