Intarsia - T Rex Dinosaur


With Free pattern download :-) see below



They say Dinosaurs were around some 65 million years ago! Yet kids and adults alike are just as interested in them now as they were probably 65 million years ago!

Making an Intarsia Dinosaur to hang on the wall, from 19mm wood, with individually cut pieces sanded and shaped, is relatively simple and with a little basic knowledge you can produce a Dinosaur that gives the impression of being three-dimensional.  

The T. Rex can be made to any size (your only restriction being the size of your scrollsaw) and any colour, that’s why we decided to make ours purple! What colour would yours be?


Getting started

First select your 19mm wood, we have chosen Pine as we plan to use colour, not solid colour as we like to still see the grain of the wood beneath, you could of course use natural woods in varying colours/shades the choice is yours, please note whichever wood you choose to obtain the best results the underside must be completely flat.


Once you have decided on the size of the Dinosaur you have two options on how to get the pattern onto the wood.


01.  If you are using a dark wood then it is definitely better to print off a few copies of the pattern, cut them into wood grain sections and stick them onto the wood, aligningthe directional arrows on the pattern with the grain of the wood.


02.  The second option is the tracing method which we prefer mainly because enlarging the pattern also enlarges the thickness of the lines, which then offers quite a bit of room for error and as we want all the pieces to fit snugly together, a heavy black line is the last thing we want, whereas using the blue carbon paper to transfer the pattern, any cutting errors can easily be seen and corrected with the next adjacent cut.


Cutting out


To obtain a good fit when making any intarsia project, there are three important things to remember the first as mentioned above, is to use only wood that is completely flat. 

The second is make sure the the blade is taut and set at exactly 90 degrees to the table, a small square is helpful, but to doubly check, cut 1 or 2mm into a scrap piece of wood, then place the piece behind the blade (without turning it over) if the blade runs freely up and down within the cut, then the blade is square.

Thirdly the blade it's self, always start a new project with a new blade a dull blade will labour through the wood giving you a distorted out.


03.  Begin by cutting out the inner section of the mouth (letters & teeth) and then place this cut section in position onto the dinosaur's head, check that the adjoining cutting line is still the same.


04.  If necessary retrace around the piece to. . . . .


05.  make a new cutting line for the adjoining piece.



06.  Cut along the new cutting line and then place the piece in position.



07.  If need be make any adjustments before continuing to cut out the rest of the head.


08.  Carry on in this way checking the adjoining cutting lines before cutting the next piece


09.  As you progress temporarily secure each piece in position with masking tape.


10.  Until all the sections of the Dinosaur are cut out.


11.  Before cutting out the pieces within each section, change to a smaller No.2 blade, this will help to keep the gap between each piece to a minimum.


12.  Number each piece as you go for easy identification, which is especially necessary when it comes to the claws; we numbered both the toe and adjoining claw the same.


13.  Next drill the hole within the letter R, the size will depend on your overall pattern size.


14.  Continue to cut out the individual letters.


15.  Cutting along the line into the eye section.



16.  Cut over the top of the eye and then back the blade up just enough to. . . .


17.  cut along the lower line of the eye.

Remove the eye piece and cut along the lines above and below the eye.


18.  Again back the blade up to continue the cut. . .


19.  to remove the inner section of the head.


Continue to cut all the remainig pieces accept the tail, which can be cut through after sanding.

There are some pieces that need to be cut, but are best left until after being sanded and the tail is a good example, as it is a piece that needs to be of a continual shape and the only reason for cutting is to add a different colour.



Sanding and Shaping


Sanding down the parts of the Dinosaur to different height levels and rounding over the outer edges will help give the figure a three-dimensional appearance.

Start by using a Dise sander to roughly sand down the pieces which appear the furthest away.



20.  Start with roughly sanding down the pieces which are furthest away i.e. the belly and leg on the left hand side.


21. Then sand the right hand belly down the same, trying to keep it rounded in the middle and then mark the height of the belly onto the adjoining leg.


22.  Sand the left food down 4/5mm lower than the head and again mark the height onto the adjoining piece.


23.  Lower the right forearm and leg a little, making sure that they stay above the belly, the leg shoud be higher at the top and lower down towards the ankle.


24.  Using a Disc sander to taper the lower jaw down to be just below the forearm, but leaving the other open end high.


25.  Mark the height of the lower jaw on the upper jaw and sand only where the jaws meet leaving the top of the head high.


26. Place the letters into the mouth and mark the height of the jaws onto the letters.


27.  Sand the letter X down to just lower than the jaws and mark its height onto the letter E


28.  Sand the spine of the letter E down more, making it appear to be above the X but below the R


29.  Mark the height of each toe onto the adjoining claw.


30.  Sand down the height of the claw to the corresponding toe.

Carry on making the height adjustments until you are satisfied with all the overall appearance.


Once you are happy with the rough sanding of the varying heights, change to a drum sander to refine the shapes and remove the scratches left from the disc sander, sand with the grain rounding over the outer edges, be mindful not to sand below your pencil lines on the adjoining pieces.


31.  A small diameter drum sander is very useful for smoothing over the edges of the smaller curves.


32.  Hand sand all the pieces smooth going through the grades of paper, not forgetting to clean out the inner cut lines


33.  Now that the sanding and shaping of the tail is complete, transfer or draw on the details of the pattern and then carefully cut out the pieces.


Dinosaur Backing


34.  Assemble the Dinosaur onto the 6mm ply and using a sharp pencil carefully trace around the perimeter, including the waste area below the jaw.


35.  Then trace around each of the inner pieces by removing one piece at a time.



36.  Change to a No.3 blade, cut around the perimeter of the backing following your traced line.

Drill a blade entry hole to cut out and remove the waste.

Apply a sealer to the reverse side of the backing and paint around the side edges black.


37.  Use a thick black marker pen to draw all around the top edge and to trace over your pencil lines, also fill in the small areas where the backing will be seen between some of the pieces i.e. letters and left foot/forearm.

Using black in this way will make any gaps less noticeable and generally give the piece a more finished look.




Our first choice when adding colour to wood is nearly always acrylic paints thinned with a little slow dry blending gel medium (which allows the excess paint to be removed easily), we find acrylics have a lot in their favour with a wide choice of vibrant colours, no odor, quick drying and the brushes wash out in just soapy water.



38.  To begin set the pieces out into groups of colour, have to hand a dry brush for removing the build of paint from the cut lines, and a small piece of cloth to wipe away the excess paint to reveal the grain of the wood beneath.

Allow lthe pieces kof dry completely, lightly nib each piece taking care not to remove any of the paint, apply a coat of acrylic matt varnish and / or clear wax polish.


Free Pattern download

Gluing up


39.  Working on a flat suface lay the pieces out in order for gluing, have to hand an old artists brush and a slightly damp cloth for removing any excess glue that may ooze out.

Apply glue to each piece in turn and position firmly onto the backing wiping away any excess glue as you go.

Allow to dry completely.


To finish


Attach a hanger (D hook) to the back, to establish the correct position hold the Dinosaur between your thumb and forefinger until it hangs the way you want, mark the position with a pencil and then attach the hanger.



T Rex Dinosaur - Pattern.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [1.3 MB]
Print Print | Sitemap
© Pictures in Wood