Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Card Holder Instructions

Yesterday, I showed you the card holder I made.  Today, I'm going to tell you how I made it.

Step One (for me anyway): get the handyman in your life to show you how to make it.  I really thought I could do this by myself.  Then I started talking to my dad about it and I realized his version would look much nicer.  I probably could have done it by myself, but it would have been a hot mess.

Step Two:  Choose a size.  I decided on the length for each piece (in yellow above) and then I calculated where I would put in the screws (green) and drill the holes for the rope (pink).  The holes for my rope were drilled every inch, leaving a one inch gap at the top and bottom.

Step Three: buy and cut the wood.  I was going to buy a few pieces of wood, but then my Dad offered to give me some from his stash (he gave me some really nice wood).  Enter power tools and my new addiction.  You can get short lenghts of wood in varying sizes at your local Lowe's or Home Depot.

Step Four: drill the holes.  I started doing this with my hand drill.  After a few holes - I stopped.  It looks like I did this after 6 glasses of wine.  I mean, could they get any more crooked?  There's a story behind how this happened, but it's not worth telling.

Step Four (take two): drill the holes with a drill press.  I've used this guy before, but it's been a long time.

The drill press gave me a much straighter line of holes and guaranteed a perfectly vertical hole.

Step Five: layout the frame and mark your corners.  For example, where two pieces meet, write the same number on both pieces.  It's important to mark the corners so you put it back together correctly after drilling the pilot holes for the screws.

Step Six (part A): line up the corners.  I used this corner clamp (borrowed from my dad) to hold the wood in place while I drilled my holes.   It's hard to see in this photo, but if you look closely you can see where I wrote a #2 on each piece of wood so I can match the corners together.

Step Six (part B): pre-drill the holes.  My dad taught me a cool technique.  WARNING: if you aren't interested in making this, just skip this part.  It's going to get technical. 

To get the pieces to pull together as you tighten the screw (like Ikea furniture), the predrilled holes need to be different sizes.  The hole in piece [a] needs to be slightly smaller than the screw.  The hole in piece [b] needs to be slightly larger than the screw.  This way, when you tighten the screw it will pull piece [a] closer to piece [b].

I didn't know the size of the screw, so I used trial and error.  I tested out a few different size drill bits until I found the right sizes.

Step Seven: counter sink the holes.  This was done for a few reason.  1) It cleans up the hole and makes them look nicer.  2) it will help the rope move easily through the holes when threading.

3) It allows the screw to lay flat against the wood so nothing is sticking up.

Step Eight: Put it all together!  Once you've got your holes pre-drilled, counter sinked and ready - put in the screws and assemble the card holder.  And yes, I see the leaf on the floor.  Where did that even come from?

Step Nine: Thread the rope through the holes, pull it super tight and secure to the back with staples. Threading the rope only took a few minutes.  I stapled it to the back and pulled it several different directions so that the rope couldn't slip out.  I may or may not have gone overboard.

I used this braided mason line (other color options I saw were white, orange and yellow).

Step Ten: Hang it up and enjoy!

Because the wood my dad gave me was a very nice maple, I opted not to paint the wood.  But that's also a great option!

Can't wait to fill this baby up!


  1. I better hurry up and get a Christmas card in the mail to you so I can get my card up on that awesome board and help you fill it up!!!