Design and Technology (D&T) KS3: Laminating wood

This short film explains the process of laminating thin, flexible layers of wood to form a stiff, usable shape.

It gives the example of an arm rest, but the technique can easily be used for something like a kitchen spatula, a curved wooden housing for a boombox or other electronic device.

Teacher Notes

Points for discussion

  • Discuss the properties of materials and what allows them to be flexible.

  • How would you adapt this process for a much larger project, like a curved chair design or a skateboard deck?

  • How would you adapt the technique for small scale batch production, reusing a mould or jig to repeat designs or components?
  • What types of commercially-available products are made using these types of technique?
  • How to you assess how to apply the correct amount of adhesive?
  • What are drying/curing times for PVA and other glues?
  • What are the limitations of these products? For example, what would you need to do to make a spatula waterproof?
  • Students could have a general discussion about wood finishing techniques.
  • How can flexible plywood be moulded around a tighter radius bend?
  • Discuss the limitations of only being able to bend shapes in one plane rather than creating compound curves.

Suggested activities

  • Design and make a kitchen spatula or clay sculpting tool.
  • Design and build a boombox case for a commercially-available speaker circuit.
  • Research the designs of Charles and Ray Eames and design a scale piece of furniture using these lamination techniques.
  • Create a stand for an LED lamp.
  • At KS4 lamination can be used for a huge variety of design ideas, for example furniture elements, box housings, custom skateboards, etc.

Curriculum Notes

Suitable for teaching design and technology (D&T) at KS3/4 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and 3rd and 4th Levels in Scotland.

More from this series

Marking and cutting a halving joint
Vacuum forming
Line bending