What I will be making for my final project is a dynamic alcohol display. This will be a flat wooden plate with three different spots for three respective bottles. The bottles will be lighted from the bottom with LED’s with a dynamic aspect coming from the light refraction due to the changing levels of liquid in the bottles. Ideally, I will figure out a method to independently control the coloring of each light, therefore creating an interesting lighting effect between the three bottles. I plan to have the three main alcohol staples: tequila, vodka and whiskey. I will therefore need to choose a favorite bottle (brand) for each different category. I have already decided that Hornitos will be the tequila, leaving on the whiskey and vodka. My plan for this is to go to Hazel’s and look around at different bottle types, the more abstract the better.

The aesthetic that I would like to emulate is sleek industrial. The modern industrial aesthetic has very prominent wood, glass and metal all in combination. Typically, dark woods with unpolished metals. There is also an aspect of creating space or spaciousness, stemming from using negative space. In some displays that I have come across, there is a lot of pipe and pipe fitting usage. This seems to me to give off the feel of exposed ‘innerworkings’ but I find it a bit forced. I resonate with the thin shelving used; however, I would like my design to sit on top of a kitchen counter or something similar. I also want to give off a modern rustic feel and I plan to do this through my choice of wood and also by having the light actuation be hidden on either the power cord or by use of a remote.

Inspirations have come in the form of the want of a talking piece and something fitting the beer tap already in place in my home. As of now, liquor bottles are stored in a high, out of sight cupboard. When I saw that my roommate had thrown away an empty bottle of Hornitos, I found myself inclined to grab it out of the trash. I think it is because it is seen as a sort of trophy in my eyes and had corresponding memories of times with friends attached to them. Thus, the original idea for my project came into fruition, a sleek way to display past and potential ‘trophies’. I picture this as a nightlight or some other form of display, the key focus’s being a form fitted opening for each bottle and light refraction coming from the fluids contained in each bottle.

Two alternative aesthetics that I considered were: brutally functional and green mossy.

An aesthetic I could explore could be functional. What I immediately thought of was the clear plastic displays at liquor stores. In this there is uniformity and symmetry, with a main focus of being unobtrusive. The alcohol is the main focus, and the display is not meant to catch the eye. The eye grabbing comes from the variation in the alcohol bottle branding themselves. Function takes precedence over form, utilizing inorganic shapes and dull muted colors if any use of colors at all.

Another alternative aesthetic I could explore is a green mossy aesthetic. Encompassed in this is trees in a forest, lots of green, humidity, usually water and lack of direct white sunlight. The way I would incorporate this into my display would be to make the base out of a natural mossy log. Drilling holes shaped for specific bottles. I would also incorporate a vertical aspect whether that be in the form of miniature trees to stand alongside but smaller than the bottles or to have a backplate that could drape vines or some type of sagging moss over the bottles in an unorderly way.

After the alternatives were considered, it helped me realize that I was already well set on my particular design and corresponding aesthetic. The alternatives for me felt forced and unnatural.

As for any prototyping or fabricating, there has yet to be any. This is something that I will begin to tackle after spring break. The steps to take all rely on the bottle shapes that I determine will be fitting for the display. Choosing a bottle that I would be inclined to more frequently yet still responsibly, consume would only benefit the display though its changing nature.



Progress to date: none. This will be changed very soon. In terms of exploration, I expect it would take less than 30 minutes to go to Hazel’s and pick two bottles. Skill acquisition will be addressed through the fabrication process. I will not plan for disaster because that then subliminally and subconsciously influences my brain to accept that as a possibility.

The fabrication process should be fairly straightforward. It begins with material preparation and collection. Bottles will be sourced form Hazel’s, wood most likely from Home Depot and LED’s from Amazon. The majority of the fabrication will come in the form of establishing the specific holes for each respective bottle. This will most likely require the use of a Dremel or drill press. Ideally, the bottles are a more abstract shape than just a rectangle or circle. This is where the use of the bandsaw could be crucial. This gives me the idea to separate the base into two different pieces, this can help in the construction of the lighting housing as well. In doing this, the top plate can be articulated and prepared without worry of destroying the totality of the base structure. It would be helpful to the aesthetic to surround the rectangular base with a rim of unpolished metal. This would require extra material sourcing but should be doable.

To actually fabricate the bottom plate, detailed measurements will have to be taken of the bottles themselves. It could also be efficient to use a 3-D modeling software to create a digital file for a CNC mill to execute the cuts. This method would hopefully prevent any errors caused by fine motor skill slippage, however that is part of the adrenaline that is exciting in the hand-crafted nature. Then the LED lights will need to be fastened to the base plate in three different locations denoted by the holes that were made in the corresponding top plate. The two plates would then be combined into one using screws most likely so that the two halves can be separated in the future and the lights replaced if need be.








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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Sierra Greeley
    March 15, 2024 3:31 pm

    Hello Chris,
    I think this is such a fun way to display the liquor bottles! When you are deciding on the custom hole shapes for each bottle, have you thought about what you will do when you have finished that liquor? Are you planning to just replace it with the same brand? I love the light aspect that you’re adding, I think the final project will turn out so cool!

    • Chris Wachuta
      March 16, 2024 9:13 am

      I plan to decide the hole shapes when I pick up the bottles this week. I plan on getting liquors that I like so I will just replace it with a new full one. Thanks for your interest, be sure to check back in once its all done.


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