Did you ever know a kid who would constantly make noise with his water glass at a table? Perhaps you were that kid, and perhaps you still are that kid.
Back then, it was fun, but now it's plain cool! Every object has a resonate frequency, a tone the object can sympathize and vibrate with. In the case of a hollow object, the frequency it can sympathize with changes as you change the size (add more volume) to the object.
It turns out that playing with glass pitches isn't childish at all, but in fact, and art. The instrument called the glass harp is a series of wine glasses each filled to different amounts to achieve different notes. So yes, you can be a professional glass player.
If being a professional glass player is a dream of yours, look no further! In this project I will teach you how to tune your wine glass to be your own one man orchestra with the world's cheapest and simplest instrument, a wine glass.
Step 1: Materials
Here is what you need for this project:
- Wine glass
- Spray paint of your choice
- Clear enamel spray paint
- Painters tape or similar
- Paper for monogram stencil
- A tuner or cell phone tuner app
- Exacto knife or other precision cutting tool
Step 2: Tune It
We start off with the most fun part of the project!
Take out your tuner app and turn it on. If you can do this part of the project in an environment with less background noise, your tuning results will be more accurate.
Pour yourself a nice big glass of water and wet one of your fingers. Swirl your finger around the edge of the wine glass until you hear a sound. When you hear a sound, look down at your tuner and check the pitch. This is the natural frequency of your wine glass.
If you were an opera singer and wanted to shatter the glass, you would just have to resonate with that frequency a few octaves higher!
You'll be repeating this process in even note intervals by adding water and adjusting. I've seen some people measure out their water in mL first or do math calculations first, but that seemed like more work than necessary for some easy water adjustments. I don't have a mL pipette sitting around on my kitchen table. Perhaps if you are making more than one, measuring out water levels could be beneficial to you.
Step 3: Tape It
When you have tuned your first note with water, take two VERY thin strips of tape and frame the water line of the glass with the tape. Tape any bare spots below the water line, and add sides to your "frame".
I find using scissors works best for this because it gives you a straight edge everywhere on the tape and not just the original external edge.
Repeat this process until fully tuned. A good place to stop is about lip distance away from the top.
WARNING: Your glass is going to get wet from water pouring and you playing the glass to tune. The first time I went about tuning, I had my tape slip right off my glass! The taping method I suggest secures more ends down and is what I have more success with. I suppose this is also where measured out water could be handy, but bottom line, be careful when placing your tape and handling your glass.
Step 4: Monogram It
Perhaps your want initials on the other side, or maybe a picture! It turns a wine glass with lines on it into something really personal.
I find that a sticky note is the prime size piece of paper for this part of the project! Take your paper and draw out your stencil shape, remembering that you need some space to cut out. As you can see, the initials above are not one solid line, but more akin to bubble letters so I have room to cut something out.
Taking an exacto knife, carefully cut on the inside of your bubble lines.
Opposite your lines, tape on your monogram to the other side of your glass. If you need to cut away tape to do this, once again, be careful. Make sure there are no bare glass spots at the end that you want to remain not painted.
Another good thing to note here is that your glass is a weird shape for a flat piece of paper to wrap around. You'll probably end up with a small fold in your monogram somewhere, but those are pretty easy to fix by cutting off more paper in another area to compensate.
Step 5: Spray Paint It
Move to a well ventilated area (outside, open garage...etc) and set down a newspaper of paper towel if you don't want to accidentally paint other things around you.
Shake the can vigorously, as per the instructions, and standing about a foot away make fast sweeping motions with the paint. It may not look like much is sticking at first but it will take more than just a few passes. Do this everywhere you want paint.
I made the mistake once of standing two close, the paint globbing up, and then dripping down. This is not the project you want to make that mistake on, so I know it's tempting to get close but you can stay back.
Step 6: Enamel It
My biggest concern with painting a glass was my paint coming off in the washer or even by hand washing. You can pick up a clear enamel coat at almost any hardware store which does a good job at sealing the paint on.
Use the same method as the spray paint and apply at least two coats of the enamel.
If at any point you feel like you made a mistake in painting or the enamel, both are very easy to take off with acetone and an alcohol based rub. It the acetone leaves a sticky paint residue, a nice scrub with soap and water should fix that!
Step 7: Enjoy!
You may be a classy adult drinking wine, but it's okay to let out your inner child at the dinner table every now and then. Surprise your friends with cool musical renditions of your favorite 4-chord song (you don't have tons of notes to work with) over a glass of wine!
I gave this to my mom for her birthday and she absolutely LOVED it! She was playing the glass non stop in fascination, and trying out finding the in between notes I didn't mark. This glass makes for an amazing and highly personal gift. Pair with a bottle of wine, and you're set!
Thanks all for reading, and happy making!