For Christmas this year I decided to make my girlfriend a new mini perfume spray bottle as a gift.
She had one previously that she would take out with her or away on holiday so she didn't need to carry bulky perfume bottles around, however it was made from thin aluminium and plastic off eBay and over time it started to leak and was useless.
I thought I'd make a better one using hardwood that looked far prettier than the old one.
Step 1: Gather Materials & Tools
For the actual spray bottle part that will hold the liquid I bought a couple of 5ml glass vials with spray caps online (2 in case one broke). I could of got larger 10ml or 15ml ones but the 5ml were a nice size to fit in her handbag or wherever once I'd made the outer wooden shell.
Everything else I used is listed below
- Beech blank - used for the body of the bottle
- Paduak Slither - this was for the contrast detail in the centre
- 5ml Glass bottle with spray cap
- Danish Oil
- Briwax Clear Furniture Wax
- Super Glue
- Two part epoxy glue
- Woodturning Lathe
- Selection of turning tools, Gouges, parters, square faced chisels etc
- Drill and Forstner bits
- Band Saw
- Wood Chisels
- Drill Press
- Mortise Machine
- Dremel Multi Tool
- Sandpaper varying grits
Step 2: Making a Chuck Plate
Unfortunately my lathe isn't really set up for turning smaller delicate pieces of work easily. The chuck I have is more suited for turning pieces attached with a face plate ring such as bowls and plates and since the size of this project didn't allow for the use of that directly I had to improvise and build a solution.
The solution was......Use the faceplate ring, but attached to a much larger disc with a square hole in the centre my beech blank would securely fit in to.
To begin I marked out a circle slightly bigger than my faceplate ring on a square piece of scrap OSB using lines drawn corner to corner to get the centre of the OSB and the centre point for my circle which I then drew on with a compass.
I could now line up my faceplate ring using its 4 screw holes and the centre lines I'd just drawn to get it centred inside the circle. From the centre point I then drew a square box the same size as my beech blank approx. 30mm x 30mm.
Using the band saw I cut out the circle staying close to the line, it didn't matter too much as this is effectively scrap. I then moved over to my mortise machine and using a 12mm box chisel in the chuck cut out inside the lines of the square box drawn on my OSB.
Once I had the square shape cut out I checked my blank to see that it fit snugly before giving the OSB plate a quick sand over to remove the splinters and rough edges.
This could then be attached to the lathe using my existing chuck with the faceplate attachments in place.
Step 3: Turning the Blank
To begin my Beech blank needed to be turned round on the lathe, to do this I marked lines corner to corner on each end of the blank forming crosses to give me the centre line.
Using these marks I could then position the blank in between centres on my lathe using the newly created OSB plate attached to the headstock allowing me to turn the piece round and to size.
With my tool rest set at the correct height and using my larger roughing out gouge I set about taking off the square edges of the timber, it was important at this stage however that I didn't turn the whole length round as I needed the original square section later to finish turning, so I left around 30mm at each end square and turned the rest in between cylindrical. (obviously one end was in the OSB chuck so I couldn't turn that anyway)
Once I had the rough cylindrical shape I could then use my smaller spindle gouges to carve out the shape of the bottle and get it down close to my final sizes. A quick rub over the whole piece with 80 grit sandpaper removed any marks or rough patches.
Now I had the final shape of my piece I need to separate the blank into two halves to form the body and the lid. Using a thin metal scraper with a sharpened edge I forced it into the blank whilst the lathe was spinning slowly to cut through the blank and give me the two halves I needed. A soft cloth underneath protects the work if it falls from my grasp when parting.
I now had my two pieces each with a short square blank still attached at the base.
Step 4: Making the Hole
Now that I had my two halves I needed to hollow them out to allow the glass bottle and lid to fit inside.
The easiest way of doing this was to attach my drill chuck to the tailstock and use a drill/Forstner bit wound into the end of each half which was secured in the headstock using the OSB chuck. I marked the end of each drill bit with electricians tape so I knew the depth to drill to and the bottle didn't fit slack inside.
Once the holes had been drilled in both the base and lid I gave each another quick sand over using my revolving centre in the tailstock located in the newly drilled holes for support.
Once sanded I parted each half off from its square blank using the sharpened scraper.
Step 5: A Little Bit of Colour
The next stage was to make the small Padauk insert round the lid that adds a bit of interest to the piece and highlights where the bottle separates.
To do this I used my chop saw to cut a thin slither of Padauk around 3mm thick. Next using the same size Forstner bit as I had on my lathe to cut the bores I drilled a hole through the Padauk with my cordless drill.
Lining this hole up with the hole cut in my lid I then drew around the lid to get the size needed for the Padauk insert. This was then cut out on the band saw and the lid and base ends sanded flush with sand paper laid on a flat surface. The small Padauk ring was checked for size over the base before being glued onto the lid using superglue as its strong, quick setting on timber and I only needed a small amount.
Step 6: Shaping the RIng
Now the Padauk ring was glued on the bottle it was still a rough shape protruding from the rest of the bottles profile.
To quickly remove this excess material I used my Dremel multi tool with a small drum sander attachment to work around the circumference of the ring and remove material down to the body of the bottle. I could probably of done this on the lathe but with the ring only been 3mm thick I didn't want it to crack or splinter and the Dremel with its flexi attachment gave me much more control.
Step 7: Build a Chuck Vol II
Now that I had my three main body parts cut I needed to finish them off and sand them all smooth. However because my square blanks had been removed I needed a way of turning the piece between centres again without damaging the ends of the bottle, again this required me to build something.
As part of my normal chuck parts there is a hollow non threaded shaft I think is used to turn spindles and until this project I had never used it. The diameter of it was the perfect size to hold one end of my bottle and as it was in my chuck kit needed no modification.
However the tailstock end of my lathe had no such device, the only revolving centre I have is a pointed one which although would work it would mark and damage my piece. So I need to come up with an alternative.
The solution I used incorporated a stainless steel bearing I had lying around in my garage, since this is made up of two independently moving rings it was perfect as I could fix the outer ring to my tailstock somehow and place the work on the inner ring allowing the work to turn in time with the headstock.
To fix the outer ring I used a scrap piece of plywood and a hole saw. My idea was to cut a hole in the plywood big enough so that the bearing would fit snugly inside, unfortunately however my hole saws were either just to big or just too small so I opted to cut the hole slightly larger than I needed.
Securing my chosen hole saw in my pillar drill I cut a hole half way through the plywood making sure not to go all the way through to the underside with the larger saw just the centre drill. Next removing the plywood from the drill press I used a hammer and wood chisel to remove the material inside the hole saw cut down to the depth I drilled.
Now as I said the hole saw I used was unfortunately too big, so to make the bearing fit tight I packed the outer ring with electricians and masking tape to increase the outer circumference of the bearing to match the inner circumference of my cut hole. Using a Stanley knife I cut away the excess tape from each face of the bearing and pushed it tightly into my plywood, a bolt through the centre hole with a nut the other side allows me to attach it to my tailstock on my lathe using the drill chuck.
I can now use a small piece of masking tape on each end of my bottle to protect it from the metal on my lathe and mount it ready for finishing.
Because however my bottle is in two parts I needed something to keep the lid and base together once on the lathe. A small piece of 15mm copper pipe was perfect as it fit inside the holes drilled in each piece and held them together internally when mounted between my new centres.
Step 8: Sanding & Finishing
Okay now I had my bottle mounted back on the lathe I could finish it with varying grits of sandpaper and apply a finish.
I started with 80 grit and gave the whole thing a good going over, paying particular attention to the area where I used my Dremel on the Padauk insert as there were some rough areas here that needed smoothing down.
Once I was happy with the shape and that all marks had been removed I worked my way through the grits 120, 240 and finally 400 grit so that my bottle was starting to shine as the wood became polished.
I then used an old rag to apply a coat of Danish oil, left it to dry, followed by a coat of clear Briwax over the top. With the lathe spinning I then applied pressure with the rag up and down the bottle until it was polished to a high shine.
Due to my lathe mounting technique at this stage the top and bottom of the bottle were still covered in masking tape and hidden inside there respective chucks. To finish these parts I removed the bottle from the lathe and using my Dremel once again, fitted a tiny disc sanding attachment to my flexi drive which allowed me to carefully sand the top and bottom to match the rest of the bottle.
I applied a coat of oil and wax in the same way as before, but this time to polish it I used a polishing wheel.
The wheel I attached to my lathe using my drill chuck mounted in the headstock. With the wheel spinning I introduced the work and gave it a good polish all over to buff up the wax. I applied a couple more coats of wax in between to get a nice shine and protect it when its in use.
Step 9: Adding the Glass
Now that the outer wooden shell was all beautified all that was left to do was insert my glass vial so that it could hold the intended perfume.
To hold the vial and its lid tightly in place I opted for a two part epoxy glue. All I had to do was mix equal parts of the resin and hardener together for a minute or so and then apply to the inside of my wooden shell in the holes I drilled earlier.
I could then push the glass in the bottom half and the lid in the top half and after 10-15 minutes the glue had set and the bottle was all ready for use.
Step 10: Final Photos
Here are some shots of the finished piece, pretty pleased with it, hopefully my girlfriend is as well.
Hope you enjoyed reading
Thanks very much and see you again on another project x.