By Paul Bielaczyc
Want a nice way to properly display your Heron Mark Blade on the wall… and all the other swords in your collection? This step-by-step guide will show you how to make a magnetic sword mount using some basic products from your local hardware store… and a little bit of time, which most of us all have plenty of right now!
You’ll have to excuse some of the photos. Many of them were taken after the project was complete, not during the construction of my original project. And during these crazy times, I didn’t want to go to Home Depot to buy more.
Below is the list of tools that I used for this project. However, I will also list non-power tool alternatives in case you don’t have access to some of the ones I used.
- Miter saw (alternative: miter box with hand saw)
- Router (alternative: wood chisel)
- Brad nail gun (hammer and brads)
- Dremel with various bits (alternative: keyhole hangers)
- Clamps (might not be necessary)
- Sandpaper (200-300 grit)
Step 1: Cut and Mark the Trim Board
First board cut
Cut the 1”x8” board down to 24”. I recommend cutting both edges, as the raw edge from the store can be very rough and almost impossible to sand. You will want both ends to have a nice, smooth surface for staining. I recommend cutting off a thin sliver of wood from one end, and then cut the other end at 24”. Use some sandpaper to clean up any splinters from the bottom edge of the wood (seen in the photo below).
Rough board, pre-sanding
Smooth board, after sanding
Line up the molding.
Cut 1 piece of moulding at approximately 25 inches in length. Laying this along each edge of the poplar trim board, mark a line for the inside edge of the moulding. Using these 4 lines, position the magnetic holder on the board, and mark the areas that will need to be recessed in Step 3 so that the length of the magnetic bar will lay flush against the poplar.
After cutting, the Poplar should now be approximately 7.25” by 24”.
Step 2: Cut the Moulding
Using your miter saw or miter box, make the first 45-degree angle cut in the moulding.
First 45-degree angle cut in the molding
After carefully measuring and marking based on the length and width of your 1”x 8” board, proceed to cut 45-degree angles in alternate directions, until you have 4 trapezoid-shaped pieces of moulding. Make sure the narrower edge for each piece of trim is along the same edge of the trim. (After making all these cuts, you should be left with a bunch of small triangular scraps since the 45-degree angle cuts have to be alternated.)
Trapezoid-shaped pieces of moulding
Clean up any splinters and rough edges with some sandpaper, sanding in the direction of the grain (always!).
Even with a good miter saw, the 4 boards might not perfectly form a tight rectangle, but that’s okay, that’s why we have wood putty.
Step 3: Mount the Magnetic Holder
Before we mount the angled trim from Step 2 to the board, we need to prep and mount the holder to the board. Take a strip of black electrical tape, and cover the ugly yellow tape that is on the magnetic holder. This way your swords and the trim are the focal point of the sword mount, not a gaudy yellow band.
Magnetic strip covered.
Now we need to carve out the 2 recessed areas so the magnetic holder will mount flush to the board. I used a handheld Ryobi router, but not everyone has one of those available. A simple wood chisel set should suffice. Remember that it is okay if the recessed areas are larger or slightly deeper than necessary, that will be mostly covered up by the moulding anyway.
Start of routing out the magnetic holder.
After you are done routing (or chiseling), position the magnetic holder on the board. Use a piece of trim cut in Step 2 to ensure that the tabs are countersunk such that they don’t prevent the moulding from sitting flush to the poplar. Also make sure that the magnetic holder isn’t crossing any of our marks from Step 1.
Once this is verified, mount the magnetic holder using 2 flat head screws.
And finally, one last time, take a piece of trim and ensure that the screws don’t prevent the top piece of moulding from resting flush against the board.
Step 4: Mount the Trim
Now that we have mounted the holder to the board, it is now time to mount our 4 angled trim boards. Using a liberal amount of wood glue, adhere the 4 boards in position on the 1”x8” Poplar. At this point, we are only using glue so that we can adjust and reposition the moulding to get the tightest joints possible.
Position the moulding with just glue.
Once we have the 4 pieces aligned as best as possible, carefully use your brad nailer (or old-school hammer) to tack each board in place. I suggest shooting a single brad closer to the end of one of the shorter boards. Make sure the boards are all still in alignment, and then shoot a second nail at the other end. If using the Moulding I suggested, aim for the little dots or any recessed line in the pattern to help hide the divots created by the brads.
Design elements for screw placement.
Double check the alignment of the boards after securing the first piece of trim, and shoot the first brad into one of the adjacent longer trim boards. Check alignment, and shoot the second brad at the opposite end. Continue doing this for all 4 boards, making sure to check alignment at each step!! This helps ensure that you don’t get to the 4th corner to find all your boards are horribly out of whack!
Note: It is better to play with and align the 4 boards all at once like what is described up above, than to align each corner with a perfect snug fit individually. One way will get you 4 pretty good corner alignments. The other will get you 3 great alignments, and one pretty ugly one. Trust me, even with an awesome miter saw that can assist with those 45-degree angle cuts, they probably aren’t going to be perfect, and thus you won’t have a perfect alignment on all 4 corners.
As you can see in this photo, I assumed my cuts were going to be perfect, and when I got to the 4th corner the gap was pretty obvious and required a good amount of wood putty to fill.
Alignment of corners.
Step 5: Prep the surface
Now that the trim is mounted to the poplar, it is time to do any necessary clean-up to the raw wood before we can paint/stain.
- First thing, clean up any wood glue along the seams that might have oozed out when the boards were nailed together. A damp paper towel works fine.
- Second, if anything doesn’t look like a tight fit, you can use a variety of clamps to press the boards together snugly. If you do use clamps, you will probably need to wipe off any excess glue again. If if didn’t squeeze out before, once clamped, it will!
- If you do need to clamp the boards together, set it aside for about 2-4 hours (read the instructions on your particular wood glue for working time).
- The next step is to fill any voids using wood putty. Make sure your putty is stainable, not all wood putty is! I prefer to use wood based products found online instead of the DAP plastic wood options found at Home Depot. The smell and Prop 65 warnings are a little scary on plastic wood. Use the wood putty to fill in any gaps in the corner joints, or in any gaps between the trim and 1”x8” Poplar board.
- Set the project aside depending on the working time for the particular putty product used. When it’s time, come back with some high grit sandpaper and clean up and smooth any areas that required putty. Also go ahead and sand the entire surface and sides that will be stained just to clean up any rough patches.
Step 6: Staining and Painting
Follow the directions on the stain, and apply the stain to the front and sides of the project. Try to avoid getting any stain on the magnetic holder, as it will leave a sticky residue on the metal.
Typically after applying stain, you will leave it on the surface for a few minutes and then wipe it down with a paper towel or rag. When wiping, try to wipe perpendicular to any grooves in the moulding (grooves highlighted in green). This technique will wipe more stain from the raised areas of the wood, while leaving more in the grooves, resulting in darker recesses.
More stain will remain in the recessed areas.
After the stain is dry, use some inexpensive black, acrylic craft paint to paint any of the recessed areas near the magnet that are not stained. Unlike stain, if you accidentally get some acrylic paint on the magnet, acrylic paint will dry and can be easily scrapped off, instead of being a sticky mess!
Black paint to hide missed stained areas.
After staining the sword mount, I like to leave the project in an out of a way place for a few days to allow the stain to off-gas and fully dry. A covered back porch or a basement both work well.
Step 7: Cutting a Keyhole Slot
We want our sword mount to be flush against the wall. First this looks very clean and professional, but a flush mount is also more secure as the mount is more solidly resting against the wall behind it.
There are a few options for making these keyhole slots:
- They make a keyhole router bit for routers and Dremels. This option is pretty self explanatory; follow the directions that come with the bit.
- You can use a drill, a Dremel, and a few more common Dremel bits to achieve the same effect. You will need a larger drill bit, a smaller drill bit, a Dremel cutter bit, and a Dremel straight router bit.
Needed Dremel bits:
- Drill a large hole with the larger drill bit.
- Drill a second hole with the smaller drill bit approximately .5 inches above the larger hole.
- Use the straight router bit to connect the 2 holes along their centers.
- Finally, lower the cutter bit into the larger hole, and follow the same line as above. This will create a groove for the screw head to slide along.
- Lastly, if you don’t have access to a router or Dremel, you can use something like this piece of hardware to achieve the same effect using only a chisel (I think).
Step 8: Mounting to the Wall
Most likely you will not have wall studs directly behind where you cut the keyhole slots. Even if you space the 2 keyhole slots 16” apart, to center your sword mount, they probably will not align with hidden studs. But that is fine. That is why they make some truly incredible drywall anchors. These are my personal favorite. Rather than drilling a hole and tapping them into place, they are self drilling, and stop once they are flush with the surface of the wall.
Once you shoot the screws into the anchors, they split open and lock the anchor into place. You can also play with the depth of the screws in the anchor to ensure a nice snug fit between the wall and the sword mount. Some other types of drywall anchors don’t give you the flexibility to adjust the depth of the screws, another reason that I prefer these.
Step 9: Mount the Swords
Now it’s time to hang your collection on the wall.
A few things to keep in mind to avoid injury or a scary crash in the middle of the night.
- If you used the recommended magnetic holder, it should have no problem holding the weight of most swords, allowing you some play in positioning them higher or lower on the mount.**
- If you use a weaker magnet, the cross guards might have to rest on the upper lip of the wood. This can severely limit the space on the mount, which is why I suggest the holder that I listed up above.
**No matter what, this is IMPORTANT… you want to make sure that the weight of the portion of the sword above the magnet is about equal to the weight below it. If you attach the swords too high so that the swords are top heavy, a good door slam, or any vibration really, can cause the imbalanced sword to pivot like a pendulum with the magnet working like an axle. As it swings, it will most likely knock the others swords around, or off the wall, stabbing anything and everything around. I speak from personal experience. I had to patch a 2 inch gash in the drywall (and put on a clean pair underwear!) after hearing a frightening crash about 10 minutes after proudly hanging the swords on the wall.
Finished Sword Mount
While reading Skyward by Brandon Sanderson, I fell in love with many of the characters. Spensa and Skyward Flight are fun worth spending time with, if you have not read the book already. The non-human characters became my absolute favorites. After Isaac Stewart created an amazingly cute depiction of Doomslug, I had to create one for myself. The little yellow and blue space slug can pull at you with her gentle fluting. This November, readers find out more about Doomslug in Starsight. In support, I thought others might enjoy creating their own space slugs.
My mission was to create a slug pattern to create a cuddly Doomslug that mimics Stewart’s design. After some experiments with dart lines, curves, and other sewing tricks, I hit upon the proper shape to mimic Stewart’s rather rounded artwork rather than using a pattern that looks like an Earth slug (footnote 1).
Making your own space slug requires a handful of tools and a moderate skill level at sewing. The included pattern and instructions will walk you through the process.
- ½ yard of primary material
- ½ yard of accent material
- ½ yard of fusible interfacing medium weight
- Spools of thread of matching colors
- Cotton or polyester stuffing
- Black fabric material for eyes
- Black and white embroidery thread
- Sewing machine
- Sewing pins
- Walking Foot for your sewing machine – Highly recommended.
- Roller cutting blade
- Metal ruler/flat edge
- 1/8 yard Double sided interfacing for eyes
More Optional supplies for an internal weighted pouch:
Reason – This gives the slug more heft and allows it to balance on its own better.
- ¼ yard of third cotton material
- Poly-fil pellets – up to 1 pound
- Cotton or polyester batting
Note on Material:
Any material can be used to create your space slug: cotton, fleece, flannel, velveteen, etc. When working with the thicker sections, a walking foot will save you a number of headaches. If your fabric has a nap, including velvet or micro fleece, it’s best to cut your pattern pieces one layer at a time. Double check that the nap direction is the one you want. Ideally the nap will flow smoothly from the front to the back. If you plan to use velvet, please read this helpful tutorial before cutting your pattern pieces.
I bought a bright polyester velvet for many of my space slug creations. The one shown with straight spines was made with pure plush fleece, which is incredibly soft.
The pattern is printed on three pages of 11”x17″.
It will create a slug approximately: 6” tall x 13” long x 16” around.
Scale up or down to change the size of the slug. The ruffle and spines pattern need to be altered less, they are fine for a 15% +/- in size change. Brandon Sanderson said my original design was “just a tad too big.” The original design was 10% larger, creating a slug: 8” tall x 15” long x 20” around.
Lay out the Body Pattern pieces on the main fabric. Match the nap of your fabric if applicable.
Cut matching pieces on interfacing as well. The second cut should be a mirror to the first.
Body Pattern pieces are:
Mirror of the pattern pieces 1D.
- Body Side (1A) – cut 2
- Body Base (1B) – cut 1
- Face piece (1C) – cut 1
- Top curve (1D) – cut 2
- Top side (1E) – cut 2
- Head Top (1F) – cut 1
- Eye (1G) – cut 2
Accent Pattern pieces cut on accent fabric:
Body Ruffle (2A) – cut 1 – Cut on a double fold – Needs to be at least 40″ to go around the body with extra gathering. For a fuller ruffle, cut a longer piece or sew two pieces together.
Spines (2B) – cut 4 – Zig-zag spines should be cut on a double fold – Need to be between 50″ to 60″ to have enough length for deep loops.
Internal pouch – no pattern, no interfacing – simply cut a rectangle 20” long by 4” wide.
Note: The accent pieces are all long rectangles. It’s easiest to square up your fabric on a self-healing mat. Cut in strips with the help of a straight edge and using a roller blade cutter.
Before you start making your space slug, you need to decide which style you are going to make. Besides fabric choice, each creator chooses the style of eyes and spines they want to make. For the eyes, pick if you want to use fabric eyes or if you will embroider them.
The spines are the harder choice, and often driven by your fabric choice. Thicker fleece will be very difficult to turn into the zig-zag loops.
Spine option 1: Zig-zags – Requires more material and more sewing skills. Your spine strips will each need to be between 50” to 60” in length. Thus the “cut on the fold” note for the pattern could represent a double fold. This design better mimics the official Doomslug design, but are not true spines.
Option 2: Straight Tubes – Requires the spine stripes to be the length of the slug’s body, about 14” each, if you don’t resize the pattern. These are much easier and quicker to attach.
Two different spine designs. Opt. 1 – Zig-zag (right) and Opt. 2 – Straight (left)
Body pieces have a seam allowance of ⅜”
The full sewing directions with helpful images are found here and can be printed easily.
The basic sewing order of operations are:
- Sew the spine tubes together – four of 2B
- Sew the Ruffle – one of 2A
- Iron the interfacing to all the body parts – 1A to 1F.
- Pick the type of eyes you want to create. Attach or sew them onto the face piece 1C.
- Sew the lower body together: 1A (2 pieces), 1B, and 1C
- Sew the ruffle 2A onto the lower body piece.
- Pin the Spines 2B to first 1D for each side.
- Lay 1E on top of the spines, sew together.
- Attach a Spine 2B to Half of 1F.
- Attach 1F to one side of the top body.
- Layout and attach the Spines to the joined 1F and 1E piece.
- Attach the other side of the body to finish the top half of the slug.
- To attach the two halves together – Right sides of fabric together, line up the center of the piece 1F to the face 1C. Pin around the body. Be sure to leave an opening at the back or on a lower side for turning the body right side out.
- Create the internal weighted pouch by sewing a simple pouch.
- Fill with poly-fil beads, then sew closed.
- Wrap pouch with batting, stuff into the slug body.
- Use cotton or poly fiberfil to stuff the slug body to the density you wish.
- Sew the opening closed. I hand-stitch mine.
Bottom and top half of the space slug body before joining them together.
Enjoy taking your space slug on adventures!
Brandon Sanderson with Doomslug at DragonCon
Gathering of Doomslugs at DragonCon, 2019.
If you make a space slug, please share your creation with me, Deana Whitney, either by emailing me at Workshop@jordancon.org, sharing it on Instagram at JordanConInc or Doomslug_Adventures, or showing it directly to Isaac Stewart at Izykstewart.
Note: This Space slug pattern is for fun and personal use only. You may not use this pattern to create a for-profit item. Deana Whitney is the creator and owner of the sewing pattern. Copyright of Doomslug is held by Dragonsteel Entertainment, Inc.
All photos copyright by Deana Whitney, 2019.
My first version of Doomslug was made for the signing party, but it looked like an earth slug. To create it, I enlarged the Delilah Iris by 200% to create a 8” long slug. The back spines are a rectangle piece accordion folded, whipped stitched closed, attached to the back piece, then cut in random spikes. The bottom ruffle was another enlargement of the base pattern piece.
Slugs from the Delilah Iris pattern.
Each year at JordanCon, the Workshops track strives to present a variety of classes. In 2019, we explored skills like glass cutting with a master, to the basics of 3D printing, to learning about Medieval Irish garb. Because what we offer is driven by what our attendees want to learn, and what attendees and guests are willing to teach; we need to know what interests you.
The new Workshops co-chair, Amelie Downing, and I want to know what new skills, hobbies, or techniques you want to learn at JordanCon 2020 and beyond. There is a wide-ranging list of previous suggestions, including dance classes, fiber arts, and make-up application tricks for you to peruse. Click on everything that interests you. If there is a class you want that isn’t listed, or if you are willing to teach a workshop, there are selections in the poll for that as well.
It is important for us to keep the classes accessible to as many people as possible while also offering complex concepts and tangible creations, so please give us feedback about workshop fees and sign-up policies. Now is your chance to let us know what you think and what classes you would like offered!
Click on the poll link here.
If you have any questions about the poll or the Workshop Track in general, please reach out to us via our email: workshop at Jordanco.org
JordanCon 2020 – Age of Legends
JordanCon Workshops is happy to make our first announcement for the 2019 schedule.
On Friday, April 26 from 4 – 6 p.m., and again on Sunday, April 28 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m./noon, students can learn to make their own glass windows. Each class is independent, and students must commit to the full two-hour time frame.
Leia Powell has made stained glass dragons and fairies fly for sale at JordanCon for years. This year, the master stained glass artisan and JordanCon regular will teach 24 students the skills they need to learn the art of glass cutting. She’ll also provide the necessary tools.
Students will choose one of 11 offered patterns to make. Five of these patterns are Wheel of Time-inspired and are prepared exclusively for JordanCon attendees. Students will leave the class with a completed 9 ½” by 8 ½” piece to take home and hang up! This workshop is two hours long. The $100 fee includes a student kit with all the tools and glass for the class. The tools and extra glass belong to the students to take home.
Class Design Options:
WoT Themed: Aes Sedai, Ajah Wave, Perrin & Hopper, Mat’s Hat, Rand’s Blade
Not Themed: Abstract, Butterfly, Celestial, Cross, Dragonfly, Iris
Choice of 9 patterns for the glass Workshop
Seating is limited to 12 pre-registered students per workshop, a waiver must be signed, and Band-aids will be provided. One alternate student will be assigned to each class in the event that a pre-registered student has to cancel.
Physical requirements: Students will be working with their hands and are expected to stand for most of the class. Those unable to do so, due to arthritis or back/neck issues, should refrain from signing up.
Scheduling note: The rest of the JordanCon schedule will not be posted for some months, so you do risk “missing something cool”, by making this class your priority. Note the Sunday class will be over before Art Show pick-up begins. Expect both workshops to fill up.
Student Kit Includes:
1 waiver form; 1 pattern; 1 straight cutter with breaking ball; 1 pistol-grip cutter; 1 Grozier pliers; 1 running pliers; 1 Band-aid; 1 Sharpie Marker; 1 badge ribbon ;1 tube E-6000 glue; clear practice glass selection of glass to produce final piece: an 9 ½” x 8 ½” zinc framed piece of clear glass with hanging wire attached
Payment and Registration Details:
UPDATE – As of Wednesday, Nov. 13th, 2018, both sessions are sold out. Spots sold out in 48 hours.
You may contact Leigh to be put on the alternative waiting list, in case someone is not able to attend. Or to find out what other cons she might be teaching the class.
Registration will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Payments for the workshop are made directly to Leia Powell. JordanCon is not responsible for collecting any fees associated with this workshop.
Payment of $100 per project will be made via Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please Include in the PayPal Memo: Your desired class session (Friday or Sunday), pattern, and three colors you would like incorporated into the finished window.
Very sorry, no refunds, so if you don’t think you can make the class, please don’t register.
Class time Options: Friday 4 – 6 p.m. / Sunday 10 a.m. – 12 p.m./noon
Leia will keep the list of pre-registered students updated on the JordanCon Facebook page as the classes fill up and are sold out. Once all slots are filled, a student list will be provided to the JordanCon Workshop Director.
One alternate may sign up per class without payment in the event a student has to cancel. They will need to pay their registration fee at the class and will produce whatever piece the student chose that canceled.
If you have questions about the JordanCon Workshops in general, please reach out to Deana Whitney at email@example.com.
For you questions about the class cutting workshop, please reach out directly to Leia Powell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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