I recently discovered the joy of these letter-size wood sheets that really add a warmth and texture to layered projects. I’ve used the wooden sheets with chipboard to create this clock décor, so follow along to find out how to make your own!
This project requires assembling layers with moderate precision, so if you dislike trying to line things up, then this may not be your favorite project. However, the depth you achieve in this process gives it the illusion of thicker wood, so I think the effort is worth it.
You Will Need:
- Silhouette cutting machine – I’m using the Silhouette Portrait® 3
- Silhouette Studio® software
- AutoBlade, or your favorite blade
- Cutting mat
- Silhouette Wood Sheets
- Silhouette Chipboard (this is about 0.4 mm thick)
- Wood-print cardstock or other coordinating backing piece
- Adhesive or glue
- Large brad fastener
- 8-by-8 inch shadowbox frame
- Design ID #37096
Step One: Prepare the Design
1. Open the Roman Clock and Gears N Cogs design, which is Design ID #37096.
2. Set your Page Setup to match your machine and media. For the Portrait 3, set it up as follows:
- Machine = Portrait
- Cutting Mat = Portrait 8 x 12 in
- Media Size = Letter
- Orientation = Portrait (not Landscape)
- Check the box for “Show Cut Border”
Note: If you are using another machine like the Cameo, make sure your machine and cutting mat are both set to Cameo (12 x 12), but leave the media size at Letter to match the wood sheets.
3. We need to resize the design to better fill the 8-inch frame. Select the clock design and ungroup (right-click and select “Ungroup”) it a couple of times until you see individual bounding boxes around the shapes.
4. With all the design pieces selected, choose Center in the Quick Access Toolbar. Aligning them like this will make it easy to resize exactly.
5. Stretch the design larger by dragging a corner handle until the design is about 7.25 inches wide. (Make sure the dimensions do not exceed the visible opening in your frame.)
6. To make it easier to identify the pieces, fill the clock pieces with color. I’ve made the gear layer brown to match the walnut wood sheet I’m going to be cutting it from. Make the clock layer and hands a lighter brown to match the maple walnut wood sheet. (Recoloring is optional.)
7. Move the clock pieces to the side of the virtual mat and position the gear layer on the virtual mat so it’s completely within the cut area. Position it toward the top of the page to conserve material. (See image above.)
Step Two: Cut the Gear Layer
1. Go to the Send Tab to prepare to cut the wood sheets. The design to cut should now show in bold red.
2. Set the Material to Wood Paper. Action should be set to Cut, and the Tool should be AutoBlade or whichever blade you are going to use.
3. Place the letter-size walnut wood sheet on the mat and load it into your machine.
4. If you’ve never cut these wood sheets before, I recommend performing a test cut to make sure your settings will work. I use the default Blade = 6, Force = 32, Speed = 4, Passes 1–2, and then I check the box to enable Line Segment Overcut. (A well-used blade may work better with 2 passes.)
The blade should cut completely through the wood and its yellow adhesive layer, but not through the white backing layer.
Tip: Make sure your practice cut is not going to interfere with where the main design will cut later by 1) using the software test cut feature to cut in the upper left corner and moving your design to the right side of the page, or 2) drawing a shape or letter and placing it on the side of the page, within the cutting area but away from your design. Use the “Cut” and “No Cut” choices to enable/disable cuts of selected shapes.
5. Load and cut the gear design when ready.
6. When finished, unload the mat and flip it over with the wood-side down and pull the mat away from the media. The mat is flexible and will come off the design easier this way.
Step Three: Cut the Clock Layer
1. Go back to the Design tab and move all shapes off the mat.
2. Move your clock pieces onto the mat and position close to the top edge to conserve material.
3. Rotate the clock hands so they are fairly horizontal along with the grain to look more natural.
Optional: You can cut the clock hands from a different material, if you don’t want them to look like wood. Gold sticker paper would be a nice alternative to make the clock hands look like metal.
4. Go back to the Send Tab, load your mat with the maple wood sheet, and use the same settings to cut the clock pieces from wood.
5. Before unloading the mat, check to make sure the wood pieces cut completely through. If not, click Send for one pass in the Send panel again.
6. Flip the cutting mat over and peel the mat away from the material to remove the wood sheet.
Step Four: Cut the Chipboard Layers
1. Go to the Design tab, and this time we’ll cut two identical layers of chipboard for each clock and gear layer.
2. Leave the clock pieces in place. We’re going to cut this design twice from thin chipboard.
3. To add some additional layers to lift the clock hands, draw a circle that’s about 0.5 in. (Hold your Shift key while drawing with the ellipse tool to make a perfect circle.) The circle should not be larger than the loop on the smaller clock hand.
4. With the circle selected, go to the Offset Panel and choose Internal Offset. The default distance of 0.125 is fine, so click Apply.
5. Select both circles and Group them (Ctrl G or Cmd G).
6. Duplicate that ring to cut at least two of them (Ctrl + right arrow key or Cmd + right arrow key). You may want to cut as many as four rings so you’ve got spacing options later.
7. Trim down four pieces of chipboard so they are 8–8.5 inches wide. (If you cut them 8 inches wide, reset the Page Setup Media Size to 8 inches wide. If you cut them 8.5 inches wide, you can leave the Media Size as-is.)
8. Go to the Send tab and change the material to Chipboard. I usually cut this chipboard with Blade 5, Force 33, Speed 2, Passes 2, Line Segment Overcut enabled. Please perform a test cut first, if you are unsure.
Note: These materials of wood and chipboard will wear your blade down faster than other materials, so you may need to add an additional pass on the same material by the time you are done.
9. Place your chipboard on the mat, load it, and click Send to cut.
10. After removing the chipboard and all the leftover cutouts from the mat, place another piece of chipboard on your mat and send the job to cut again.
11. Move the clock pieces off the virtual mat, and move the gear layer onto the virtual mat.
12. Cut two of the gear layers from separate pieces of chipboard.
Step Five: Cut the Background Layer
1. In the Design tab, move everything off the virtual mat and draw a square the size of your shadowbox frame (8.0 inches by 8.0 inches).
2. Draw a small circle and resize it to 0.10 inches.
3. Select the square and tiny circle, and choose Center from the Quick Access Toolbar. Then group them together.
4. Make sure the square is positioned on the page within the cut boundaries.
5. In the Send tab, adjust the material type to “Cardstock, Textured (Heavy)” or another tested setting before sending the wood-print cardstock to cut on your mat. (Trim it down to 8.5 inches wide, if necessary, before placing it on your mat.)
Step Six: Weed the Material and Assemble the Clock
1. You’re ready to assemble the pieces when you have the following cutouts:
- Gear layer, one layer in wood and two layers in chipboard
- Clock layer, one layer in wood and two layers in chipboard
- Clock hands, one layer in wood and two layers in chipboard
- At least four small 0.5-inch rings in chipboard
- 8-inch square of backing cardstock from wood-print pattern paper
2. Weed away the inner pieces of the cut material. Here are some weeding tips for the wood sheets, which have an adhesive layer on the back side:
- Take your time. This is real wood, so it can split if you bend it too far.
- The wood is thick enough that you can generally push from behind to lift the piece you wish to remove. The larger pieces usually pop out nicely, but you may need to use a craft knife or pointed tip of a spatula tool to get some pieces started lifting from their backing.
- If you have any little remaining bits hanging on when pulling away the inner pieces, use a craft knife on a cutting mat to clean it up. If your cut settings are perfect, you won’t have much cleanup.
3. Line up and glue the matching chipboard layers together. I like to use liquid paper glue so I’ve got a little bit of wiggle room while trying to line up the layers exactly.
4. Press under a heavy book to keep them flat while drying.
5. Once the chipboard layers are dry, very carefully peel the backing off the matching wood cutout. (Flip it over and keep the wood flat while peeling away the backing.) Place the sticky wood cutout on top of the corresponding chipboard layers. The adhesive on the wood sheets is quite strong, so no extra glue is necessary.
6. Repeat with both parts of the design, along with the clock hands. Do not glue the extra rings to anything yet.
7. Place the layers under books to compress and keep them flat until you are ready to do the final assembly.
8. Assemble the final clock by laying down the background square first, and then use the center hole and outside borders to help center the walnut gear layer in place. Add adhesive under the corners when you are sure it’s centered.
9. Add the maple clock layer, making sure the XII is at the top. Use the existing layers to help center it, and add some adhesive to secure it.
10. Decide how many chipboard rings look good under each clock hand to pop it up from the page when attached with a large brad. I used three rings under the large hand and one ring under the small hand.
11. Glue the stacks of rings together and glue them to each corresponding chipboard/wood clock hand.
12. Use a large brad to secure the clock hands.
13. Place the assembled design into an 8-inch shadowbox frame.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this project! There’s so much potential for layering chipboard and these wood sheets for all kinds of detailed wooden decor!