Roundup: Ways To Reuse Glass Bottles

Yesterday, walking by the Pink Taco, a Mexican Restaurant in the Westfield Mall in Century City in Los Angeles, we spotted this wall made from cement showcasing the butt-ends of glass bottles of wine and spirits, a technique that's also been used for houses. Glass bottles are an easy recyclable, yes, but we were reminded of the many beautiful uses for old bottles that have cropped up in recent years. We've rounded up some ideas before, but we have a few more to add, including how to cut glass bottles yourself...

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Vases: Use an assortment of old bottles grouped together by colour or style or a bottle that has actually been repurposed as a vase.

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Candleholder: Old bottles can also be used to hold candles if you don't have a candlestick. Who can forget the old "candle in the wicker-wrapped Chianti bottle," a mainstay of old-school Italian restaurants? These are a more elegant take on that idea.

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Glasses: Special kits allow you to sever bottles and create drinking glasses for water or wine, or you can try our instructions below. You could also get these glasses; the work's been done for you. These Pilsner glasses are another option.

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Lamps: Hanging lamps are a beautiful use of old bottles. We fell in love with the variety of wine bottle chandeliers we saw when we were in Buenos Aires. Now that the weather's warm, why not try these tree lights made from old bottles, an especially good choice for those of you with summer rentals.

Bird Feeder: Similar to the tree lights, a bird feeder made from an old bottle slowly distributes its contents to your feathered visitors.

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How To Cut Glass
Safety glasses and leather gloves are a must. This will give you a relatively clean break that you can then sand smooth.

  1. Draw a line around the bottle neck with a magic marker.
  2. Score around the line (only once) with the edge of a triangular file pressing down firmly with your thumb directly over the scoring edge of the file and creating a score of consistent depth so that the bottle breaks evenly.
  3. Heat the score in a candle flame while rotating the bottle. Soot is deposited where the flame touches the bottle so you know you are hitting the score line evenly.
  4. While the bottle is still hot, rotate the score under cold running water. It should break cleanly and you should be able to pull the neck off the bottle without much effort
  5. If neck doesn't break the first time, dry the bottle, reheat the score and cool it again.
  6. File and sand smooth.

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