Every wine lover at some point opens a bottle of wine that is special. Either the wine itself possesses unique properties, or memories attach themselves to a particular bottle. When the last drop has smoothed its way across the palette, the empty bottle remains. Rather then closeting the evidence away in a cupboard, soon to be forgotten; or reluctantly allowing it to fall with a clink into the recycling bin, how about repurposing it into a special piece of functional art?
Wine bottles come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. From huge magnum bottles to tall, slender vials, the variety and character of wine bottles makes them an ideal medium for the home crafter. Although there are many ways to reuse empty glass vessels, the following ideas allow you to retain the character of the wine bottle, which is a work of art in its own right.
Make Your Own Hors d’Oeuvre Tray Or Wall Plaque
For our first project, the label on your wine bottle matters. Most wine labels are made from paper, but some are enameled directly onto the glass. If your label is paper, soak it and clean of both the paper and the underlying glue. If you have an enamel label, you are ready to begin. Place your clean bottle in a kiln, and slump it. Watch the temperature; you are going to want to preserve the look of the punt, or concave bottom of the bottle. As the bottle slumps, the punt should draw forward and begin to fold down on top of the now widened and flattened length of the bottle.
When the bottle comes out of the kiln, you can use it as a cheese board, for breads and olives, or dainty party appetizers. The flattened neck of the bottle makes a perfect serving handle. Bottles with enamel labels look very attractive at this point, especially if the labels are colorful. Plain bottles can be dressed up with PMC silver accents and refired. Just imagine a slumped wine bottle cheeseboard with a silver grape leaf motif at the neck! A cheaper alternative is to paint a design with enamel glass paints and bake the paint to hardness in the oven.
Alternately, you could drill a small hole through the neck of the flattened bottle and attach a leather hanging cord. Slumped wine bottles make very attractive wall decorations, and can be personalized with family names or paintings. A bunch of grapes, a rooster for the kitchen, your family crest, all would be very aptly displayed on an interesting hanging wine bottle plaque.
Create A Custom Wine Bottle Vase
Our next project involves “cutting” your wine bottle instead of “cooking” it. Place a rubber band evenly around the bottom of your wine bottle about two inches up. Trace along your rubber band with a permanent marker, and remove the rubber band. Using a glass scoring tool (like a pistol-grip glass cutter), score a line following your marker line. Heat the scored area by turning the bottle in a hot candle flame. Immediately rub an ice cube over the hot glass. The sudden transition from hot to cold should cause your bottle to crack along the scored line. Break it gently apart, repeating the heating and rapid cooling if necessary. Save the disk with the punt for future repurposing into a fused glass plate or dish or somesuch.
The edge of your bottle form is very rough. Sand it carefully until it is not abrasive. If you have saved the cork for your wine bottle, you are ready to begin the next step. If not, so much the better. Grab that corkscrew, pop open another bottle, kick back and have a glass, and catch up to us when you no longer need that cork! The neck of your bottle will be the bottom of your vase. Drip some acrylic sealer in the opening of the bottle, and over the bottom of the cork. Reposition the cork in the mouth of the bottle.
Display the bottle upside down in a twisted wire frame, or a tabletop wine rack of the proper angle. Some wine racks hold only two or three bottles, and several of the wine bottle vases together make a stunning centerpiece. Fill them with dried herbs or fresh flowers. The acrylic in the bottom gives an extra seal for the cork, and the vases should hold water without incident. Your finished vases can be embellished with paint, ribbons, and more; or, leave it simple and allow your guests to zero in on classic and fanciful labels.
Make Your Own Candle Holder and Vase Set
This project follows the basic instructions above, but offers a different twist. For this design, position your rubber band at the point at which the slope of the neck of your bottle gives way to straight sides. It can be slightly higher, if you prefer. The top of the bottle will be your candle holder, and the base of the bottle is your vase. Break the bottle along your guideline in the same manner as above: scoring, heating with the candle flame, and rapidly cooling with the ice. Sand both rough edges of the bottle. The vase is a simple glass style straight vase. Decorate it if the label is not desirable, and embellish it with oven baked polymer clay flowers or vines, paints, etc. The candle holder needs a base that will not damage tabletops. Glue a ring of felt to the raw edge of the glass. Decorate your candle holder to match your vase.
Sandblasted designs work very well for this set. Because sandblasted designs take advantage of the properties of glass to create the design, they do not take anything away from the wine bottle appeal of your vase and candle holder. In fact, when you show your friends the original bottle shape, raising the candle holder over the vase, the designs can match up.
Wine bottles are easy to obtain. From cafes to friends’ houses, there is no shortage of free bottles with which to work. With a little bit of effort, you can take out the trash and bring home the bacon.