Fail Harder

Step One

Buy a large foam core board, size of your choosing, our was approximately 4feet by 3feet

Step Two

Design and print out the words you’re going to be making. What I did was design mine out on Illustrator on a 4×3 foot canvas size, then printed them out on standard paper size, and stitched them together. You’ll want to cover the back of the paper with graphite, then place it over your foam core and trace over the outline with a pencil. This will copy it over to the foam core.

Step Three

The first push pins you want to put on, are the ones that will outline the words, this will ensure an even and clean open space inside the letter forms

Progress Report!

Just a progress photo of how it looks! Coming together~

Step Four

Outline is done, next up will be to put push ins completely around the border of the foam core board, that way you have a clean edge to the whole thing, instead of jagged push pins ends. (we didn’t do it that way, and it wasn’t too perfect at the end)

Step Five

Begin to work your way outward from the letters

Progress Report

Halfway there! It took us all in all about a month, working on the weekends, it was really therapeutic!

Step Six

Make your final adjustments, you may need to move push pins around, close up gaps, ect. But in the end it’ll look like this!

Push Pin-ception!

Step Seven

Hanging it up, we used thick twine in the back, glued with gorilla glue on each corner, then using a nail, hung the twine onto the nail on the wall!


And voila! It’s done! 1 month, $30 and 5000 push pins later!

ProTip: Buy alot of push pins in advance, we bought them as we went along, and unfortunately, no two batches of push pins are the same color 🙁
Typographic Wall Art Poster made of over 5000 push pins, “Fail Harder”

The Illusionist’s Locket


This was an eight month long project, which included starting over one time halfway through because I had built the bloody thing wrong. The process photos are of the first half when I was young and eager and hopeful… By the time I started doing it all over again, I wasn’t having it with taking process photos, so the second half is kind of missing…

However! My initial search for how to build the thing took me some time. And after shifting through youtube tutorials and online guides, I found one that helped me through the process the best. I’m a visual learner, and as such this guide was the best one that helped me visualize how to make it.


I made all this with hand tools only, lots of patience and a good set of eyes for small detail work. So for anyone who doesn’t think they can attempt this without power tools; that’s not true. You can! It just takes a hell of a lot longer. So do yourselves a favor and grab this step by step guide for more detailed instructions:

Supplied below is some clarification on my process and the challenges I faced.


I used basswood from my local arts and crafts store. Drew out the rectangles I needed, clamped them down and hand cut them to the same size. Then I used my metal files to slowly grind down the edges to that nice elliptical curve.

If you’re using hand tools like I did, make sure you’re marking lightly with pencil the areas you’re cutting. Eyeing this process is only going to annoy you down the road.


Cool. So now we have the basic shape done. But its way too thick. For the actual locket, we’re going to need half the size. Clamp that sucker down again and hand saw it in half. (this step is really useful because it creates two identical pieces. And if you’re like me, you’re probably going to need all the extra pieces you can get in case you mess something up)


So this is what I had after splitting them in two (on the left). After that, you’re going to need to do a diagonal cut and create two even pieces (on the right).

This part was tricky, the instructions help. But just incase anyone was as confused as me. When you’re all done cutting and filing you should have: 3 pairs of ellipses cut diagonally. (so 3 of the ones on the right). One pair will be your top face, the second pair will be the middle and the third will be the bottom face.


So this image just shows one pair of the cut pieces (specifically this is the middle piece), and it shows the pieces side by side to emphasis that they need to be pretty darn even.

The instructions linked in the beginning of this tutorial are much more detailed than mine. I’m posting these more for clarification if anyone is confused on the same places I was.

Keep in mind that the Top Pair Pieces and the Bottom Pair Pieces are going to be the thinnest ones. (Mine were at about 5mm thick in the beginning before i sanded them down to where i wanted them) And your middle piece is going to be the thickest. (mine was about 10mm/1cm thick before i sanded it down to where i wanted it)


Okay this sucker was a pain to make, especially with just sand paper and a clamp, but its possible. If you’re following the linked instructions, this is Step Five (Sideward Rotating Pin). What I did was take a small sized dowel (like one you would get at Home Depot or an extra one laying around from a Ikea project) and i cut it to about the size I needed.

Then I marked off the length I need the head to be (larger than the body) and put it in the clamp. Cut off a bunch of small strips of sand paper, wrapped it around the head and started sanding it down until those grooves were gone.

Then, for the body, i flipped the dowel around, clamped it down where the head would end, took those sand paper strips and went to work again.


This is to show you the thin/thick difference. This little guy is about 10mm/1cm in total length, with a difference of thickness between head and body of about 1-2mm… Careful when sanding it, you can break it.


This is pretty much right before I messed the whole thing up. What I did here is make holes where this pin would eventually go into, and make sure it fits. Then, you gotta cut this guy DIRECTLY in half… Yes. This little 4mm thing needs to be cut into a 2mm piece.

Personally, without power tools, the only way I could do that without damaging the integrity of the thing was to use an Xacto knife. Slowly but surely, work your knife like your slicing a cucumber in half, until you get all the way through. BE PATIENT. Or you’ll break it and start all over again.


Just another angle, so you can see how far in the pin would go into your locket. Thats the clamp i’m using. A few more notes about how to go about this whole process without damaging anything.

Anytime I had to use my clamp on the locket, I made sure to have a cloth in-between the wood and the clamp so as to not damage/imprint/ect the wood.

Remember those extra pieces I told you about in the beginning? Those come in handy now to test out any cuts or holes you’re unsure of for your final piece.


Okay, so at this point I had already built, stained, and painted my locket… There’s about a 2 month separation between the last photo and this one… on account of me having to start over.

I made a mistake on HOW i cut those diagonal lines for the original pieces and WHERE I put the holes for the rotating pin. Remember guys, “MEASURE TWICE CUT ONCE.”

In this image you can see the locket when all the pins are in place, glued together the bottom pair to the middle pair, and the top face is in place with the rotating pin, the stain was applied, and the image was painted on.


Here, the locket is in half rotation, you can see where that pin i mentioned is. It’s cut in half. That’s the sucker that allows this thing to flip open when it’s completed its rotation into a heart, and stay closed when its in the original elliptical shape.


Here it is after the rotation is complete, and in it’s heart shape. In the next image, the top face is rotated open to reveal the area where the image would be. (essentially revealing the middle wooden piece)


So here it is. The top face rotates 360• and closes it back up. See those circular indents? I used an Xacto knife and slowly scraped those indents in, and used sand paper pieces to smooth them out, since i didn’t use any power drills or tools.

It’s possible. Just takes time and a steady hand. In the next images, the locket is gloss coated as to protect the wood and the painting.


Here it is. Huge difference in color and texture. I like it. The raw wood with the stain gives it a nice color variation, but the gloss give it a clean shine and smooth surface. I used a regular gloss coating from my local craft store for wood projects.


Make sure to do test sprays first if you choose to go this route. Test it on the wood you didn’t use to see how it reacts. You don’t want the mess up when you’ve made it this far.

Here it is rotating again, just to show it still works.


Another helpful note:
Before staining/painting/glossing or whatever you choose to do. When you’re locket is fully assembled, hold it together, clamp it down, and GENTLY file/sand off any imperfections. Get it to a nice even level with all the pieces together.


This is just showing the other side of the heart shape. Another fun part of this is trying to figure out what design to use. There’s only a handful i could find or some up with that would show to different images in either position, so if you can come up with some new ones, do share it!


For my final step, I added a picture into the indents, used regular Elmer’s Glue to hold it in place, and used tape on one side of the image to act as a gloss finish/lamentation.

Oh yeah! And I used TINY 1mm thick magnets for the center of the cut of the locket, to give it added hold and that nice ‘click’ when they’re in place.

No power tools were used for this project!


Here she is:
I got a clasp from my local craft store, used pliers to gently attach it into the CENTER of the locket (otherwise you’re going to mess up the rotation ability) and added a chain to the clasp.

8 months, no power tools, patience and a whole lot of inspiration.

My original Inspiration came from the movie, “The Illusionist” and for a first attempt it wasn’t too bad.