Introduction

Because this project won't remain outdoors for long, it's not necessary to use exterior-rated wood. We used exterior primer and paint for the finish.

Step 1

Cut List for Skeleton Project

Skeleton Project Cut List

Project Cut List

Shoulders – two at 3/4" x 1-1/2" x 8-5/8"
Upper arms – two at 3/4" x 1-1/2" x 12-5/8"
Forearms – two at 3/4" x 1-1/2" x 13-1/16"
Palms – two at 3/4" x 1-1/2" x 4-1/16"
Thumbs – two at 3/4" x 3/4" x 4"
Forefingers – two at 3/4" x 3/4" x 5-3/8"
Middle fingers – two at 3/4" x 3/4" x 5"
Pinkies – two at 3/4" x 3/4" x 5-3/8"
Head one 15-inch edge-glued round panel
Neck – one at 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" x 18"

In any woodworking project, it's typically best to cut all parts for as you need them and not all at once. One small error can ruin an entire stack of lumber. This project uses pocket hole joinery in one step.

Step 2

Create the Arms

Use the layout in image 1 (below) as a guide for marking, cutting and drilling pocket holes in the shoulders. Cut a 22.5-degree miter on one end. Be sure to create one as a mirror image of the other.

Then mark, cut to shape and drill pocket holes in the upper arms (image 2). Cut a 22.5-degree miter on one end. Be sure to create one as a mirror image of the other.

Then mark, cut to shape and drill pocket holes in the forearms. Cut a 45-degree miter on one end. Be sure to create one as a mirror image of the other.

Attach the 22.5-degree end of the shoulders to the 22.5-degree end of the upper arms using glue and 1-1/4" pocket-hole screws. Attach the 45-degree end of the forearms to the upper arms using glue and 1-1/4" pocket-hole screws. Create two assemblies, one as a mirror image of the other.

Step 3

Make the Hands

Cut the palms to size per the dimensions in the cut list. Use the layout in image 1 (below) as a guide for marking, cutting and drilling pocket holes in the thumbs, forefingers, middle fingers and pinkies. Create two of each, one set as a mirror image of the other set.

Attach the thumbs, forefingers, middle fingers and pinkies to the palms using glue and 1-1/4" pocket-hole screws (image 2). Create the other hand assembly as a mirror image of the first (images 3 and 4).

Step 4

Attach Hands to Arms

Position the forearms centered on the back edge of the palms as shown in image 1 and attach using glue and 1-1/4" pocket-hole screws (images 2 and 3).

Step 5

Attach the Head and Neck

You'll need to find the center of the head in order to position the neck. To do this, place a framing square near one edge, with one side of the square flush against the edge of the head. Mark a line across the width of the circle.

Position the square flush with this first line and mark lines perpendicular to it across the width of the head.

Using the square as a guide, mark diagonal lines across the width of the head point to point where the marked lines meet the edge of the head. Where the diagonal lines intersect is the center of the head (image 1).

Position the square flush against and perpendicular to the first line and mark a line across the head. Use this line as a guide for marking the position of the neck where it is to be attached to the head (image 2). Cut 45-degree angles on one end of the neck. Attach the neck to the head using glue and 2" deck screws (image 3). Drill countersunk pilot holes for the screws.

Step 6

Attach Arms to the Neck

Position the back of the head and neck assembly on your work surface and attach the arm assemblies to the neck using 1-1/4" pocket-hole screws only (images 1 and 2). You'll be able to remove the arms to make it easier to store the skeleton (image 3).

Step 7

Add Finishing Touches

Apply a coat of primer and white paint to the entire skeleton, except for the bottom of the neck. Allow to dry. Use image 1 as a guide for painting the face on the head. Mark the positions of the features using a pencil and apply painter's tape to the edges of the features (image 2). Paint on the features using black paint (image 3).