My wife and I made these vases for Mother's Day, but they are a perfect gift for any occasion. If you are new to woodturning, this is a good chance to try out a segmented piece. The woods we used were cherry, a small piece of walnut for the rim, and SpectraPly for the feature ring to give them a splash of color.
There's a YouTube video linked above if you need more details about how the vases went together. I'm happy to answer any questions you have in the comments.
Step 1: Create the Rings
Each "layer" of the vase is created by four wooden trapezoids glued together into a hollow square. My trapezoids were about 3"-4" on the long side and about 1" wide. You can cut these out using your table saw or a miter saw. Use a stop-block to make sure that all your pieces are the same length.
The pieces can be glued into rings using band clamps or even rubber bands. This takes a long time!
Step 2: Glue the Layers Together
Once you have all your squares, sand the top and bottom faces smooth. Then you can glue the layers on top of each other. Make sure you alternate the direction of the layers so that the glue joints don't line up. Also, don't glue all the layers at once. You only want half of the vase glued up so that you can hollow out the inside. We will glue the halves together later.
Step 3: Turn the Halves Round and Hollow
Put each half of the vase on the lathe separately. Knock down the outside corners to get them round. You can also use a forstner bit at this time to hollow out the halves.
Step 4: Glue the Halves Together
I glued the two halves together right on the lathe. The tailstock provides the clamping pressure while the glue cures.
Step 5: Final Turning and Finishing
Once the two halves are glued together, you can do the final turning down to a shape you like. You can also drill out the top if you haven't already. We finished our vases using Captain Eddy's Friction Polish, which I think came out looking very nice.
Note: These vases are for dry flowers only. You could possibly epoxy-coat the insides to be water safe, but I have never tried that. I recommend testing it out on scraps before filling your work with water.