I have learned a lot of things in grad school but one of the biggest is: see what other people have done first, and leverage their work if appropriate. When I'm stuck on a project, it's likely someone else has had the same problem, and I can learn from them. So when I do something neat or that I think can help someone else, I try to document it on Instructables.
Wood Veneer Sun Jar
The idea for this came from a simple problem: I couldn't find my cousin's house when I was driving there late at night. I wanted house numbers that are visible day or night. First, I just made a traditional Sun Jar with a vinyl sticker number on the outside. The layer of glass above the light sensor made the jar more likely to turn on in medium light (possibly an artifact of low sun in Boston spring). I wanted to make a jar where the solar component was at the top, and ended up modifying a jar to add a wood veneer top. This made the light work better, and looked very nice. I made a simple instructable about the process.
This Instructable was featured on their home page, featured in their daily projects email on 29 May 2014, and won a prize in a Lamps and Lighting contest.
Instructable: Wood Veneer Sun Jar
A craft of a higher caliber.
Remove the metal top and keep the threads. Frost the jar with chemical etchant, frosted paint, or sandblaster (not shown).
The cap requires the light, a support pieces, two veneer pieces, and the plastic threads. A combination of contact cement and hot glue are used to assemble.
The wood should be finished with an oil that can handle UV. I made two to show different frosting techniques, veneer colors, and light shapes.
Artwork Distortion for Conical Glasses
I started using glass etchant on a crafty whim, and quickly moved to using a vinyl cutter for my masks. While working on an espresso glass, I had trouble getting my text to look very nice since the glass what not cylindrical. If I wanted my masks to wrap well around conical glasses, I needed to distort the artwork. The math took about ten minutes, but I decided to share by making this instructable, and a conversion page that would do the math for you. Below is a summary.
Instructable: Artwork Distortion for Conical Glasses
Cylinders can't have all the fun.
We begin with bare conical glasses. Inverted or upright cone are fine.
If we try to fit rectangular masks on these glasses, only heartbreak ensues.
We want a method for mapping the rectangular design onto the outside of a conical glass (which is an arc).
These are the values you need to measure. Only measure the conical part of the glass if it is divided like the one on the right. Measure height along the glass, not vertically.
It was at this step that I decided I should make an Instructable, and that I should make a webpage that did the math.
A conversion page does the math for users, so it's less likely there will be arithmetic errors. You can find this page here.
The settings can be changed through this menu item.
This shows where to change the values to those given in the conversion page.
A mask with a line and text might change to something like the bottom one.
Now these are some nice masks.
At this step I realized I should have etched the inside of the glass. You drink a little and it says "hello", you drink a lot and it says "hello there".