When you think about it, popsicles are like miniature soft wood or hardwood deck boards. They are plank-shaped and have the right dimensions. You can easily create a structural base with them and a flat, level surface. Using popsicle sticks is a good way to introduce kids to deck building and woodworking as well as giving us grownups a chance to build a model of our ideal deck.
What You’ll Need
A ground-level deck can easily be created and modified using popsicle sticks. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Popsicles, and lots of them. You can buy them packaged at a craft store, or you could have a National Creamsicle Day party and save the sticks.
- Glue – just about any kind will do, but Weldbond is an excellent option.
- Craft Knife
- Med Sandpaper
- Paper Towels
- Cloths Pins
- Few Heavy Books
Clear off the table or a desk and lay down a layer of wax paper to protect the surface. It’s time to build a deck!
Step #1: Cutting the Sticks for the Build
For the cleanest looking deck you’ll need to cut the popsicle sticks so that they are squared off on the ends. Decide how far inward on each end you want to cut then use the first popsicle stick as a template for the others so they are all equal length.
The best method for cutting popsicle sticks is to score both sides using the craft knife. Then use a pair of sharp scissors to make a nice clean cut.
Step #2: Sanding the Ends
Using the medium grade sandpaper sand the ends and edges of the popsicle sticks. This will help the glue adhere better.
Step #3: Gluing the Frame Together
The first step is building two frame pieces that will be used to hold the deck boards. For a small deck, simply glue three sticks together so that you end up with a single thick stick for supporting the deck boards and fascia. If you want to build a longer deck you can layer the sticks to create a longer frame.
- Line two sticks up end to end.
- Apply glue to one side of a third stick.
- Lay the stick glue-side down across the other two sticks. Try to place it so that the glued stick straddles the other two evenly.
- Use the cloths pins to clamp the sticks together.
- While the glue is setting cut another stick in half and add glue to one side of each piece.
- Attach a half piece to each side of the stick that is straddling the other two so you have a nice, even frame that’s two sticks thick.
- Repeat the steps above so that the framing piece is three sticks thick.
- Repeat the entire process to create the second support piece.
Step #4: Glue Down the Deck Boards
Lay your two framing pieces parallel to one another. They should be far enough apart so that deck board sticks can be laid across the divide and glued to the framing pieces at each end.
- Starting at one end, put a dollop of glue on the edge of each framing piece.
- Lay one of the decking board sticks down so that the ends line up with the edge of the framing pieces.
- Repeat laying deck board sticks down until you reach the other edge. If there will be significant overlap on the last stick consider cutting or halving it lengthwise.
- Lay a lather of wax paper over the freshly glued decking. Place a few heavy books on top to apply pressure while the glue dries.
Step #5: Adding the Fascia
Now that you have a deck top flip it over so that the bottom framing sticks are exposed. Add glue along the ends of the framing sticks on one of the shorter sides. Take a fascia stick and press it against the glued stick ends. Hold for a minute or two until dry.
Repeat this process around all four sides. If you created a custom-length deck measure first so you can cut the fascia sticks to size.
Step #6: Add Other Structural Features
The first five steps will create a nice ground level deck. From here you can start getting more creative by adding toothpicks for a railing or build posts that can be attached to the framing pieces. Create more ground level decks for a multi-tiered design.
When you’re ready to build the real thing come on by Timbertown Austin in Pflugeville, TX. Our experts can help you turn your popsicle model into a full-sized deck for the entire family.
Image Source: flickr.com/photos/timsamoff/5202111238