Jeff’s Final Project Report: Locket

For my final project, I wanted to do something that was creative, functional, good looking, and challenge me to work with my hands. After hearing that the final project had to be dynamic, I immediately started to think of a half-baked project that I have been thinking about for the past year.

Inspirations/What it will do

After seeing the movie, The Illusionist, I really was impressed with the woodworking the main character does. I was especially enticed by the locket shown in the seen below. In the movie, it is a secret pennant that the main character gives his childhood sweetheart. I won’t spoil more than that, but you should all go see it!

However, after doing some cursory research, it was revealed that there are actually two lockets used in the movie; one that twists and one that swings open. So much for magic but I guess that’s show biz for ya. Looking up this locket online, there are quite a few videos showing how to make it and even a company that will charge you an arm and a leg for one ($250). However, in almost all of these, the axes of rotation are different, rotating about the center and one of the lobes of the heart. I will be attempting to make a dynamic version that hinges in the same places as the movie (rotate about the center and the bottom of the heart). The three states (oval, heart-closed, heart-open) can be seen in the images below.

Rendering - Oval Shape
Oval Shape – The default shape that it will be in most of the time.
Rendering - Heart Shape - Closed
Closed heart shape
Rendering - Heart Shape - Open
Open heart shape – Can see where the two pictures will have a space to live.


First Impressions

The hope for this project is that people will look at it and ask “Wow what a cool locket. Where did you buy that?” In other words, I want it to both look and feel professional, complete, and clean. I also don’t really have a need to keep the pictures secret from an evil prince (I wasn’t joking, go watch the movie) so I would like the design to promote people who are reasonably intelligent to be able to figure out how to open it.

The Aesthetic(s)

I hope to made something that really looks good. Beyond that, I am
hoping to incorporate a bit of The Aesthetic of Really Small Things as well as aspects of the fine woodworking/woodcarving aesthetic and the aesthetic of fine wooden jewelry.

Wooden Earings
Fine Wooden Earrings. Source:
Wooden pendant, earings, and bobel
Wooden pendant, earrings, and bobel. Source:


The Hardest Part

I think there will be two parts of the project that will be very challenging, the hinges and the design on the outside. The hard part about the hinges will be making them so that there is very little play (or wiggle) in the hinge and still have the rotation feel smooth. I really want a professional feel and this is the majority of where this will come from. I am especially concerned with the double-half pin in the bottom of the heart. I will have to make two stepped dowels and cut them in half so that they are as similar as possible.

The second hard part will be the design on the outside of the locket. The movie’s design (the “butterfly” or “smile-with-weird-eyebrows”

What it will Cost

Time. The biggest cost of this project will be time by far. I have spent some hours here and there on it in the past and really haven’t gotten anywhere. I have a feeling that in order to make the holes for the rotation pins in the right place, it will take lots of jigging and very careful work. Apart from that, I have listed what I think the major cost will be for the final product.

  1. Walnut – 1/16″ = $4.75
  2. Walnut – 1/4″ = $4.75
  3. Hard Maple or Cherry – 1/16″ = $4.00
  4. Jewelry Chain = $25.00
  5. Random Hardware and Shipping= $15.00

Total = $53.50

Time Frame

If you have been following my posts, many of you knowthat I am a very big skier. As such, I will have limited time to get in a wood shop and make prototypes until the ski racing season calms down. Because of this, I have front-loaded my schedule with tons of design work and planning. Hopefully this will make the manufacturing much easier.

Schedule to Expo


Jeff, Jeffrey, Jeffrey Gay, Locket
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6 Comments. Leave new

  • Derek Sikora
    March 9, 2016 12:35 pm

    Calling out the movie makers huh? haha this is a great project inspiration, but I feel like you’re going to have quite the struggle trying to perfect this hinge with the tools at CU. You may want to contact some fine jewelry artists in how they create their tiny hinges for insight. Good Luck!

  • Thomas Brunsgaard
    March 7, 2016 7:45 pm

    This is a great mechanical challenge Jeff! I was wondering how you were planning on doing the wood working. Do you envision doing it with hand tools, or using something more computerized like a cnc router? I am guessing that you will have to build a couple of them to work out the kinks (mechanisms are difficult!). I am looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

  • Peter Brunsgaard
    March 7, 2016 12:50 pm

    Jeff, I appreciate your disappointment in the movie using two different lockets for the movie scene. I’m excited to see how the hinge works out for you. Worst case scenario, you could “cheat” like the other examples you have seen online and put the hinge for the heart in the corner rather than on the center line. I feel like it would detract from the “cool” factor, but sometimes that’s what it takes to make it work. I’m excited to see the end product!

  • Elyse Skinner
    March 7, 2016 12:43 pm

    I really like your design idea. I think the dynamics are cool how it changes form and has a function. I think this will be a cool challenge for you to figure out just depending on the rotation and sliding motion. I think your aesthetic is cool to try and make it look as professional and store-bought/manufactured as possible. This will entail a lot of sanding and time just making sure everything looks clean. Great job!

  • Katie Hortik
    March 7, 2016 12:42 pm

    I love puzzle projects and this seems like an awesome project. I would maybe add a chain to it so that it is very locket like.

  • Thanks for the shout-out to my Aesthetics of Incredibly Small Things aesthetics post! After watching that that youtube clip, I’m quite disappointed that a show about magic literally used two lockets to make that magic act (oh well). I’m very curious to how you will do the hinge for the locket since it’s basically embedded into the wood. It would be ideal to have the screw or axis be entirely hidden, but it would be easy to use something that you can screw in from the back side of the locket. Looking forward to seeing progress on the wood working and the end result!


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