How to make an over-the-cot woodland feature

This is a great fun project and doesn’t need much material.  The most difficult part of it is getting the angles right so it’s the right size to cover your cot or bed.  My dad helped me work it out by eye, but since then my husband (who is a self confessed geek) explained to me that you can do it all via trigonometry and has made a spreadsheet which should calculate all the angles you need for the size you want.  

The first steps is to measure the size you want it to be.  You need to make sure it is wide enough to cover whatever cot bed you want, and tall enough to give you enough clearance to hang any decorations you want. I use mine to hang a beautiful woodland themed mobile which I know my baby boy will love.

Once you’ve measured you heights and widths you can calculate the angles you need to cut for your pieces of wood to interlock.  The way it’s made is by having the two long pieces slot into each other.  You need to cut/chisel half out of each one, on opposite sides, so they slot into each other at the right angle.  To get this to work you’ll need to calculate the angle to get the pieces of wood to cross at.  You can either use the spreadsheet above as an initial guide (remember to double-check before cutting!) or you can do it visually.  You can lay the two pieces of wood down, measure out the height and width you need it to be and play around until you are happy with the angles, then mark the cut lines in pencil on one piece of wood using the other as a template.  Alternatively, if you have some big bits of card or some rolls of paper you can draw it out and make a cutting template that way.  The Ikea ‘MALA’ paper roll could be handy if you want to use a paper template.

Once you have measured and marked out your angles double-check everything again, then cut the wood to the right length.  Then, it’s time to make the angled cut-outs.   If you have a sliding compound miter saw you can use this to cut the angles exactly, remembering to only go half way through the wood.  If not, you can buy a mitre box, and use a clamp as a guide.  You can also do it by eye – if you do this you’ll want to use a short, stiff saw (like a tenon saw) and make sure the wood is clamped securely so you keep the angle the same.  Once you have cut the two bits of wood with the angles you need half way though, you then need to chisel out the remaining bit of the wood to make the two slots for the pieces to join up.  Do a quick check that everything is right by slotting it together loosely.

Once you have the two angled sections ready to go then give everything a very good sand.  Use sandpaper to take off any rough edges or raised sections inside the bit you have chiselled out too.  Then, do a final check that everything matches up right and fix it in place using wood glue.  Make sure to wipe off any excess before it dries.  Remember to clamp it or keep pressure on it whilst the glue dries.

Once it is dry fix it to the wall and then enjoy!

Helena x


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