Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chevron Design Worksheet {Free Download}

I love my bedroom wall, can't you tell?  This is the third day that I'm posting about it, but I promise it'll be the last.  Although, I'm sure you'll see glimpses of it again as I dress up the bed and the nightstands.  One step at a time...

(If you want to know how to make these picture frames, go here.)

First of all, you need to know that my husband, Brian, helped (and humored) me a ton with this project.

I had a really hard time visualizing how many chevrons I wanted and how steep and thick and so on.  When he couldn't handle my indecision any longer (his words), he made an Excel macro to help me see exactly how the chevrons would turn out.  The macro even gave me the coordinates for the chevron points.  I love my husband!  And you will too, because he has made this user friendly.  

It took 2 minutes to decide what I wanted with the macro.

This Excel program has two main functions:

1.  It helps you design your chevron by displaying a scale version of your pattern.

2. Once your parameters are chosen, it gives you a list of (x,y) coordinates that you can mark on your wall as guides.  This makes taping much, much faster. 

How to use the Chevron Designer:

Download and open ChevronDesigner.xlsm.  

You'll probably need Excel 2007 or later to open the file.  If you have Excel 2003, there are compatibility plugins you can install.  The .xlsm extension means "Excel macro-enabled worksheet."  Your default macro security settings will not allow the macro program to run in the spreadsheet, so either a popup or a security bar warning will appear.

Click on "Options"

Then click "Enable this content"

I'm not sure how this will run on all versions of Excel, so if you have problems, please contact me.  I'd love to help.

The first sheet of the workbook labeled "Design Sheet" lets you modify the wall dimensions (width and height) and the chevron parameters, such as the number of segments, chevron depth, distance between chevrons, number of chevrons, start height, and thickness of each chevron.  It sounds complicated now, but once you start playing around with the numbers, you'll see how each parameter affects the design.  Only change the numbers in the yellow boxes.  I used units of inches, but everything will scale correctly as long as you're consistent.

The display will update itself when you change most settings.  When you first change the wall dimensions or change the chevron thickness, you'll have to hit the "Update..." button.  This runs the macro, which does two things:

1.) It changes the shape of the graph to the actual aspect ratio of your wall

2.) It changes the thickness of the chevron. 

So, most of the time you can change the numbers without hitting update, but be sure to update whenever you change the thickness or the wall dimensions.

Example:  Here, I made the room wider and added more segments.  The display is inaccurate until I hit update:

Before hitting "Update"

After hitting "Update"

You'll probably want to use something between 2-5 for the diagram size.  Notice that when you do this and hit update, the display gets bigger, but all the ratios are kept the same.

One thing I did was add correctly-sized blue boxes on top of the display to represent different furniture (in this case, a bed, two nightstands, and a shelf).  It really helps you visualize what the final product will look like.

Once you've made all your choices, go to the second sheet in the workbook labeled "XY Coordinates."

Starting with the top chevron, these are the coordinates of the center of each zag.  The reference points you draw for taping will be half the vertical thickness above and below that point.  For example, if my vertical thickness is 8in, then you will put a small mark 4in above and 4in below each of the (x,y) points listed.  Also, remember that the (x,y) locations are all referenced to the lower-left corner of the wall, which is (0,0).    I rounded the points to the nearest 1/16th, since most people will be using inches.

After the wall is marked up with the coordinates, all that's left to do is tape it up!

Take a few minutes to play with the program and I think you'll get the feel of how it works. Remember to enable macros in your security settings.

Please don't hesitate to email me with questions!

Also, please send me pictures of your chevron projects that you've done using this program.  I'd love to see it put to use!

I'm linking this tutorial to several blogs this week.
Also linking to Remodelaholic and Today's Creative Blog