DIY Wood Slice Test Tube Bud Vase – Handmade Holidays 2015 Day 2 #handmadeholidays2015


I am so excited for the 5th Annual Handmade Holidays Blog Hop! Every year for the last 5 years I have organized this huge hop with my friends at Clearsnap to offer up handmade gifts ideas for you to make and give. This year we have over 80 ideas for gifts that you can make for this Christmas season and all throughout the year for everyone on your list. I tried to really think of gifts I could make that are practical, unique, and that I'd enjoy giving, so today I am sharing a test tube bud vase that I created with Walnut Hollow wood products, DecoArt paint, and more. This post contains affiliate links and I was provided product from Walnut Hollow and DecoArt to create this project.


Why give handmade gifts for the holidays?

Most of the people on my gift list have the ability to buy themselves whatever they want, so gifting is darned near impossible unless I go handmade. Yesterday, I shared a gift guide for Millenials with lots of ideas of things you can buy (there's a hop and a giveaway for that too: Millenial Gift Guide) and it's got lots of great ideas for gifts you can buy. But what if you really just want to give handmade?


Craft used to be a dirty word – you only made things when you didn't have the ability to buy them. I feel like in this post-industrial age, mass-produced items are so readily available that hand-crafted goods are elevated and appreciated. Making a gift means it is personalized to that person and you put your actual hands on it to create it and worked your imagination in designing it. It's not only unique and one-of-a-kind but it is infused with your energy – your thoughts about that person as you create it, your ideas, your environment that led you to design the piece.

Gift the gift of fresh flowers

Fresh flowers are an organic luxury that inspired this wood slice test tube bud vase. Whether purchased at a farmer's market or plucked from your front yard, this bud vase can display flowers, leaves, and twigs as an organic decor piece. I love practical things – this gift idea has multiple functions and is beautiful and compact: fill the test tubes with spices and cork the ends for a spice rack; remove the test tubes and store pens in the drilled holes.


This piece was inspired by a reclaimed wood test tube vase I bought a few years back from WoodBrain at a craft fair and also influenced by the recent trend in more tribal, geometric patterns. Test tube vases are kind of expensive and this DIY version is about half the cost or less. I picked up wood burning again this year, after almost 25 years, and brought that into the mix too.  Make this gift beyond the holidays – give it for a housewarming gift, to celebrate a new job, or as a birthday present.

12 Months of Flowers

This gift is great for someone with a garden but you can also include a flower delivery gift with this, like 12 Months of Flowers from ProFlowers! You can pull just a few flowers from each delivered bouquet to use in this vase without affecting the look of the bouquet. I recently did a floral centerpiece with fresh pumpkins using ProFlowers delivery service and was really impressed with how fast the flowers are delivered. I also used the bouquet featured for January in a romantic floral display for Valentine's Day.


So let's get get down to the business of making this handmade gift …

How to make a DIY Test Tube Bud Vase

For this project you'll need go outside our craft room for a few supplies. If you don't have power tools (you should! LOL they are fun!) you can ask a friend or neighbor to borrow theirs, look for a maker space that has power tools (Charity Wings Art Center in San Marcos, CA has a drill press that would be perfect for this project), or check with the local hardware store to see if you can rent tools.



How to make a DIY Test Tube Bud Vase in a Wood Slab:

  1. Sand the surface of the Walnut Hollow Country Slab. It might be rough and the sanding is just for taking any spots off where you might get splinters.
  2. Using a ruler, mark out the holes for the test tubes, about 1.25″ apart.
  3. Using a spade bit, drill a hole for each test tube, at least 1.5″ deep. Check the see that the test tubes fit in the holes. Use a clamp to hold the wood steady and a drill press to get perfectly vertical holes. I don't have a drill press so my holes are at slight angles.
  4. Use a pencil to draw a tribal pattern on the top of the wood base.
  5. Trace the lines of the tribal pattern with the Walnut Hollow Creative Versa-Tool® (hot, of course) to woodburn the lines.
  6. Erase any pencil marks with the Tombow Sand Eraser.
  7. Carefully paint each section of the pattern with DecoArt Americana  Acrylic Paint. I used water to dilute the paint so it would be easier to spread over the wood. Allow to dry.
  8. Insert test tubes and fill with water and flowers.

Here's a video showing the whole process to make this, start to finish:

I hope this project has inspired you to make something out of the box but still simple and practical as a gift this holiday season. Tomorrow I am back here with another DIY gift idea for foodies and I am posting on the Clearsnap blog as well with a great kids' gift to help inspire creativity.

Thanks again for stopping by! Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter, full of creative goodness. See you again soon!

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Continue on the hop by clicking the next link in the list below. Be sure to visit all of the blogs so you can enter our amazing giveaway of over $600 in craft supplies from all the sponsors.

A HUGE thank you to all of the sponsors involved in this hop! It is only with their help that we are able to put on such a huge event every year and offer such amazing prizes, like this year's $600 prize pack. And an extra special “thank you” to Graphic45 who has been a sponsor of this hop every single year, since Clearsnap and I started this hop back in 2010. It's been wonderful and I am looking forward to seeing how all of you have been inspired by our ideas.

Now, for the fun stuff …



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About the Author

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Jennifer Priest is a 20+ year designer in the arts & crafts industry and home DIYer with a passion for creativity. An Army veteran raised on a ranch, from her experience, she shares smart DIY projects that save money and fun craft ideas that anyone can make. Besides blogging, Jennifer is a Master Practitioner and Trainer of NLP, Hypnosis, and MER, and coaches other online entrepreneurs on money mindset, business, and living an intentional life. When not blogging, Jennifer is having adventures in the wilderness, on road trips, playing with her cats, and making paleo food.

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  1. I love having fresh flowers around the home and this is a perfect way to display those special blooms. Lovely idea. Tracy x

    1. Thanks so much! It was fun and actually really easy to do with the wood burning tool because it is all straight lines.

  2. This is a great idea! Who would not not love to receive this? Thanks for sharing and the chance to wina great prize package.

  3. I just love this idea. I love flowers and have test tubes but didn’t know how to make something to display them in. Now I do. Thank you so much for sharing this great idea. Just beautiful.

  4. 1- I need to find a “maker space.”
    2- Handmade gifts are the BEST
    3- I love using objects for things other than their first designated use
    4- These products can make everything beautiful!

  5. What a great idea! I had a tree cut down earlier this year and saved one of the limbs. It’s about a 9″ diameter. Gotta ask hubby to cut some slabs for me and give this a go. Tfs

  6. BEAUTIFUL piece Jennifer!!!
    LOVE your design, the combination of the test tubes with the wood, the wood burning and painting looks FABULOUS!!!
    WOW – a vase like this is perfect for all-year gift giving and would look great out on display all year long!!!
    THANK YOU for sharing your CREATIVE INSPIRATION and video … I haven’t tried wood burning for ever so long, not since the days of balsa wood and this looks like FUN 🙂 I also have a soft spot in my heart for test tubes from my studies and early working life, so it’s definitely a win-win project for me to try, win for me as the creator and win for the recipient too!!!

  7. Pingback: Creative DIY Home Projects + Inspiration Monday | Refresh Restyle

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