Childs Toy Pendulum Cradle
SPECIAL OFFER: - Limited Time Only!
(The ad below will not display on your printed page)

Wood Magazine

Childs Toy Pendulum Cradle

We scaled this playroom piece to comfortably fit popular dolls around 18" tall.

Doll Cradle
Girl with cradle
Enlarge Image
 
Fashioning the cradle from cherry,
gives it a warm and traditional look.
Making it from pine, and painting it
a color of your choice, lends a
more casual appearance as
shown in photo below.
Cradle with doll
Enlarge Image
 

Doll Cradle

Here's a project that really rocks--both functionally and in the eyes of the lucky recipient. Besides that, you'll find this project a pure joy to build with its simple joinery and full-size patterns included for forming the gently curved profiles on parts. And whether you make it with cherry or pine, as we did, children will find its 6 1/2 pounds easy to tote from place to place.

As a convenience to allow you to view this free woodworking plan before downloading it, we now offer a page-by-page review. If you like the plan, you'll find a Click here for a free downloadable plan link on the last page of the plan. The downloadable plan will have larger, easier to view illustrations than the online preview.

Need help downloading plans? For step-by-step instructions, use the link below.


 

Shape the Parts
Marking template with pen
Enlarge Image
 
Use the template to mark the profile
on one face of the sides (B) along
the top edge at each end. Use a
straightedge to draw a line
connecting the profiles.

Shape the Parts

First up: the cradle parts
  1. Edge-join enough 3/4"-thick stock to form an 11x27" blank for the ends (A). Then, plane the blank to 1/2" thick, and crosscut it to form two 11 x 13" blanks.
  2. From 1/4" hardboard, cut an 11 x 13" blank to form a template for the end pieces. Make two photocopies of the end full-size half-pattern in the Free Downloadable Plans. Trim the patterns to shape. Turn one half-pattern over, and align and tape it to the other half-pattern to make a complete end pattern. Using a nail or an awl, punch a small hole through the pattern at the centerpoints for the four 3/8" counterbores and for the 3/4" hole at the top. Adhere the pattern to the template with spray adhesive. Bandsaw and sand the template to shape. Then, drill 1/8" holes through the template at the punched-hole locations.
  3. Place the template on the outside face of one of the 11x13" blanks with the bottom edges aligned, and transfer the shape to the blank. Also, insert a nail or an awl into each of the 1/8" holes in the template and mark the hole centerpoints on the blank. Now, mark the other blank.

 

Shape the Parts Continued
Drawing of entire cradle
Enlarge Image
 
Bench with table saw
Enlarge Image
 
Marking template with pen
Enlarge Image
 
Use the template to mark the profile
on one face of the sides (B) along
the top edge at each end. Use a
straightedge to draw a line
connecting the profiles.

Shape the Parts Continued

4 Bandsaw and sand the blanks to shape. Using a 3/4" Forstner bit and centering it on the marked hole location at the top of each blank, drill a 1/4"-deep hole to receive the cradle dowel. Now, rout 1/8" round-overs on all edges except the bottom, where shown on Drawing 1, and sand the routed edges smooth. You'll drill the 3/8" counterbores later.

5 Cut the sides (B) to the size listed in the Materials List. Referring to Drawings 1 and 1a, bevel-rip a 1/4" groove 1/4" deep and 1/4" from the bottom of each side piece on its inside face to receive the bottom (C). Then, bevel-rip a 15° angle along the bottom edge of both pieces, where shown.

6 From 1/4" hardboard, cut a 2 1/2x5" blank to form a profile template. You'll use it to mark the profile on the sides (B), and later the supports (E) and the stretcher (G). Make a photocopy of the full-size profile pattern in the Free Downloadable Plan. Adhere the pattern to the hardboard with spray adhesive. Bandsaw and sand the template to shape. Then, drill a 1/8" marking hole through the template where shown on the pattern.

7 Refer to Drawing 1 for the location of the profile on the sides (B). Then, using the profile template, mark the profile on the side pieces, as shown in photo. Bandsaw and sand to the marked lines on each piece. Rout 1/8" round-overs along the top edges, where shown.

8 From 1/4" hardwood plywood, cut the bottom (C) to size. Now, finish-sand the ends, sides, and bottom to 220 grit.


 

Assemble the Pieces
Clamping end while drilling
Enlarge Image
 
Position the sides (B) 1/4" back from
the edges of the ends (A) by placing
1/4"-thick spacers between the
clamp's bar and the sides at
both ends.

Assemble the Pieces

Assemble the cradle
  1. From a 3/4"-diameter dowel, cut two pieces 1 1/4" long. Glue a dowel into the top hole in each end piece (A).
  2. Dry-assemble (no glue) the end pieces, the sides (B), and the bottom (C), as shown in photo. Using a 3/8" Forstner bit, drill counterbores 1/4" deep at the marked locations on the ends (A). Drill pilot and countersunk shank holes centered in the counterbores, where shown on Drawing 1. Then, drive in the screws.
  3. Using a 3/8" plug cutter, cut 12 plugs 3/8" long from leftover material. (Match wood color and grain if you plan to stain your project. For best appearance, align the plugs' grain with that of the surrounding wood.) Set four plugs aside. Glue the remaining plugs in the counterbores. With the glue dry (it's best to let it dry overnight), sand the plugs flush.

 

Now for the Frame
Drawing marked with F
Enlarge Image
 
Marking template with pen
Enlarge Image
 
With the profile template positioned
on the inside face of a support (E)
and aligned with the rabbet's top
edge,mark the profile on the
support.

Now for the Frame

Make the support frame
  1. From 1/2"-thick stock, use a circle cutter to cut two 1 1/2"-diameter discs for the spacers (D). Clamp a disc, with a backer board underneath, in a handscrew or drill-press vise. Centering on the circle cutter's pilot hole, drill a 3/4" hole through the spacer. Repeat for the other spacer. Then, sand the spacers and set them aside.
  2. Cut the supports (E), feet (F), and stretcher (G) to size. Cut a 2" dado 3/8" deep on the outside face of the feet and a mating 1 3/4" rabbet 3/8" deep on the inside face of the supports, where shown on Drawing 1, to form a lap joint between the parts.
  3. Referring to Drawing 2, lay out the 1" radii at the top ends of the feet (F) and the 1/4" cutout at the bottom. Bandsaw the feet to shape, and sand smooth.
  4. Refer to Drawing 1 for the location of the profile on the supports (E). Then, mark the profile at the bottom of a support on its inside face, as shown in photo. Reposition the template at the top of the support on its inside face with the rounded top end of the template flush with the support's end. Mark the complete template contour on the support. Also, insert a nail or an awl through the 1/8" hole in the template, and mark the centerpoint for a 3/4" hole to receive the cradle dowel. Draw lines to connect the contours along both edges of the support. Mark the other support.
  5. Bandsaw and sand the two supports (E) to shape. Using a 3/4" Forstner bit, drill a 1/2"-deep hole at the marked location on each part.
  6. Using the template, mark the profile on both ends of the stretcher (G) along both edges, where shown on Drawing 1.
  7. Draw lines to join the profiles; then bandsaw and sand to shape. Rout 1/4" round-overs along the top and bottom edges of the stretcher, where shown.
  8. Glue and clamp the supports (E) to the feet (F). With the glue dry, rout 1/4" round-overs along the top edges of the assemblies and on the cutout area at the bottom of the feet, where shown. Using a 3/8" Forstner bit, drill 1/4"-deep counterbores on the outside face of the supports, where shown. Do not drill the countersunk shank holes in the counterbores until indicated.
  9. Cut two 1 1/2"-long pieces from a 3/4" dowel. Insert a dowel (no glue) into the hole in the top of each support. Now, glue and clamp the spacers (D) to the supports, centering them on the dowels. Remove the dowels.

 

Time for a Finish
Parts being drilled together
Enlarge Image
 
With the stretcher (G) supported on
the spacers and clamped between the
support assemblies, drill pilot
holes into the stretchers, and drive in
the screws.
Cradle being hooked up to stand
Enlarge Image
 
Apply paraffin wax to the cradle dowels;
then install the cradle between
the supports. Clamp the cradle to the
support at one end to ease assembly
at the opposite end.
Materials list
Enlarge Image
 
Various boards
Enlarge Image
 

Time for a Finish

Assemble and apply the finish
  1. Mark a centerline on the top edge of the stretcher (G) at both ends, and mark a centerline with the grain on the inside face of the supports (E).
  2. From scrap, cut two 7/8"-thick spacers 6" long for positioning the stretcher against the supports.
  3. With the stretcher supported by the spacers at each end, clamp the support assemblies (E/F) to the stretcher, as shown in photo above right, aligning the stretcher and support centerlines. Now, in the center of the counterbores in the supports, drill pilot and countersunk shank holes for the mounting screws to the depth shown on Drawing 1, and drive in the screws. Sand the assembled frame to 220 grit, and remove the dust.
  4. Remove the screws from one support assembly, and separate it from the frame. Check the fit of the dowels in the cradle ends (A) with the hole in the spacer (D) on the removed support. Sand the dowels as necessary so they rotate freely in the spacer but are not loose. With the free end of the stretcher supported by a 7/8"-thick spacer, install the cradle in the frame, as shown in photo below right. Then, drive in the screws to reattach the removed support assembly. Finally, glue the four plugs that you set aside earlier into the counterbores in the supports. Let the glue dry overnight, then sand the plugs flush.
  5. Check the doll cradle for any roughness and sharp edges, then sand any areas that need it. Remove the dust. To finish the cherry doll cradle, apply a stain followed by two coats of a clear finish, sanding to 320 grit between coats. (We used Minwax Cherrywood Gel Stain and aerosol polyurethane.)
  6. To finish the pine doll cradle, apply two coats of primer, sanding between coats to 220 grit. Then apply two coats of a paint of your choice. (We used Glidden's interior latex flat paint, color Seed Pearl.)

 

shim

Wood Magazine