Hey there, what have you been up to? I’ve been playing around, trying to master the jigsaw. And since it’s almost Easter, I thought I’d make something, using my jigsaw, that celebrates a special animal. The little donkey that carried Jesus into Jerusalem on Plam Sunday. He’s so central to the story and often forgotten. Plus I love donkeys. They’re so sweet with those big ears and gentle eyes that look right into your soul. Think Eyeore and Shrek’s hilarious companion, Donkey, or this little cutie here.
She’s the first “intricate” piece I made using our jigsaw. Before I would only attempt straight lines or circles. But once I got over my fear and conquered the jigsaw, everything seemed possible. I’ve made hearts and puzzles and rustic reindeer. So before I forget what it felt like, I thought I’d share what I learned while making the Easter donkey. She started out as this basic drawing.
…which I traced onto a piece of scaffolding plank before using the jigsaw to cut her out.
What Jigsaw did I use?
We have a Bosch 700E, which is an awesome little tool. It’s lightweight and really easy to control. I would love to buy a cordless jigsaw, but they’re out of my price range, for now. And anyway, the Bosch still works. It does vibrate a little when it’s on, but I figured that’s a good thing. It helps with my flabby, underarm workouts 😉 Here’s the thing about a jigsaw, though. The blade goes up and down, kinda like a woodpecker on steroids and it’s loud. So make sure you put those earmuffs on and wear safety goggles. And if you have long hair like I do, tie it up, and don’t forget to remove all your jewelry.
And I have a lot of dangly bits. Some were bought, and others arrived mysteriously with the onset of old age 😀
Other Handy Stuff
A jigsaw is a power tool, and if you’re a newbie user if would suggest getting some clamps ad a collection of blades. It’s all about dem teeth. Bosch puts these handy little icons on all their blades, which makes it so much easier to find the right one.
Image sourced from toolshop.co.uk
See those two little “squiggly line” icons up there on the left-hand side. That means the blade is suitable for cutting curves. Those are the ones you want to use for something like this.
What I Learnt Using a Jigsaw
Go straight forward
Start with the easier cuts to get the feel of the jigsaw. Straight lines are pretty easy. The first time I ever picked up a jigsaw I made this rustic, little side table. It helped me get over the perception I had that jigsaws are manly things that require big muscles.
To make the first cut, place the tip of the shoe (the metal plate at the bottom of the jigsaw) firmly on the piece of wood with the blade slightly away from the edge. When you’re ready, push the starter button and gently move the jigsaw forward. Keep the metal plate level on the piece of wood.
Curves are a bit harder, but once you get the hang of it you’ll be doing them in no time. To cut around a curve, gently guide the jigsaw along the inside of the cutting line. If you see smoke or the jigsaw kicks back, don’t panic, just switch it off and wait for the blade to stop chattering. When you start cutting again, pull the jigsaw back a little, and give the blade time to speed up before you move forward again.
Let the jigsaw do the work
Don’t push the jigsaw. Guide it gently. Jigsaws don’t do sharp turns too well. The narrower the blade, the sharper the turns, but it definitely won’t do 90-degree turns, and if you force it, those chattering magpies will become screaming queens, or even worse, the blade may break. For those tight spots, like between the donkey’s legs use relief cuts to “chip” away bits of wood until you’ve got more room to move.
And if relief cuts don’t work for you, drill pilot holes.
Pilot holes for turns
If you have a drill then pilot holes are a woman’s (or man’s) best friend. For really, really tight spots, drill a pilot hole that’s big enough for the blade to fit into and cut from there.
When you’ve finished, switch the jigsaw off and wait for the blade to stop completely before setting it down. When I first started using the jigsaw I kept on putting it down and then trying to chase it around the workbench because it was still chattering away 😀 Oh and don’t touch the blade, it’s hot. Since I’m a newbie when it comes to a jigsaw, some of my cuts were a bit rough. Especially those tight spots around her ears and under her tummy. No worries, there’s nothing that a little sandpaper can’t fix. For hard-to-reach areas, wrap the sandpaper around a skewer.
Getting The Donkey Ready For Easter
Once the donkey shape had been cut, it was time to give her some character. Oh BTW, do you know why donkeys have a cross on their backs? It’s such a sweet story. Legend has it that the little donkey who carried Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday was devastated when He was crucified a few days later. She desperately wanted to help Him, but people kept on driving her away. So she waited patiently until everyone went home and then returned to the cross to pay her last respects. The sun was just beginning to set when she finally turned away, heartbroken, and the shadow of the cross fell on her back. That mark has been there ever since as a symbol of the donkey’s undying love and loyalty. So special right?!!
Photo of The Donkey courtesy of TripAdvisor
My little Easter donkey doesn’t have a cross on her back. She does have a coat of dry brushed chalk paint, though, and I added a tail and a mane. They’re both made using our Sizzix Big Shot and this Tassel Tastic Die. As one of Sizzix’s creative team members, we get to play with their dies for free, and the tassels are one of my favorites. If you don’t have a Sizzix, you can cut them by hand like we did when we made our oversized wooden garland. All in all, I made three tassels, two for the mane and one for the tail. For her eye, I just used an old rusty nail.
To attach the tail to the donkey, drill a hole in her bum (sorry little donkey) and squished the tassel into the hole. The mane tassels are glued between her big ears. I had so much fun with the jigsaw, I even made this cute Shweshwe bunny friend for our donkey and a pull toy llama with “tin can” wheels.
Some Final Thoughts and Tips
A jigsaw is called a power tool for a reason. It gives YOU the power to make something awesome, like llamas, gorgeous wooden vases, and curious kitty puzzles. Treat it with respect, wear the right safety gear, and you’ll be creating beautiful things in no time. Don’t be scared. It makes a lot of noise, but then again so do babies. At least a jigsaw comes with a manual 😉 Read it!! Practice on scrap pieces of wood until you get the hang of it. You can do it. I know YOU can. If you get a chance let me know what you think of the little Easter donkey, is it something you’d try?
And don’t forget to share it with your friends and/or save it to Pinterest.
Oh, and just in case you want to start making things with a jigsaw I’ve saved you the hassle of trying to find the right tools and accessories. Disclosure: If you click on the links below, we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket. It helps us buy new blades in case I break one 😀
Wishing you a lovely, creative, and blessed week. Thank you for popping in for a visit.