While brainstorming ideas with Wally for something to make Abby for Christmas we knew we wanted something related to books, her passion. We decided a set of homemade book ends would be perfect. One of her favorite series is the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
We ended up deciding to make pretty basic homemade book ends, but to decorate them with a covered wagon on one side and a team of horses on the other. As much as we would have liked to, we just didn’t have the time or patience to create the covered wagon from scratch. But we found this amazing little kit on Amazon.com which was perfect.
We started by assembling the body of the wagon using clamps and wood glue.
As we built we decided which parts would be stained and which would remain natural. All of it will be finished with a clear coat to make it a little shiny.
The wheel and axels were pretty easy.
The homemade book ends themselves are literally two boards each of some 1×6 pine boards. I determined the best length to hold the wagon and horses. I used a couple pocket holes on the bottom of the book ends and some glue to hold them together.
The wagon itself is all assembled, just needs to be finished.
For a small, basic project like this I just used a can of spray finish. It makes it easy and fast to apply. I sprayed a few coats with very fine sanding in between to make it nice and smooth.
The tricky part is the iconic cover to the wagon was not included in wagon kit so Wally and I needed to make one from scratch. I had some scrap canvas so I just kind of imagined it flat, allowing extra for a “seam”, then busted out my sewing machine.
I used a wire coat hanger to help the cover keep its shape. I drilled four small holes into the body of wagon to insert the wires.
We added a couple of cute horses from our local toy store Teri’s Toy Box. I drilled some holes halfway through the book ends and made some reigns from some leather string. On one end, the reigns go from the horses into the holes. On the other, from the holes to the wagon. It makes it looks like the reigns pass through the ends as well as the books themselves which I think is pretty cool.
Needless to say, Abby was thrilled with Wally’s present. It was a great way to display her whole collection of Laura Ingalls Wilder books.