If you’re into creative DIY and designer furniture, don’t miss this step by step guide. Thanks to this, you’ll learn how to make a piece of furniture that doubles as a sculpture, based on a design by Sebastián Errázuriz. Wow your friends with its dynamism and uniqueness. Are you up for the challenge?
Sebastián Errázuriz is an artist and designer who creates functional sculptures. His work “Wave Cabinet” is a unit with storage space, notable for the multiple ways it can be opened up. Each individual strip of wood that makes up the cabinet pulls on the next, creating a delightful paper fan effect.
At ManoMano we have thoroughly studied how this piece of furniture works, to create a version that you can make for yourself with the usual tools to be found in a DIYers toolkit. To make it, we have decreased the size of the original work and simplified the design as far as possible, while maintaining its attractiveness.
Tools and materials
- These are the tools and materials you will need to make this designer sculptural furniture:
- Mitre saw
- Drill/ screwdriver
- Manual screwdriver
- Screw clamps
- Circular saw
- 30 planks of spruce measuring 200 × 2.1 × 2.1cm
- A plank of wood measuring 200 × 6.8 × 2.1cm
- A plank of wood measuring 100 × 6.8 × 6.8cm
- A spruce panel measuring 80 × 40 × 1.8cm
- A plywood panel measuring 120 × 40 × 1.5cm
- 2 round steel rods measuring 100 × 0.6cm
- Steel plate measuring 100 × 1cm
- Flat washers
- Neodymium magnets
- Coach screws
- Wooden dowels
- Cyanacrylate adhesive
- White glue
- Furniture paint
Cost, duration and difficulty
If you already have some of the tools needed, the approximate price of the materials will come in at around £120. This is a much cheaper price than what you would pay to buy such a piece, which can easily exceed £1000. Via the following link you can see a mock-up shopping basket by ManoMano. Included in this are several of the tools and materials used here.
On a different note, this DIY project has a high difficulty rating. It is ideal for expert DIYers who want to take their skills a step further and create furniture with an artistic flair.
Lastly, to build this sculptural cabinet you will need to set aside several days, because of the numerous pieces to cut and assemble. You will also probably have to readjust them once cut and assembled, because making them manually is less precise than with industrial machinery.
How to make your own sculptural furniture – step by step
Our own take on Sebastián Errázuriz’ concept is designed to adapt to a medium sized home. You should keep in mind, however, that this type of furniture needs free space to be opened both from the front and the back. That’s why it makes the perfect coffee table or side table for your living room. It also works great in a child’s room, because it stimulates children’s psychomotricity as they slide the planks that form the cabinet around.
Step 1 – Cut the planks
Firstly, cut the planks of spruce wood to make the front, back and top of the table. To do this, use a mitre saw or a handsaw and mitre box. The parts needed are:
- 33 planks measuring 38cm long for the top
- 66 planks measuring 39.5cm for the front and back
- 1 plank measuring 74cm long which will act as a stopper for the planks at the front of the cabinet
Step 2- Drill and cut the planks for the front of the cabinet
The next step is to make a hole in each plank from the front of the unit. To do so, mark the centre of one end of the plank, and drill the hole using a 6mm drill bit. One option to make this task easier is to use a drill support.
Once the holes are drilled, follow these steps for each plank.
- With the router and a 6mm cutter, make a 1cm long and deep horizontal groove or channel, at a distance of 7.5cm from the edge of the plank. This groove should be made on the same face that has previously been drilled.
- On the other side of the plank, and right in the centre of the groove, make a hole to 1cm deep using the router. Next, add some glue and a wooden dowel that will stick out to 1cm, then cut off any extra if necessary.
- At the opposite end from the drilled hole, use the router to make a hole a few millimetres deep, to insert the magnet into. Repeat these steps on the side that has not been drilled, and at 4cm from the other end. To attach the magnets, use cyanoacrylate glue.
So to sum up, when you’ve completed all of these steps, each plank from the front of the unit will have a magnet on the top and another on one side, as well as a wooden dowel in the drilled hole and a groove on the other side.
Step 3 – Cut and route the planks for the back and top of the cabinet
The planks that form the back and top of the unit are connected with a wooden bracket, but first you need to complete these steps:
- Drill holes in the planks for the back of the cabinet in the same way as you did for the front.
- On the planks for the top, make a 4cm long groove with a cutter measuring 6mm diameter, at a distance of 1cm from the end. This groove or channel should also be 1cm deep.
- In the centre of the groove and on the other side of the plank, make a hole 1cm deep. Then, add glue and insert a wooden dowel, which should stick out 1cm.
- At the other end of the plank and on one of the surfaces that has not been given a groove, screw in a screw that lines up with the magnet on the planks from the front, once they are assembled together.
Step 4 – Join the back planks to the top ones
So that the back planks move when the top planks are lifted, they need to be joined together. To do this, use some wooden brackets which you need to cut in advance using the mitre saw.
Step 5 – Insert the steel rod and the washers
The next step is to insert the front and back planks onto the steel rod. Between each plank it’s a good idea to add a flat washer, allowing individual planks to move more smoothly. Meanwhile, bear in mind that each dowel should line up with the groove on the next plank, and may need to be readjusted.
Lastly, use the grinder to cut off the remainder of the steel rod, leaving a centimetre extra at each end.
Step 6 – Make the base of the cabinet
To create the base of the unit, cut the spruce wood panel using the circular saw. In our case, we needed a panel measuring 74×33.5cm to fit the inside of the unit.
Next, cut the steel strip using the grinder and attach using mounting glue. Note that we used a grinder stand to make this easier to do.
Step 7 – Cut and drill holes in the sides of the unit
The next step is to cut the sides of the unit. In our case, we used two plywood panels measuring 40 × 45cm each.
Then use the router to make 1cm deep holes in which to insert the ends of the steel rod, as well as the wooden dowels from the top and front planks.
Step 8 – Make the legs
To make the legs, use the mitre saw to cut 4 planks measuring 16cm long to an angle of 15º. This style of leg gives the designer cabinet a stylish, modern look.
Step 9 – Assemble the base, sides and legs
Once the base, sides and legs are ready, you can complete assembly of the cabinet. To do so, follow these steps:
- Position the wooden base so that the steel strip lines up with the magnets on the front planks. Bear in mind that the base should be a couple of centimetres above the lower edge of the planks. This gives the planks the space needed to pivot.
- Screw the plywood side panels on to the base, with the ends of the steel rod inserted in the previously made holes.
- Screw the legs on to the base from the inside of the unit.
- Attach the 74cm long plank at the front to act as a stopper for the other planks, preventing them from pivoting more than 90º inside the unit.
Step 10 – Paint the sides
The final step is to add some colour to the cabinet. Although in general we wanted to preserve its natural look, we painted the sides in pastel shades and with a geometric design.
Finally, once you’ve completed all of the steps above, your cabinet will be complete, ready to delight your friends and family.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this project to make your own designer sculptural furniture. With DIY, you can furnish your entire home with a style and personality that costs much less than expected! Want to give it a go? Checck out our other tutorials below: