Sunday, July 18, 2010

Guest Blogger - Pregnant With Power Tools - Pottery Barn Knock-off Armillary

Hi! I’m Christin from

I am so excited to be guest posting for Michelle today! She has an amazing blog, and it’s a little intimidating trying to come up with a post that’s worthy. I’m glad to have this opportunity and I hope you enjoy my projects! If you like this post, consider stopping by my blog for more…

To be honest, I have a little addiction to
making lamps, and if you need help with the electrical wiring aspect, I have a nice electrical tutorial.


Speaking of tutorials, if you like power tools, every most Mondays will find my blog introducing and discussing a power tool, its application, and tips and tricks even the practiced DIYers out there may find new and interesting!

I love décor that goes beyond the norm. Put it all together and you get the
DIY Tripod Lamp I made out of an old telescope tripod!

That may also be why I love the spherical astrolabe (or armillary).


It's scientific and functional (as a sundial), mysterious (as a model of the celestial sphere), and gorgeous (all those geometries and angles). And what's better to impress your friends than something that's unpronounceable!

Pottery Barn sells this one for $130! And that's cheap for one of these babies!

Would you like to know how to make one that looks as good as Pottery Barn's (or better, in my humble opinion) for less than $10?!?

Great! I’m so excited! Here we go...

First, here's your shopping list. All these items should be easy to find at your local craft store (Joann's, Michael's, etc.) and the thrift store.
  • 3 wooden embroidery hoops, 10" (~$1 each)
  • 1 wooden dowel, 1/8", cut to 17" long (25¢)
  • 1 craft ball, 2.5" (~$1)
  • wooden shapes: 2 hearts; 2 triangles ($4 bag of assorted shapes)
  • metal candlestick (the kind where the top screws off) from thrift store

You'll also need a drill and bits, paint-able caulk (not silicon-based) and paint. Finally, you can either use some really tiny bolts or screws to hold the rings together or you can use glue (again paint-able - not waterproof glue).

If you don't know how to use a drill, keep reading... The rest of you can skip ahead...

Okay, so you want to build this, but you're not sure about using a drill. There's no shame in that. You just don't have to let it stop you. So grab your significant others' (or sister's, dad's, neighbor's) drill and visit
Thrifty Décor Chick's Tool School for the Drill! She says it all so well it bears repeating!


OK. Let's get started!

1. Build the sphere.

All the parts of the sphere have fancy names, but I'll skip those. Use the pictures as a guide.

Take apart the embroidery hoops and use the inside ring. Place two of the rings (#1 and 2) perpendicular to each other and drill two small pilot holes through them where they are joined, then attach them together with small bolts or screws. Make the hole a little smaller then the bolt, the wood is soft and this will help hold the bolt in place.
Add the third ring (#3). Attach with bolts where it intersects with ring #1. Also drill two 1/8" holes where it intersects with ring #2; this is where the arrow will go through.

2. Make the arrow.

Make the arrowhead and tail. I used my Dremel with a cutting wheel to carefully cut into the wooden hearts and triangles. I cut them so that they would fit together and onto the dowel. If this is not your speed, an arrowhead can also be fashioned out of a bake-able clay, like Sculpey. Hold onto these parts until after the armillary is put together…

I like the look with the sphere in the middle, so I drilled a hole through a craft ball and strung it onto the dowel. You want it to be a snug fit, so don't drill too big of a hole.

3. Put it together

I passed the dowel with the ball on it through the holes in the hoops. I used caulk at all the joints to keep the ball and the dowel in place. Then I finally attached the arrowhead and tail using caulk too.


4. Attach to candlestick base.

I tilted my arrow to 38 degrees (which is the latitude where I live), you can do the same if you want it to be a functional sundial, or just tilt it the way you think looks good. Then I drilled a hole in the bottom of ring #3 where I glued and screwed the candlestick base into place.

5. Paint

I used dark bronze hammered spray paint by Rustoleum, and then dry brushed on some metallic bronze paint for a little extra shimmer (I think I could have used a lot more).

Ahhhh... it's so pretty, don't ya think? Now go make one yourself! I expect the internets to be flooded with these gorgeous beauties! There are so many ways you can personalize this! More rings, or fewer, with or without arrow or inner sphere, different bases, colors, sizes!!! I can't wait to see what you make!

The only thing wrong with this one is it's strictly an indoor item :(

Anyone want a tutorial on making a bigger, sturdier one that can be placed in the garden? Let me know in the comments and if the response is strong I'll get to work on it... but be warned, it won't be quite as easy as this one was (no welding though!)

If you haven't been by Pregnant… with power tools
before I'd love to have you. Grab some pickles and ice cream and eye candy!

I was an honor guest posting for you Michelle – and I had so much fun!

HOLY COW!!! Christin, I've seen armillaries around and around, but this knock-off is amazing! Looks just like the real thing! I'm totally impressed!!!! Pregnant...with Power Tools is full of amazing ideas and tips! I want to learn how to use power tools more often and more effectively and Pregnant...with Power Tools is the place! You definitely should pop on over there and look around. You will be impressed. And while you are there, become a follower so you can go back again and again! Go HERE.

Linking to Finding Fabulous, Romantic Home -Show and Tell Friday, Miss Mustard Seed -Furniture Feature Friday, Lit and Laundry - Finished For Friday, The Inspired Room, Remodelaholics Anonymous, Poppies At Play - Creative Cats , Crafts In Bloom, Kojo Designs - Friday Fun Finds, Fingerprints on the Fridge - Feature Yourself Friday. The Girl Creative - New Friend Friday, That's So Cuegly - Craft Concoction, Sweet Charli , Just A Girl

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  1. That is absolutely gorgeous! How much would it cost for you to make me one? :)

  2. Wow that is awesome!!! I love how it looks, great job!!

  3. SHUT UP!! That is great!! Thanks for sharing the step-by-step too!!

  4. Excellent instruction and a fabulous knock-off.

  5. i am so glad you guest posted here Christin, this is amazing, I am impressed! Just subscribed to your blog as well!

  6. Wow! Great project! Glad to see you guest posting here.

  7. I LOVE it!!!!!!! I made one out of metal banding that can go outdoors, but I like this one much better!! :)

  8. Do I love this? Oh yes, I do! Your design and creativity just blow me away and am I making one? You bet I am! Just gorgeous, really really truly.

  9. I need to pick my jaw up off the floor! This is so amazing! It might actually be attainable as well! WOW!

  10. Hi Christin. Unbelievable!!!! That is fantastic. I so wish my brain worked like that. Not in a million years would I have thought of that. I bow to you - The Can Do Queen!

    Hugs...Tracy :)

  11. I've been crushing on these for years yet could never justify buying one. This tutorial seems VERY do-able and I can't wait to try my hand at it. I couldn't tell it was made out of wood at all! Thanks so much for sharing:)

  12. Oh I love it! I would love to make a garden one!

  13. I love this!!! Your tutorial is so great! I want to make one! :)

  14. Wow, this is SO creative! I've got to do this!

  15. Oh. my. goodness! I am blown away and entirely impressed. This is so clever and neat looking. Amazing. Lisa~

  16. Thanks everyone!! I'm so glad you like it - I really wanted to do Michelle's blog justice :)

    I can't wait to see what you make!

    Nikki! I love your armillary too! Have you ever managed to find that metal banding stuff for sale?

    I'll get to work on an outdoor version, but I haven't found metal banding for sale so I'm using something else - it's a surprise!!!

    Thanks again!

  17. Christin, you amaze me with your imagination time and time again! Where's my drill...

  18. Pottery Barn is going to be so mad! What a great tutorial. I am saving this for future reference.


  19. Beeeeeautiful! LOVE it! You what's crazy is that I got two PB mags in the mail yesterday (regular home one and teen one) and was laying in bed perusing them last night. I saw that and really liked it. But $130, no way, not that much! LOL Thanks so much for sharing.

  20. LOVES IT!!!! I'd love it if you'd join my tuesday link party (tomorrow)!

  21. Wow, this is great...and you're right, it looks better than the original! GREAT job! Thanks for sharing and the tutorial!

  22. That is beautiful! I love the price tag a whole lot better too!

  23. That is so amazingly cool and very clever! I can't wait to make one! THANKS!

  24. How did she come up with that? Incredible!

  25. That is brilliant! I so want to make one!!!

  26. The creativity on blogs never stops to amaze me! This one has to be on the top of the list. Absolutely fabulous!

  27. Holy cow! How inventive & creative. I am amazed.


  28. ok wow I think I may be in love with that too much? I'm making one of these tomorrow!

  29. That is awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  30. Now this is one of the very BEST knockoffs I have seen! Way to work outside the box! And thanks so much for the tutorial!!

  31. Holy Guacamole~that looks SO GOOD! I really want to do this~thanks for the tutorial.

    What a great knockoff!

  32. Applause, applause, I'm uber impressed!

  33. You did FABULOUS!!!! Way to go girl! Looks GREAT! Thanks for joining us for another great Anything Related! ~Bridgette

  34. so happy for people like you that come out with ideas like this so i can copy you. Cant wait to try.

  35. This is pretty much the coolest thing ever! I've always loved these but never thought they'd be so simple to make!

  36. That is absolutely amazing. I have most of that stuff around my house. Including a little woman size black and decker drill. Now if I can just find it all!!!

  37. Hi Christin and Michelle! I just wanted to stop by and let you know that I linked to this post today from the new Home & Garden channel at Craft Gossip. :) My hope is to share many of the fabulous projects I see everyday with the vast CG audience. I hope you will not only stop by and subscribe to CG, but will tell your friends about the new category! Hope you see some traffic from it!

    Your feature will appear in the main Craft Gossip RSS feed, on the main home page and can be found directly here

    If you would like a "featured by" button, let me know ;)

  38. WOW! That is amazing. I really love this project!


  39. That is amazing...and so simple to make! You rocked my world!

    For your convenience: My Show n Tell Bargain Link. Hope you can visit.

  40. Wow - that is awesome Christin! You really like a good challenge don't you?!? That is some impressive DIY - congrats! Thanks for the tute!

  41. Whoa, that looks amazing! I can't believe you made that. Even after looking at the pictures.

    Thank you for participating in the Therapy Session with Life in the Pitts!

  42. That is pretty amazing. And your blog name is hilarious.

  43. I featured this today!

  44. Positively amazing transformation! Ingenious! I've always been intrigued by armillaries, and didn't even know what they were called until now.

    So happy to have found you through New Friend Fridays! Following merrily! Have a wonderful weekend! Cheers! Jenn

  45. I have seen quite a few knockoffs around, but this is the first one that made me think I would like to try. I have wanted one for a long time, but have always been too frugal to actually buy one. Now I am glad that I didn't so that I can make my own. Thanks for sharing!

  46. girl, you are a freakin' genius!! Way to rock it out! Who would have thunk it. lol

  47. Wow, this is fantastic.I am hosting a CSN Giveaway on my blog and would love for you to stop by.

  48. totally going to feature this on Monday! Thanks for linking it up!

  49. Gasping, drooling, putting eyeballs back in sockets! Wow that is great! Thanks for a great tutorial - it's awesome!

  50. Thank you all very much!

    I do like a good challenge as the projects on my blog tend to reflect, but I also try to make things that are accessible to just about everyone, so there's the whole range there I hope.

    I do hope that many of you will try to make one of these - I can't wait to see them!

    Keep craftin'
    - Christin

  51. Hi Michelle! Love this Christin did an amazing job! I featured this today! Thanks so much for joining the Sunday Showcase Party! I greatly appreciate it. Stop by and graba featured button if you like. Hope you have a wonderful week! Stephanie Lynn

  52. Stop by my blog for Pottery Barn Armillary KnockOff Too!

    I've made a metal version that you can put outside!!

  53. Brilliant!!!


  54. power tools

    Excellent read. I like your style...have a good one!/Nice blog! Keep it up!

  55. I have always loved armillarys and every time I have seen them in catalogs I was bummed I couldn't buy one. Thank you so much for posting this I can't wait to build your armillary!

  56. Love this. So pretty. An outdoor one wouldbe awesome!


Thanks for leaving a comment. I always like to know what you think of the projects I highlight!

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