Do you ever sit on a really comfortable couch and fall asleep? As you drift and daydream, do you think about how that chair is made?
Whether you think about it or not, all the furniture pieces in your house, at school, and in your town or city were designed and built for different purposes. The couch on which you take a snooze is made for comfort, while the wooden chair at school was purposely designed to be uncomfortable, so that you won’t fall asleep in class!
My name is David, I’m 17 years old, and I make my own furniture out of interesting materials like traffic signs. I like thinking about the furniture around me, and how to make it even more comfortable or useful.
I had never really thought about 'making' furniture until my sister gave me some old street signs that she had purchased at a flea market a while ago. It got my creative juices flowing and I decided to give it a try.
Fortunately, I also go to a high school that has a workshop where I can take my crazy ideas and build them into real objects. But the truth is, everyone can make their own furniture with a little creativity, materials and tools.
The first and most important step to make something is to design it. Get a paper, a pencil, and start thinking about something you could make. Close your eyes and visualize the pieces coming together to make your idea. Then try and draw all parts of it on paper, so that you have a full image. Don’t get too crazy with the design, otherwise it will be impossible to make! Since you will be using simple tools, you need to keep it simple.
Now try to imagine how your design will look in “3D.” This step will help you think through how to build it. Let’s say your design was a square piece of furniture, that was high enough to be used as a stool and maybe even have a secret compartment. Start by creating a paper model, using just paper and glue.
After making a model it’s time to put your idea to test: “can it be built with real materials?” At this point, I usually have a grownup or teacher take a look at my design and model. They either say, “This is awesome. You should make this!” or “It’s a great idea, but it may be too complicated to make.” If it needs to be simplified, I don’t give up. Sometimes it just needs a few changes to be ready to build.
The next step is to think about what material to use - Wood, metal, glass and recycled materials like traffic signs or old drawers are all great options.
But how does it all fit together to make your idea? Well, there are “fasteners” that work like glue. These include nails, rivets, and screws.You’ll also need tools, like hammers, big rulers, and drills
However, tools can be very dangerous, so you’ll need protection for your eyes (goggles) and an adult supervisor to make sure you are using it correctly.
It’s also fun to work with a friend and/or family member. Not only can you work faster, but you may also get ideas from them and it may turn into a bigger project. After I am done building, I like to paint my masterpiece.
It’s always cool to look back at the original design and compare it to the finished product. It shows that with planning and patience, I can make something. No matter how difficult it seems at first, you can always find a way to make your idea work!
I hope you take up my challenge and make your very own piece of furniture. Start designing and one of your ideas is bound to become a great piece of furniture and a work of art. If you have any questions you can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to help you out.
David Joseph-Goteiner is a junior at recycled materials in his projects. in . He uses the metal shop at his school to create furniture, and often uses