Idea Probe
Projects & Plans
Tips & Tools

Doll Pendulum Cradle

My niece’s daughter loves her dolls. Not only does she spend a lot of time lugging them around wherever she goes, she also has a daycare and school room at home where she can keep an eye on them. One day, I was going through my stockpile of lumber and dug out an old solid maple desk top I had salvaged for use on a rainy day.  Although it wasn’t raining on the day I decided to do something with it, I was able to build this doll pendulum cradle with no other materials than the donor desk top.  Follow along and see the transformation.

Build this great family heirloom pendulum doll cradle.

This is the solid maple desk top I started with. Other than a few screw holes here and there, this piece of maple was great to work with.

Donor maple desktop used for the pendulum cradle

I started off by marking off and cutting the pieces I would need for this project.  The pieces consisted of 2 cradle vertical supports, 2 feet that the cradle supports would attach to, 1 stretcher that would join the 2 vertical supports, 2 cradle end pieces and 2 cradle sides. The bottom of the cradle would come from some 1/4-inch hardwood plywood I had left over from another project.

Doll pendulum cradle components cut from the donor table top

After the pieces were cut, I passed them through the planer to remove the old finish. I only needed to remove enough material to get rid of the finish. The cradle sides were planed to 1/2-inch while keeping all the other pieces to a hair less than 3/4-inch.

Cradle components were put through the planer to remove the finish

Using a French curve, I formed the curve on the upper parts of the cradle end.  I cut and shaped the first piece, which I then used as a template to produce the second piece. 

The use of a french curve to design all the curves

I then drew the profile for the vertical supports.

Doll pendulum cradle vertical supports

The supports were then cut and shaped.

Doll pendulum cradle vertical supports

The feet were simple enough to make.

Doll pendulum cradle feet

Next, I drew, cut and shaped the stretcher.

Doll pendulum cradle stretcher

The cradle sides were made of 1/2-inch stock. A profile was drawn, cut and shaped.

The cradle sides were made of 1/2-inch stock

Here are all the components prior to routing the edges with a quarter round bit.

Doll pendulum cradle parts heading out to the router table

Dados were then formed on the feet to receive the rabbet that was routed in the cradle vertical supports.

Dados were then formed on the feet to receive the rabbet that was routed in the cradle vertical supports

Once the feet and supports were glued together, a quick pass of the router was applied to all the edges.

Doll pendulum cradle feet and supports glued together

Below are all the pieces with routed edges.

Doll pendulum cradle pieces with routed edges

The cradle will swing based on a 3/4-inch dowel that will seat in recesses in the end pieces and vertical supports. Spacers were made to offset the cradle from the supports to prevent the cradle from rubbing against the supports while the cradle swings.

Doll pendulum cradle swinging mechanism

Here is a view of how the swinging assembly will look like.

Doll pendulum cradle assembled swinging mechanism

Grooves were then cut into the cradle sides and ends to receive the cradle bottom. It was now time to begin the assembly of all the pieces.  I used screws that would later be hidden with wood plugs.

Doll pendulum cradle ready for stain and varnish

Once assembly was completed, I proceeded with staining the cradle, followed by 5 coats of wipe-on polyurethane.

Doll pendulum cradle stain and varnish applied

A quick trip to the sewing machine yielded a bottom cushion and pillow.

Doll pendulum cradle completed with cushions

Hope Jasmine enjoys this gift.

Source of plans:  November 2002 Wood Magazine Issue #145 (available online)