Introduction: Oketi. the Wooden Glasses

For a long time now a friend of mine wanted to gave a nice pair of wooden glasses. The prices are steep (200 Pounds a pair and up). But what actually drove us to build the following project is the fact that we both like doing stuff like this, stuff we find on instructables and other DIY sites.

So why not make our own wooden sunglasses?

You can download the Illustrator files from down below ( in case you want to work with our model. But we recommend following the steps and creating your own based on the glasses (and lenses, respectively) you find.


Step 1: Buying Guide

Bill of Materials:
(read the whole steps before going shopping or looking through the house for any object from the list as we give details that will help you find the best solution for your needs)

1 pair of cheap sunglasses
1 pair of glasses hinges (we recommend the one in the picture)
1 piece of wooden panel of about 6in by 6in (or 15cm by 15cm); its thickness depends on the that of the lenses (ours was about 0.12in or 3mm); find a texture you like as this is what you will see
2 pieces of nice looking wooden panels with the thickness of 0.4in or 1mm and the same size as the one above (this would hold the lenses and body of the glasses together)


1 piece of A4 size paper
1 pencil
1 needle
1 pair of pliers
1 piece of sandpaper (grit size 120 or above)
1 piece of sandpaper (grit size 100 or just use the same size as above)
1 tube of glue (that sticks to both wood and metal)

Find a pair of cheap sunglasses you like. They need to be cheap just in case you might break them while trying to get one of the lenses off (You will learn more about this in Step 2). Look for ones that have flat lenses to keep things simple. For the first pair we did, we used ones that weren't so flat and we had to glue the lenses to the frame. They don't look that pretty as the frame is flat and the lenses are a bit curved.

We actually wanted to buy glasses hinges but we were offered for free a handful of hinges at different glasses repair shops. I would recommend you search hinges like the one in the third picture from above as it is easier to install on wooden glasses (see Step 7 for further details). But any hinges will do.

Step 2: Sketching the New Sunglasses

First you need to take one of the lenses off the sunglasses you bought. Try to bend the glasses on the horizontal axis and from the inside out. See if you can bend them enough so that you don't break them but you see the lens coming out a bit.

Once the lens is out, just put the glasses on a piece of paper and start drawing. Concentrate your drawing on only half of the glasses and the bridge. The other half we will copy in the next step. Also sketch one temple and one nose pad. Try to trace the contours of the glasses as close as possible. The drawing of the inside of the glasses (where the lens sit) is really important to be as close to the real shape as possible. Double check this by holding the lens above the sketch and redrawing.

Step 3: Preparing the Shape in a Graphic Design Program

We used Adobe Illustrator as we normally use this program for such tasks, but for such easy tasks I think you can also use free applications like Inkspace.

First we scan the sketch we did in Step 2. Then in Illustrator we follow the lines with the Pen tool, adjusting whenever we felt it wasn't perfect. Save this and give it a name. This will be the inner layer, so something like as a name would be good.

Like we said in Step 2, we only need to draw one half of the frame. It saves time and it eliminates flaws. After finishing one half we only need to duplicate it and flip it (In Illustrator, this is Object ->Transform -> Reflect -> Vertical). Now simply join your halves and check your measurements again. Don't forget to trace the temples as well and save the file again and you're now ready to make the design for the outer layers.

Move the lines that make up the lens a bit towards the within (about 0.2in or 0.5mm). And delete the temples and the nose pads as you ill not need them. We consider that the wood for the inner layer is thick enough for the temples and the pads and this will cut costs a bit. And save this as your outer layers (you can name it

In the end you will have 2 .ai files that you will laser cut like this: 1 wood piece from the and 2 wood pieces from the

We have to add here that you can also search the web for other glasses models and play with them in the program. You just need to consider the shape of the lenses you already have.

Step 4: Using the Laser Cutter

We could have chosen to cut this with a handheld tool but we wouldn't have had such smooth lines. So we definitely recommend using a laser cutter to cut the finished design.

Like we said in Step 3, we will need to cut 3 pieces of wood, one for the inner layer and two for the outer layer. 

You usually find a shop that does laser cutting in cities and it actually is really cheap for this project as you don't need to cut that much.
For the more adventurous, you can find many good instructables on how to build your very own laser cutter. I am telling you that after this experience, I am personally going to build me one. It's such a cool tool. 

Step 5: (Optional) Cleaning the Burn Marks From the Laser Cutter

Because of the fact that we were two people working on this project we made 2 pairs of glasses roughly the same shape and size. We cleaned the components of one of them by rubbing the objects we laser cut against a sandpaper (not the other way around). For the margins use the finest sandpaper you have (120 or above, the bigger the number, the finer the sandpaper) and be careful as to grind only until the black color is off. Just rub them once or twice and it might be enough. You don't want to ruin your nice pair of future glasses.

Step 6: Putting the Frame and the Lenses Together

Test your inside frame against the lenses. Hopefully everything should be ok and the lenses would fit perfectly inside the frame. Put the lenses aside. Put some wood glue on one of the outer frames. Not too much because once you will press it against the inner frame glue might come off. Gently put the two frames against each other and keep them tight. We used a specially designed tool but you can easily and slowly put them under something heavy. Let them dry for half an hour (or better yet check the instructions on the tube of glue).

Put the lenses inside the frame and glue the other outer frame on the inner one. Take real care now not to put any glue on the lenses because you might never be able to get it off. Repeat the process and press them hard against each other. In about another half an hour you will have a nice sandwiched incomplete pair of glasses.

Step 7: Preparing and Attaching the Temples

First of all, if you have chosen a different color or texture for your outer layer of wood, don't forget to sandwich the temples as well. 

To fit perfectly, the glasses and the temples need to have a 45 degree angle, at the end where they meet so they would fit perfectly once you open the glasses to wear them. Closely inspect once more the original glasses as they might present some clues as to how you might need to do this step. It takes real finesse. I would say that this might be the hardest step of this instructable.

We will use sandpaper again. We could start with a piece of sandpaper with a grit size of 100 and change to a grit size of 120 for the finishing touches. Just try to keep it at 45 degrees like we agreed.

Check your hinges. If you got something like the one in the third picture here, then all you need to do is use the needle to make two holes where the metal sticks would be. And then glue the two pieces of metal together. 

If you have hinges with some kind of a bulge coming out all you need to do is dig a whole in the wood where your hinges will be. You fill it with glue and you stick the hinge in and keep it there. Be careful not to glue the hinge so that it would stop moving.

Either way be very careful as you really have to position the temples and the frames exactly where
they should be. Check again with the original model.

Step 8: The Finishing Touches

For the finishing touches you have to glue the pads to the frame. You must also round the corners not leaving any rough edges. You must take special care with the pads as they need to be really smooth.

You can also paint the glasses a different color or apply a lacquer finish. We kept our pairs clean as we didn't find any natural paints and we didn't want to use noxious ones.

What else can we say? Good luck with your future projects and don't forget to vote for us in the Make It Real Challenge and/or the Woodworking Challenge if you like our project!

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