The following 101, on turning wine bottles into wind chimes, comes from new HOMEGROWN member and all-around crafty gal Andrea. Thanks so much, Andrea, and please keep the good ideas pouring forth!
I got the idea of making wine-bottle art from a dear friend who wanted to create a unique birthday present for a mutual friend of ours. We had seen several tutorials on a method involving string, acetone nail polish remover, and fire, but when we tried it, we had little to no success. That's when we discovered the Generation Green (g2) Bottle Cutter. I was hooked. I went to work cutting as many bottles as I could get my hands on, turning them into bar glasses, wind chimes, measuring cups, bird feeders—anything I could think of. The most popular of these has to be the wine chimes. (Clever, right?) Here’s how to make your own.
» Generation Green bottle cutter (pictured at left) or a similar tool
» chain or rope
» wine bottle/s
» boiling water
» ice water
» wire cutters
» 3 split key rings
» medallion (I used an old key in the photos below, but in the past I’ve used everything from glass to wooden beads to old cutlery.)
» 400-grit sandpaper
WHAT TO DO
1. Get your bottle/s ready. You can leave the label on, but that makes it harder to score. The best way I've found to remove a label is to soak the bottle in hot water with citrus oil and a little bit of dish soap.
2. Bring some water to boil in a large stockpot.
3. Get a bowl of ice water ready.
4. Using your glass cutter, score a line around the periphery of the bottle. I usually score my line about three-quarters of the way down the bottle. (Ultimately, the part of the bottle below the score line will break off, leaving an open end from which the chime will dangle.) Make sure you apply constant pressure with the cutter to get the best score line possible.
5. Once you’ve created your score line, submerge the bottom of the bottle, score line and below, in the boiling water. Make sure you rotate the bottle in the water, similar to the stirring motion you’d make with a spoon, while it is submerged.
6. After a few rotations in the boiling water (about 15 seconds), remove the bottle from the boiling water and quickly submerge it in the ice water. Rotate for another 15 seconds.
7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until the part of the bottle below the score line breaks off.
8. Once the bottom of the bottle has broken off, the newly exposed edge will need to be sanded. I’m no hardware expert and I am sure there’s a better method for sanding glass, but the following works for me. I keep an old plate on hand and put the sandpaper right in the center of the plate, along with a little water to keep the glass debris from flying all around my kitchen. Sand until the bottle is smooth.
9. Decorate your bottles. I use glass-paint markers I found at a local craft store.
10. Determine how long you want your wind chime to hang. I always measure halfway up from the neck of the bottle. Open your chain with the pliers. Attach one of the slip key rings to the chain at the hanging height you determined. This key ring will act as a bottle stopper—sort of like shoulders on which the bottle will hang, keeping the chain from pulling all the way through the bottle. Feed the unattached end of the chain up from the bottom of the bottle and through the mouth, so that the key ring stops inside the neck.
11. Determine how long you want your medallion to hang. I measure from where the split ring falls in the neck of the bottle to the very bottom of the bottle. Cut your chain accordingly. Using another split key ring, attach your medallion to the bottom of the chain.
12. Attach your final slip key ring to the very top end of the chain. This will work both as your hanger and as a top-end stopper so your chain doesn't pull through the bottle.
13. Find a good spot for your wind chime or give it to a friend. Enjoy!
Got a question for Andrea? Or other ideas for things to use as medallions? Post your comments below and keep the conversation rolling. If you’re feeling crafty, you might check out Cynthia’s 101 on making tote bags from t-shirts, Vicki’s 101 on tabletop fire bowls, or 101s on terrariums and potato stamps. If you’re more interested in the wine end of the bottle, don’t miss Urban Overalls’s Green Tomato Wine 101. You can always find more things to make, craft, cook, preserve, plant, grow, and sand in the HOMEGROWN 101 Library.
ALL PHOTOS: ANDREA