We drink wine. Not lots of wine, but it’s a hobby we like to indulge in every now and again. I used to toss the empty bottles, and always hated throwing them away, but our recycling center doesn’t accept glass, and I wasn’t thinking creatively about them then. After a huge Thanksgiving celebration with over 20 guests throughout the day, I mentioned the trash guy probably wondered just what kind of bash we had when he saw how many empties were in our pick-up that week. That was when my sister-in-law asked me to keep them for a friend of theirs who makes his own wine. Once or twice a year I’d deliver a box of empty bottles to them as a way to recycle.
One of the very first decisions Jessica made about her wedding decor was that she wanted lit wine bottles in the centerpieces. I have drilled holes in wine bottles for strings of lights, but doing that with 40+ bottles sounded incredibly time consuming and tedious. Plus, to get the correct drill bit involved a 60-mile one way trip to the home improvement store, and strings of battery-operated light strings are $6-7 each. A bit out of our budget.
I started looking into ways to cut the bottoms off the bottles, and invested in a bottle cutting system that was supposed to work 90% of the time. There were about a dozen wine bottles in the garage at the time, and I ruined 6 of them by trying to cut the bottoms off. Even when the cuts worked, the glass then cracked vertically. It was very annoying.
I contacted a local glass shop and was shut down without hesitation. They wanted nothing to do with my project. Too bad for them. After I told that same sister-in-law about the problem (she’s an art teacher, I thought she might have a handy tip on how to do it that I had missed) she told me about a glass shop in Grand Island that cut out the bottoms of wine bottles for prom for her school the year before. The people at State Glass were more than happy to accommodate me, even making the arrangements to cut all of the wine bottles in one day so I only had to make that 120 mile round-trip once. We negotiated an hourly rate that cut the per-bottle price to less than half of their original offer.
My SIL gladly gave me back the latest box of bottles I’d given her, and I put out a plea on some local Facebook “buy, sell, trade” pages for more empties. The response was wonderful and I ended up with more than enough bottles for the number of centerpieces we need.
The labels all had to be removed, which turned out to be both easy and tedious. Some of the glue used on the labels pretty much disintegrated in a sink of hot, soapy water. Others had to be taken off with a razor blade. Then the glue residue gave me more fits. I finally used a canola oil-soaked paper towel to remove the glue. I laid the oily towel on top of the part of the bottle that needed to be cleaned, and let it sit awhile, then used the razor blade again to remove the last remnants of stickiness. That was a fun way to spend a few Springtime afternoons! LOL.
You can see how they took out a section of the bottoms, just large enough for a votive candle. This particular bottle was the first that I embellished with twine, and I took the photo to text to my daughter for her opinion.
Most of the bottles have twine around the neck, but no two bottles are the same. We chose a variety of ways to embellish them, which I’ll show you over the next few days. I can’t show the completed centerpiece, since we have yet to pick up the final element we need. They’re ordered, and will be at the store on Thursday when we do our final shopping day for the wedding. Until then, you’ll get to see the separate pieces which will hopefully come together to define the “rustic elegance” Jess is wanting.