Monday, March 4, 2013

DIY Wooden Sunglasses

I'm generally the kind of person who takes good care of their things, except all bets are off with sunglasses. That's why I'm a big fan of cheap ones. My usual go-to sunglasses are actually "safety shades" as I like to call them. They can be found at the local big box home improvement store for $5-10.  Of course, they aren't very stylish.

I recently bought a couple pair of "aviator-style" sunglasses from Amazon for just a couple bucks each. From a distance, a long distance, these could be passable as stylish... I guess; however, I wanted to replace some of the cheap plastic on them with wood. Read on to see how I did it.

Ok, I tricked you. This isn't much of a how-to guide. Basically, you just need the right size wood, a coping saw (it has a thin blade for detail cuts), some sandpaper, and a drill. I'd really recommend you get a coping saw if you don't have one. They are very handy and this project is a good excuse to go buy one. It shouldn't be more than $10-15 for a basic one.

For the wood, I used some that I had been holding on to for years. In fact, I think I had it leftover from a shop project in high school. You can check the local big box home improvement store to see if they have any wood thin enough. They probably carry 1/4" strips in poplar, maple, and / or oak, but that may be too thick for your preferences. The wood I used is about 3/16" thick. If you have the right tools, you could also resaw thicker wood to your desired thickness, but that's beyond this blog post.

To make the arms, just remove a stock arm, trace it onto your material, and get to cutting. Once one is done, use that one to trace the second, not the original arm you first traced with. That way they'll at least be the same shape. It also helps to use some double-stick tape when you get to sanding. You can hold the two pieces together and sand them at the same time. It's quicker that way, and you also ensure they end up looking the same.

Once the arms are done, you'll need to do some notching to get them to connect to the frame. Take your time with this step and go bit by bit, checking along the way to make sure you don't remove too much material. I didn't do a very good job here and it looks a bit sloppy.

The last step is to drill the holes. Again, be careful for best results. Also make sure that you use the right size drill bit. Oh, and you get bonus points if you don't lose the screws. Of course, I lost them and ended up using a couple of wire brads trimmed to length.

Well there you have it. They certainly don't compare to professionally-made wooden sunglasses, but these are cheap and you can take pride in making them yourself. I'm leaving mine natural, but you can certainly paint or stain them any color you want. With the right equipment you could also burn designs into the arms.

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