This is one of the most successful kludges I’ve ever made; it has improved my life immensely. It was conceived, as many kludges, in response to a problem.
In high school, I used to keep a pencil behind my ear, so that I would have a place to put it, so that I wouldn’t lose it, and so that I would look quirky. Then at some point I got new glasses, with thicker frames. All of a sudden the pencil was pushed up and out from behind my ear and would consistently fall down. My ear was no longer a safe place for the pencil.
This misfortune pushed me to develop a solution provided a more secure location for the pencil, it guaranteed that I would almost never lose a pencil again, and of course, it was a very quirky look.
I thought of several solutions, including an earing that could hold my pencil. The one that stuck though, was to attach the pencil to my glasses, a fitting solution taking advantage of exactly the thing that had caused the problem. That summer at Mathcamp I janked it together, and I have had this on my glasses almost continuously since then. I now buy new glasses specifically bearing in mind how they will facilitate this kludge.
I like to use 19 gauge stainless steel wire for most wire-based kludges. In particular this product, but anything of a similar type and thickness will do.
One thing to be wary of is that it’s very hard to find reasonable thickness stainless steel wire at any kind of store—jewelry, hardware, etc. None of them carry it, so I always have to remember to order it online when I’m running low.
It might seem like galvanized steel is just as good. And it’s certainly more accessible in stores, but I’ve done some research on galvanized steel and while it’s not clearly bad for you, there are definitely some questionable health risks. It’s probably not a problem for a few small projects, but I didn’t want to be using it or wearing it on a regular basis.
19 gauge is a good thickness generally for a balance between sturdiness and malleability. I’m sure depending on the project you might want other gauges, but I’ve never personally wished I had a different gauge.
You’re going to need pliers that can cut the wire.
And pliers that can bend the wire.
The details aren’t important; use what you’re comfortable with.
How exactly the design looks will also depend what glasses you have. It helps to have some kind of hole or kink in the glasses to attach this to. Oakleys often have these features.
After you cut a segment of wire*, you’re going to want to cap off the ends. Any time the ends of the wire are going near you, this is a good policy.
* For me what worked was about one spool / circle of wire. If you make it too short or long, just make another one. They don’t take that much wire.
Honestly. I have made this same project probably five times, and every time I get the length wrong the first three tries.
Twist the end back on itself but only use the very tip of the wire.
Clamp down on the end to make sure it’s tight against itself
Watch out for the wire getting pushed past itself. The point is to bury the pointy end.
For this project, only cap off one end for now.
Insert the un-capped end of the wire through the hole (if your glasses are arranged differently, you’ll have to adapt this to suit them.)
Put the pencil next to the glasses frame, if it has a clip put that on the wire.
Wrap the wire around the pencil and the glasses frame, binding them together. This shouldn’t be super loose or super tight.
And leave a little tail at the end.
Now wrap the end tightly around the frame and clamp down with your pliers to pinch off the end. It may be easier to do this step with the pencil taken out. This is the second cap, but it’s done around the glasses to stabilize the coil.
Slide the pencil in and out and adjust as necessary. Adjusting often means sliding the end of the coil closer to the front in order to loosen it up a little. Make sure the pencil slides in and out easily.
Handle the pencil carefully when sliding it in and out so it doesn’t poke your face. To put the pencil in, I usually put my index finger near the tip of the pencil, and guide it towards the entrance and all the way down the side of my glasses.
To take the pencil out, I put my thumb and middle finger on the wire, and push the clip of the pencil out with my index finger. Then I slide it the rest of the way out.
To be honest though, figure out what works for you. Just be careful at the beginning not to take your eye out.
Sometimes, people will think it’s a recording device.
It might get caught in people’s hair during hugs.
The pencil might poke people in the face during hugs (I recommend taking it out while blues dancing).
The added weight of the pencil can warp the glasses. For a long time my glasses were askew on my face. Surprisingly, one day I accidentally stepped on them and that solved the problem.