How to Make an Eames-Inspired Molecule Sculpture For Your Bookcase or Coffee Table

By Brittni • posted on 08/31/2023

An Eames-inspired home decor project for coffee table and bookcase styling. #interiors #coffeetablestyling #coffeetableinspiration #diydecor #diyhomedecor
Okay, science (and design) nerds – this project is for you! I made an Eames-inspired molecule sculpture for my coffee table recently and just had to share.

It was really simple to make and feels like just the quirky piece I was looking for to finish out my coffee table. Would be great for bookshelf styling, etc too.

DIY Home Decor! An Eames-inspired home decor project for coffee table and bookcase styling. #diydecor #diyhomedecor

Supplies to Make an Eames-Inspired Molecule Sculpture

  • wood round beads (1 inch in diameter or larger)
  • wood dowel rod (3/16 inch in diameter or larger)
  • wood or craft glue
  • hand saw or similar (I always use this)
  • sandpaper
  • drill and drill bit
  • clamp on bench vise (like this)
  • (optional) acrylic paint and paint brush

How to Make an Eames-Inspired Molecule Sculpture

1. Start by drilling holes into wood round beads, using a clamp on bench vise for safety. As shown in photo. Make sure the drill bit you select while drilling in the same size as the diameter of your dowel rod. So, if you have a 3/16 inch diameter dowel rod, you’d use a 3/16 drill bit, etc.

Note: You’ll want to drill holes at various angles (and multiple holes in some of the beads) so you have lots of options for your molecule sculpture when putting it together later.

2. Then, cut down the wood dowel rod to smaller pieces (anywhere from 2.5-3 inches long is a good place to start), using a hand saw or similar.

3. Use sandpaper to soften any edges or issues with the drilling and cutting from steps 1 and 2.

4. This is a good time to paint the beads or dowels, if you decide you want to go that route. I went with several shades of blue for the beads and left the dowels unpainted. Wait for the paint to dry before moving on to the next step.

5. Then, your molecule sculpture is ready to assemble. It took a little while to land on a design I liked, so play around with this until you find a good one you like (and the right size) for your space. All you do to assemble is add the dowel pieces into the holes of the wood beads until you’ve create a design you like.

You can also look at actual molecule models to mimic something in particular if you want. Just google it and you’ll find a bunch of options.

6. Once you’ve decided on a design, you’ll likely want to glue all the pieces together so it doesn’t come undone. So, using wood or craft glue, add a little to the ends of the dowel rod pieces and insert into the bead holes. Wipe any excess glue and wait for it to dry fully according to label before using. That’s it!

I’m using mine in the living room, as a coffee table decoration, but this would be a cool piece for a desk or even a kids room too (make sure those pieces are glued though if it’s for a kiddo, so there are no swallowing hazards).

An Eames-inspired home decor project for coffee table and bookcase styling. #interiors #coffeetablestyling #coffeetableinspiration #diydecor #diyhomedecor

An Eames-inspired home decor project for coffee table and bookcase styling. #interiors #coffeetablestyling #coffeetableinspiration #diydecor #diyhomedecor

Photography Amelia Lawrence

What room of the house do you think would be best suited for this DIY decor project? And what color scheme would you go with if you decided to make your own?

P.S. I have had this project on my list of to dos for well over a year…first planning to make ornament versions of these for Christmas in 2016, but never got around to it. Happy I finally got around to it. Ornaments or not.


6 comments | Click here to reply

What a cool idea to make them for your kiddo’s science class, Jeannie. I love that idea! Let me know if you end up making any. Would love to see.


Very cool. My 11 year old wants me to make them for her science class. Thanks for sharing.

Jeannie Wallace

Oh my gosh. What a cool story Mike. This would be SO perfect for your coffee table! Let me know if you make one. 🙂


Ahhh! Before I became a craft blogger, I studied Chemistry at University – I even went as far as getting a Master’s degree in research Chemistry, and I worked as a research scientist for a year. But my creative side soon took over and I had a career change… so this project is bringing back lots of memories!

I think this would look awesome on my coffee table, I really love it. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

– Mike,

Mike from The Crafty Gentleman

Thanks Michelle. Glad to hear that!


I really like the idea, it looks so cool!

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