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The Wine Bottle Art Story

Step 1: Get the bottles

I am a stained glass artist living in Burtonsville, Maryland, and I make a variety of useful and decorative items out of recycled wine bottles. I get my bottles from a local wine bar, from wine festivals, and from my friends and neighbors who give me their empty bottles to recycle. The combination of all of these sources of recycled bottles gives me a virtually unlimited range of colors and styles.




Step 2: Clean the bottles

All paper labels and adhesives must be removed from the bottles because with a firing temperature of over 1400 degrees, paper labels would burn and damage the bottles at these temperatures. Most paper labels can be removed by soaking but sometimes the more stubborn adhesives need to be scrubbed away with adhesive solvents. The designs enameled on certain types of liquor bottles (e.g., Grey Goose, Belvedere, etc.) can generally withstand these temperatures intact and don’t need to be removed from the bottle prior to firing provided the enameling is of high quality.




Step 3: Flatten the bottles

The clean bottles are placed in a kiln and put through a firing process to gradually heat and cool the glass so it anneals correctly. Glass is an interesting material to work with because it will soften when it gets hot enough and the soft glass will then flatten under its own weight but still keep its overall original shape.




Step 4: Finish the bottles

The flattened glass is then finished in a variety of ways to produce a decorative, but usable item. Some of the flat bottles are finished with wire wrapping or etching to make a one-of-a-kind cheese platter. The bottoms of the bottles are attached to a beaded string to make unique sun catchers.




Step 5: The final results

The final result is the discarded bottles are turned into “upcycled” unique decorative household items that are the perfect gift for all occasions.