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Bandsaw a floral wonder Ikebana Vase

A simple expression of nature's beauty and balance. The Japanese call it ikebana, the art of flower arranging. And we call this simple-to-build project from designer John Seitz of Harmony, Pennsylvania, impressive to say the least. It's a great gift item, even for the most discriminating person.

1. You'll need to start with a 3x3" turning square 7" long for the vase body (A). If you don't have stock this size, laminate thinner stock, matching the edge grain carefully to avoid obvious glue lines. (We used mahogany for the vase body.) Crosscut both ends square.

2. Mark diagonals on the top end of the body to find center. Then, holding the 3"-square vase body stable in a large handscrew clamp, use a Forstner bit to drill a 1-7/8" hole 1-7/8" deep, centered in its top.

Ikebana vase

3. Make two photocopies of the full-sized body (A) pattern below

4. Cut the patterns to shape; use spray adhesive to adhere the full-sized photocopied patterns to adjacent surfaces of the body (A). Bandsaw the sinuous V-shaped notch in the center of the body to shape, on the face-grain side only. This is especially important if you laminated thinner stock to form the body. You don't want the glue lines (or edge grain if you used a turning square) facing forward.

5. Follow the outside cutlines to bandsaw the sides of the front face to shape.

Ikebana vase
Enlarge Image
Cut the outside edges marked
on one of the patterns. Then,
glue the waste pieces back in
place, and bandsaw the outside
edges on the adjacent surface.

6. Use double-faced tape to adhere the pieces of waste with the paper pattern applied to it back to the side of the body. Now, as shown in the photo at right, bandsaw the outside lines on this pattern to cut the front and back to shape.

7. Cut the base (B) to 3x3" from 1/2" stock (we used walnut). Sand both the vase body and base smooth. Do not sand the V-notch.

8. Drill a countersunk mounting hole centered in the bottom of the base and into the center of the body. Screw the base to body. Be sure the screw head is recessed far enough so it will not scratch surfaces the vase is placed on.

9. Apply a clear aerosol finish to the project, being careful not to get too much finish in the notch, possibly creating runs. Rub with steel-wool between coats.

10. Fit the kenzan cup (also know as a flower-holder cup, flower arranger, or "frog") into the hole in the vase body. Add a bit of water to the metal cup, and arrange a flower or two to your liking.

Buying Guide Flower arranger. 1-3/4"-diameter metal cup with spikes to support flowers. Part no. 183-0200. Craft Supplies USA, 800/551-8876 or

Written by: Marlen Kemmet Project Design: John Seitz Illustrations: Roxanne LeMoine Photographs: Hetherington Photography

Ikebana vase

If you like this project, please check out more than 1,000 shop-proven paper and downloadable woodworking project plans in the WOOD Store.


Comments (4)
langloisjnj2 wrote:

where can i find the pattern for this vase. thanks

11/18/2014 10:46:45 AM Report Abuse
echeinrich1 wrote:

The problem is in your printer settings. Check for a setting allowing 100% repro. No scaling.

11/21/2012 09:23:26 PM Report Abuse
hcreamer1 wrote:

I love this project but I cant seem to print it in a way that is 100%...

12/8/2010 11:45:02 AM Report Abuse
wasunka wrote:

Small project - this I can use for gifts. Good one!

11/18/2010 09:52:59 AM Report Abuse

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