In The Pines With Dana Goolsby

Recycled Wine Bottles

Recycled Wine Bottles 

By Dana Goolsby

I recently came into possession of 200-plus wine bottles. A friend of mine recently moved to West Texas, leaving the Pineywoods and her lovely back yard behind. I have always admired her back yard. I especially loved her flower beds edged in recycled wine bottles. Just a few days before Christmas she told me I could have her bottles. Merry Christmas to me!

I grabbed my gardening gloves, a couple of baskets and buckets, and headed over to claim my wine bottles. There were more wine bottles than I had originally thought, so I had to make two trips. I unearthed over 200 bottles and brought them back to my house.

Why would anyone want 200-some-odd wine bottles? Any crafter will see the value in these bottles. They are an excellent material for a multitude of uses. Lamps, drinking glasses, wind chimes and so much more can be made simply by recycling a wine bottle.

Did you know that only 25 percent of glass gets recycled each year. The other 75 percent of un-recycled glass is destined to spend thousands of years in a landfill somewhere.

Put your glass bottles to good use by recycling them. Edge your flowerbed just as my friend did, or use the bottles to construct something for your garden, deck, or home.

Today will show you how to up-cycle your wine bottles into a wind chime in a few easy steps. So stop buying box wine and save those wine bottles!

First you will want to gather your supplies:

* 4-5 wine bottles

* Ball of yarn

* Fingernail polish remover

* Lighter

* Cold water

* Masking tape

* Glass drill bit

* Drill

* 3-4 medium size washers

* Durable string

* Safety goggles

* Painting respirator mask

* gloves


Now that you have everything you need, fill your sink with cold water and pour some fingernail polish remover into a small container. Set the container of fingernail polish to the side.

Unravel about three or four feet of yarn and cut the string. Wrap the string around the wine bottle tightly where you would like the wine bottle to be cut. Tie the string in a knot and cut off any excess string. Then slide the yarn off of the wine bottle, keeping it wound as if it were still around the bottle, and submerge it completely into the fingernail polish remover.

Once you have completely submerged the string, slide it back onto the wine bottle where you wish to cut it. We cut our bottles about the middle of the bottle body, straight across. Of course, one can take creative liberty with this aspect of the project. The bottles can be cut to your liking.

After you have secured the yarn where you would like to cut the bottle, hold the bottle over the sink filled with cold water and light the string with a lighter. Hold the bottle at about a 60 degree angle, in order to ensure that heat is sufficiently trapped in the bottom of the bottle.

Rotate the bottle slowly in order to burn the yarn evenly.  This usually takes about a minute or so. The yarn will not turn black and burn off. If the flame on the yarn burns out, re-light it and continue to burn it again until it extinguishes itself again.

Once the flame is out on the yarn, plunge the bottle into the cold water. You will be able to hear the bottle slicing in two, and then you will hear a “pop” as the halves separate.

Cut the rest of your wine bottles using this method. You will need to cut off the bottom of at least one bottle for the bottom piece of the wind chime.  We recommend cutting the bottom off approximately one inch above the base.

Now that you have cut all of your wine bottles, before you begin stringing your wind chime together you should sand down the edges. Sanding the edges will make stringing the bottles together much safer. If you are making the wind chime for a gift, you want to ensure that no one gets cut by the glass. We used a dremel tool for maximum control.

Be sure to wear safety goggles, gloves, and a painting respiratory mask. You do not want to breath in the dust from the glass, or risk cutting yourself or getting a piece of glass in your eye.

Grind down the inside and outside edge of all the bottles where the cut was made, including the wine bottle bottom. Leave no edge un-sanded.

After you have made your bottles safe to work with,  drill a hole in the wine bottle bottom with your glass drill bit and drill. This piece will be the hanging piece that catches wind and causes the wine bottles up to clink together.

Place a small piece of masking tape over the desired entry point on the side. The masking tape will help the drill bit not to slide as you drill. Drilling into glass is not a quick chore and is a sensitive task. Do not put too much pressure on the drill, or you will surely break the glass. This process takes time and patience.  

As you are drilling your hole, every so often spray or pour a little water on the area you are drilling. This way the shards of glass will not fly around as easily, and the bottle is less likely to break. The temperature of the drill bit will stay low if you spray water on the bottle frequently. (This is the same procedure used to make a wine bottle lamp. Once you have drilled your hole you can then insert a small strand of lights into the bottle.)

Set all of your sanded bottles aside.

Cut about a 7ft piece of your string. (You may want to cut more or less depending on where you intend to hang your wine bottle wind chime and how many bottles you use. ) Double the string over so that your string is now about 3.5ft long.

Thread one of the loose ends through the hole that you drilled in the wine bottle bottom. Tie both loose ends together. This will be the bottom of your wind chime.

Now tie on a washer about 10 inches from the wine bottle bottom. The washer will hold the bottle in place. Once you have tied your washer on, thread your string through the base of one of the wine bottles, up through the neck.

When the washer catches and there is not more slack in the line, tie another washer about three inches above the mouth of the bottle. Then thread your string through another bottle.

Repeat this process until you have used all of your bottles.

The excess string at the top of the bottle is now the perfect loop from which to hang your wine bottle wind chime.

Save the environment and your money by crafting with recycled materials! encourages you to reduce, reuse and recycle.

5 Replies to “Recycled Wine Bottles

  1. I wouldn’t have thought that you could use a wine bottle as a wind chime. I’m currently looking around for a good wind chime, but I think I may have to try making one of these in the meantime. I’m not an arts and crafts sort of person, but this seems like a fun project.

  2. You were so fortunate to get all those wine bottles. I’m sure you will make good use of them. I’m starting a wine bottle tree, which is another good way to re-use them. Thanks for the tip on the wind chime and especially lining the garden, I’m going to try both of them.

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