A Guide to Creating Patterns to Cut with Your Jigsaw

Creating patterns to cut with your jigsaw can maximize the scope of this handy tool. Only using a jigsaw for cutting wood does not allow the jigsaw to work to its full potential. Many different types of saw blades are available for jigsaws and you can buy thin blades for doing more creative tasks. If you wish to delve into the more creative side of jigsaw work, you can begin by looking through magazines and hunting down suitable designs that you can emulate.

What Sort of Wood Is Best?

The best type of wood is usually thin in design. It should ideally be no thicker than ¼ inch. The same sort of wood or MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) that would be used for making fretwork is highly suitable.

Any type of wood can still be used. The most popular would be pine because it is a soft wood although you need to think about what you are actually making your pattern for. Think about the purpose of the pattern and where it will be used. Is it going to be a decorative table top or part of a wall design? Will it hang outside? If so, it will need to be weather treated and protected accordingly.

How to Choose a Picture or Design

Let’s suppose you are making a seasonal creation and you want a picture of Santa or the Easter Bunny. Find a suitable picture to copy or draw it yourself. Start first by sketching the drawing into paper. Thin paper or tracing paper is perfect, so that you can turn your picture over and transfer the sketch onto the wood for you final pattern.

Something to keep in mind at this point is to make sure that you do not create a pattern that has large areas to cut out. Think about how stencil letters are cut. They leave small pieces within the letters like ‘O’ and ‘S’ so that you don’t end up with a large part of the letter missing. The same applies to cutting patterns for using with your jigsaw. Don’t make the mistake of cutting through Santa’s Arm or chopping off the ear of the Easter Bunny.

The sorts of patterns that you create are totally up to you. You can design patterns of people’s names. If you have children you might consider making them a coat peg using their name as the design base. Then either you or they can paint the finished work and hang it wherever they choose.

Other ideas are characters from movies or games that your children enjoy. Use the tracing paper method to outline the picture and transfer the design onto the wood. 

How to Transfer the Pattern

Once you have completed drawing the transfer onto tracing paper, turn it over and place it on top of the wood where you require the finished pattern to be. Stick it down using masking tape so that it stays fixed to the wood while you trace the lines. Then, lift the tracing paper to reveal the drawing on the wood.

When you have checked over the drawing and made sure you will not be endangering a wooden limb of the pattern you can now plan how to cut the pattern using your jigsaw.