Creating a custom building portrait


Creating a custom building portrait

issues-ssw48-Building_Portrait_Lead_278627526Hand-draw or use software to design your own pattern

A friend commissioned me to cut a fretwork portrait of the Biltmore House in Asheville, N.C. I used her photo to create the pattern and portrait of the famous mansion.

Since then I have finished a few more house projects. Most of the homes were easy to design compared to the Biltmore House.

Of course, the more floors, features, and landscaping a house has, the more complex the pattern will be. I usually eliminate trees and other landscaping elements because they distract from the house. As you master this technique, experiment with adding a tree to the side of the house to add character to the project.

You can also add a name and address to the portrait. Choose a font that accents the design of the house—a comic sans font will not work with a Spanish-style house, and a Gothic font will not work with a colonial-style house.

I use a commercial computer program such as CorelDraw or Photoshop, or a free program such as Gimp or Inkscape. But, it’s also possible to create a pattern using a pencil, paper, and ruler.

To use a paper and pencil, print a large photograph of the building and tape it to a flat surface. Attach thin tracing paper over the photo. I use a ruler and sharp pencil to trace the lines of the house; be careful not to puncture the tracing paper with the pencil.

To use a computer program, open the photo in the software and use the pencil or line-drawing tools like a pencil.

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Materials & Tools:

For computer-generated pattern:

• Drawing software, such as CorelDraw, Photoshop, Gimp, or Inkscape

For hand-drawn pattern:

• Tracing paper or onionskin paper (optional)

• Pencil

• Tape

• Drawing board

• Compass

• Ruler

• French curve set

For all projects:

• Plywood, 1/8″ (3mm)-thick: portrait and backer, 2 each sized to the pattern

• Blades: #2 or #2 reverse-tooth spiral blades

• Drill and bits: assorted small bits

• Danish oil

• Frame


Building Window Patterns