Sunday, May 17, 2015

Wine Bottle Sconces

When we were planning our wedding, I read a ton of wedding blogs. Included in this was this awesome article from Wedding Party that just inspired me. So, I asked my now father-in-law and the hubby's best man to stockpile wine bottles for me. Then, a couple weeks ago I gathered them all up and got to cracking on transforming them into the pretty things you will see in these pictures.

So, if you want to make these yourself, the first step is to get all those pesky labels off of the bottles. First, loosen them up by soaking them in a sink full of soapy water for a few hours. If you're lucky, the labels will peel right off. I found that Barefoot wine bottles were particularly good about this. In fact, at every step their bottles were great to work with, so, I would highly recommend using those if attempting this project.

Now, if the labels don't want to come off, and most of them won't, it's time to scrub. First, I used a pan scraper to get the rest of the paper off. Then, to get the remaining glue spots, I used Goo Gone. It smells nice and lemon-y and works wonders.

Okay, so now you should have some clean bottles. The next step is to get the bottoms cut off. For this you will need the following:

1 bottle cutting kit
1 deep stock pot of water
1 deep bowl full of ice water
heat resistant gloves, or canning tongs

Follow the instructions for the kit to score the bottles. Next, get the stock pot boiling and then scale it back to a simmer. Make sure the ice bath is ice cold.

Dip a scored bottle into the hot water, just covering the score line. Hold for 5 seconds. Switch the bottle to the ice bath, being careful not to touch the bottle on the sides of the pot or the ice bath. Hold for 5 seconds. Continue switching back and forth until the bottle breaks along the score line.

While making my centerpieces, I found the following to be true:

1) Thinner, flat bottom bottles work best
2) The bottles only break evenly if the hot water is just below boiling and the ice bath is significantly cold.
3) Using the tapper included in the kit will more often than not make the bottle splinter outside the line, so it should only be used if the bottle is well cracked along the line but won't quite break off.

If the bottles are thin and the temperatures are optimal, you should hear the cracks forming along the score line after only a few dips. With any luck, it will break cleanly in two places. Then, use the enclosed sandpaper to soften the broken edge.

Now, at this point you have perfectly usable sconces. However, if you want to dress them up a little bit you can buy a glass etching cream kit.

Before using the kit on the bottles, clean them with rubbing alcohol. Windex leaves a film on the bottles that interferes with the etching cream, so rubbing alcohol is best.

Next, pick out your stencils and put them on the bottles, taping around the edges with painters tape:

Then follow the directions for the cream to apply it to the bottles. Wait the appropriate amount of time and then rinse the bottles off. You will want to rinse into a plastic bin if you have a porcelain sink, as the acid in the cream is damaging to porcelain.

And you're done! Just clean them up a bit, stick them over some electric tea lights and you're good to go.


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