Wooden Test Tube Vase




About: I like to make things.

For my first project in the amazing Autodesk Pier 9 Workshop, I wanted to tackle my fear of wood shop power tools (those table saws!). With a few test tubes laying around and a serious flower obsession, I decided to make a wooden test tube vase.


  • Wood (I used oak originally cut into four 12 inch x 1 inch pieces)
  • Test tubes (Amazon has some options)
  • Wood glue
  • Clamps
  • Saw (I used table and chop saws)
  • Drill or drill press
  • Sand paper or orbital sander
  • Stain, gloss, oil or polish (I used polyurethane)

And a BIG thank you to Mike (aka mikeasaurus) for helping a woodworking newbie each step of the way!

Step 1: Glue and Clamp Your Wood Pieces Together

To make a thicker base, glue your pieces of wood together. Use wood glue and a scrap piece of wood to spread the glue evenly along the top surface. A nice trick it to apply glue to only three of the four pieces after you decide which piece you'd like to have on the top.

Then clamp the smallers pieces together to make sure they dry into one sturdy piece. Use a damp paper towel to wipe away any glue that oozes out.

After a few hours (or overnight), undo the clamps and use a saw to even out all of the sides. I used a table saw on the long edges and chop saw on the short ones.

Step 2: Drill Holes for Your Test Tubes

Measure the diameter of your test tube and find a drill bit that is a tiny bit bigger than the tube.

Mark where you're like to make the holes with a pencil. I went for the middle of the piece with the test tubes evenly spaced.

Drill into the center of each mark to make the holes.

Step 3: Get Creative With Additional Cuts!

While just a rectangular block with holes would function as a test tube base, I wanted to have a more angular, geometric look. Using a pencil and ruler, I played around with the angles I wanted to cut on the table saw the next day. You could also use a band saw for a more crystalline effect or for cuts that would not work with a table saw.

Step 4: Sand and Meditate :)

With the power tools out of the way, grab your orbital sander or preferred sanding tool and smooth out your wood so there aren't any rough uneven pieces when you slide your hand along each surface. You could start with a rougher grain and move up to a higher one for a smoother finish.

Step 5: Stain, Add Flowers and Enjoy!

Use your preferred finishing stain/polish/gloss/oil. I did two coats of polyurethane with a light sanding between coats.

Put water and flowers in your test tubes, put the tubes into the base, and smile :)



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    26 Discussions

    That would be adorable in any science classroom!

    What if instead of fresh cut flowers, you put a bit of soil and a seed in there? (And there goes my weekend...)

    2 replies

    Nice idea but I don't know how the test tube would stand against expanding roots inside it - it might shatter and leave a nice mess!

    That would be awesome!! If you make it, please do post a pic here, would love to see it. Also think this could be a cool concept for a spice or loose leaf tea rack :)


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Glad you still have all your fingers. You're ready for the next woodshop project!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Well done! The tubes look better slanting than they would straight I think.


    Very fun! I think variations on this design could be used to observe seed germination and regrowing roots from trimmings.

    1 reply

    4 years ago on Introduction

    This looks very nice!!!!!!

    If you put some water in the test tubes with different colors food coloring in them and some carnations it would look cool.

    1 reply