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Dapper DIY: Timey-Wimey TARDIS Centerpieces!

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Shannon & Graham had a lot of fun elements at their wedding, but none more impressive than their handmade TARDIS centerpieces. Thankfully, Graham was willing to share a behind-the-scenes look at how he put the centerpieces together for anyone who might be interested in making their own. Be sure to check out the rest of the post for all of Graham’s insight into building a whole fleet of TARDISes (TARDIS’s? TARDISi?) and for a whole lot of cool photos of the project.

Before I give you the details on what went into making these, here’s what Graham had to say about the project as a whole:

Shannon was the one that came up with the idea. I didn’t know you could do that sort of thing, but I jumped on it immediately. I have a computer science background and have never really done anything like that before. But Shannon’s father and grandfather are both rather handy with these sorts of things. In part, making the centerpieces was a way to connect with them. When I approached them with our idea for the centerpieces, their first reaction was “you want a whatis for centerpieces?” But they quickly took me out to the workshop to work on the first prototype. At first there was a lot of “Don’t stick your fingers into the buzz saw” and “Don’t point the nail gun at your face.” But once we had worked out the basics for the prototype, it became my project and they where just there for support.

The project took six to eight months. It was a really busy time. I was going to school, working on a video game on the side, working enough to save for a wedding, and planning a wedding with Shannon. But the time in the shop was some of the most relaxing and fulfilling of those months, despite the constant threat of me cutting my finger off. This was something I was doing for Shannon and I, for the two of us, and that felt great.

I had no idea of what I was doing going into making the TARDISs. My advice to anyone who is starting on a similar project: Give yourself plenty of time and just get started. For me and my father in law the process sorta when like this: “What is it?” “Well its sorta a box” “Ok, lets make a box” “Yeah, but it has windows” “Ok, lets take appart this box and give it windows” and so on. By the end of it, I had covered my father-in-laws shop in blue paint.

As Graham said, he had never done any kind of project with woodworking before, and he does credit a lot of it with help from Shannon’s family. Still, if you have access to a woodshop, and a little bit of experience (or a friend or family member with some experience who can help you out), I think this is definitely a do-able project, as long as you leave yourself enough time. Also, Shannon and Graham only had TARDIS centerpieces on half of the tables and flowers on the other half, which means half as much time spent making TARDISes. Now for the details! Here is how Graham explains the basic making-of for the TARDISes.

The boxes themselves where just a few sheets of thin wood with window holes cut out with a jigsaw. Then about 1cm strips were used to create the paneling effect.

The roofs where made by gluing some 3/4 inch boards together and sending them through the table saw with the blade at an angle.

The light at the top were left over bubble blowers from my brother in law’s wedding. Basically just a clear plastic tube. About an inch of epoxy was dripped into them so that they would catch the light and seem to sparkle. The epoxy was purposely poorly stirred to create bubbles for the light to catch.

The window crossbars where just a pattern printed on a transparency. Then tissue paper was put on the outside, so when the lights are on in the inside it glows nicely.

The inside is covered in tinfoil so that the light reflects. Dolar store LEDs are the main light. Then two tea-light leds are attached to the roof to give a flickering effect.

Check out the photos below for a look at the steps of the process. It’s also cool to see how big these were in comparison to the paint can in the third photo.

Thank you Graham for sharing this with us! It’s definitely awesome to see behind-the-scenes of an amazing DIY like this, and it can be a very helpful resource for people looking to do something similar.  If you have any questions for Graham about specifics, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to ask him for you. Also, if you have a super cool “Dapper DIY” from your own wedding that you’d like to share, please feel free to contact me about featuring it.

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