One design variation I am proud of developing on a scroll saw pattern has to do with portrait pieces. The scroll saw is capable of cutting so fine a line as to make it possible to take a photograph and reproduce it in wood.
The process is simple: scan your photo to make a printout. With your scroll saw, cut out dark areas of the photograph, such as shadows, dark hair, etc. By doing this you have successfully made the photo into a piece of wood. The type of wood used for this is usually ¼” plywood; the cut-out piece is placed over black felt and then framed. It is an interesting memento and conversation piece.
But it occurred to me: if instead of a thin piece of plywood, a piece of solid wood ½” thick were used, a two dimensional statue could be created. I tried it, and call them statuettes. In addition to following the same procedure used as described above, I further accentuate the piece by rounding over the edges and carving certain features, making them stand out more dramatically. I have done this with a picture of my son when he was two years old, and converted a pencil sketch of beautiful Cindy the same way. The result is a much more striking piece than when it is done the traditional way.
One other variation I have made on the photo pattern is to take a silhouette, and instead of having it be cut from the ¼” plywood, I used ¾” solid wood. I wouldn’t just cut the outline of the face as is usually done with silhouettes. Most of the interior part of it would be cut out too, leaving the shape of the eyes and cheek bone, as well as hair line. Then I designed it to hang protruding out from the wall -- like a deer head, if you will. I know it may sound a bit gruesome when described this way, but the effect is actually quite striking! Take a look at this statuette and silhouette: