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Picture of Wooden Silhouette Test Tube Vases

These wooden test tube vases are a simple project that can be completed in under one hour once you have all the material ready.

The idea for this DIY came when I saw some wire silhouette vases in a store. I immediately thought - oh they look nice, why not make something similar out of wood?

Material:

  • plywood or wood - I used 3 mm birch plywood
  • glass test tube*
  • sandpaper
  • wood glue (optional)
  • linseed oil (optional)

Tools:

  • laser cutter or scroll saw
  • belt sander (optional)

* I found that there a commonly two types of test tubes available. One type has a small protruding ring at the top and the other is completely flat on the outside. For this project, you want to get those with the small ring.

Each test tube vase will consist of four individual wooden parts:

  • one top part with a hole for the test tube
  • two side parts defining the shape of the vase and
  • one bottom part

For the vases to go together, I decided to use mortise and tenon joints. The mortise and tenon joint functions by inserting one end of a piece of wood into a hole in another piece of wood. In the top and bottom part, there will be two rectangular cutouts and on both ends of the side parts, there are the corresponding tenons. If you don’t use a laser machine for the cutting you could make the design easier to cut by omitting the cutouts and tabs and just glue the parts together.

Step 1: Designing the Silhouette Vases

Picture of Designing the Silhouette Vases

The first step before drawing the design is to measure the outside diameter of your test tube and its length. My test tubes have an outside diameter of 16 mm (0.6 in) and are 150 mm (5.9 in) long.

All the design work was done in Inkscape - an open source vector drawing software.

I started with the circular top part. It is made up by two circles. The inner circle should have the same diameter as the outside of your test tubes. I decided to make the silhouette7 mm (?? in) wide and so the diameter of the outer circle is the inner circle plus 14 mm.
For the bottom, I used a bigger circular shape and positioned it below the top part. The distance between the two should be at least the length of your test tube.

For the side parts, my process was to first just draw a single line going from the outside edge of the top circle to the outside edge of the bottom circle. Next, I added additional path nodes and curves to get a bottle silhouette. You can play around with different shapes here. Once I was happy with the shape I set the stroke width to 7 mm and then used the "Stroke to Path" command to turn the outline into a path.

WUVIE2 months ago
This is so cool! Thank you for sharing it with us.
Maker Design Lab (author)  WUVIE2 months ago
Thanks :-)
Biscuit-chuu2 months ago
What a simple and elegant way to display plants. I love it! Definietly will have to try this. Thank you for sharing! :)
AmyandTanner2 months ago
ooo these are cool!
arendboonk2 months ago
You almost got me fooled! They look like test tubes inside a glass bottle.
Looks great!
First impressions are the best and I am not a fool(not always true(LOL))!
Maker Design Lab (author)  arendboonk2 months ago
Haha :-) Thanks for the kind words!
jmdushi3 months ago
I love the beauty of simplicity, they are beautiful!
TorbenWaagner3 months ago
What a great idea, and so elegant and light
Lauriebitz3 months ago
Love the simplicity of this vase. May I ask your source for the test tubes?
Maker Design Lab (author)  Lauriebitz3 months ago
Thanks! I bought them on Amazon in a larger batch (I think there were 20 in the box)
Perfect! thank you for the prompt response.
Super nice! They look so stylish, I would definitely want to have these for my home.
kimvellore3 months ago
Very beautiful and eye catching. Wonder how it would look like if it is made with acrylic or a combination of both acrylic and wood.
Maker Design Lab (author)  kimvellore3 months ago
Thanks! The acrylic is a great idea. You could make a very minimalist version with transparent acylic for example...
wibbel43 months ago
Looks stunning! Thank you for sharing this.
rocket radhi3 months ago
Beautiful :)
Maker Design Lab (author)  rocket radhi3 months ago
Thanks :)
Alex in NZ3 months ago
Really neat. Thank you for sharing the design :-)
Maker Design Lab (author)  Alex in NZ3 months ago
Thanks! Feel free to make your own version :-)
M3G3 months ago
These look great! Very clean.
Maker Design Lab (author)  M3G3 months ago
Thank you :-)
I really like the simple design :)
Thanks!