My wonderful sister is a high school math teacher, and in our family the geek apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. With that in mind, I made this extra-special birthday present for her this past year. For a native New Yorker you might pronounce this "Da Cube Root o Tree" - It's a wire frame papier mache tree sitting atop a wood cube, with the cube root of three expressed in different ways on the four visible facets of the cube - decimal, hexadecimal, binary, and integral (click here for pic showing the other two facets).
For the cube, not only did I not have a thick enough piece of wood available, but I was eager to experiment with a method of scrap wood laminating I read on Lifehacker a while back. With wood glue, clamps, and varnish, I was able to make a durable, interesting looking cube for the base. I then stenciled and spray painted the letters and numbers, and spray-lacquered the whole thing.
For the tree, I shaped a wire frame, then covered it in papier mache - old school, like in kindergarten with water, white glue, and newspaper. After applying green spraypaint and letting it dry, I hit the tree with some 3M Super 77 spray adhesive, and rolled it around in soil. After brushing off the loose bits, I lacquered it several times to keep it all together.
Epoxy holds the two pieces together, and now it sits on my sister's desk, awaiting the curiosity and/or bewilderment of her students.