7 Ingenious Ways to Reuse Old Empty Bottles (You’ll Never Throw Them Out Again!)

published Apr 21, 2024
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Someone holding two empty wine bottles.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

Much like having excess reusable bags, having excess glass bottles is useful but you may be looking for ways you can repurpose them or, to be candid, how to get rid of them. If your collection of glass bottles has been growing, whether they’re from recycled milk bottles from your Easter centerpieces or empty wine bottles from New Year’s Eve, then now’s the time to get creative with their many uses — just in time for Earth Day!

I have loved hanging onto glass bottles ever since my wedding, where I used Jarritos bottles and Mexican beer bottles as bud vases. Although using bottles as vases may be the most common and practical way to reuse them, I figured there were plenty of other things I couldn’t come up with on my own. I reached out to Roma Stiff, senior project designer at Michaels, for some extra advice and tips on how to reuse excess glass bottles and give them extra life around your home. 

Make a DIY textured vase.

Take advantage of the spring season by filling every room in your room with freshly cut flowers and greenery but with a DIY touch. Stiff recommends adorning your excess glass bottles with wires, rhinestone embellishments, and pearl stickers, then spray painting them or using chalk paint. These are also a perfect gift for Mother’s Day. 

“For a more advanced look, Mod Podge fabric like burlap and linen to the glass jars to add even more texture,” she says. “You can paint these any color you’d like, even creating an ombré look by mixing white paint with another color and go from dark to light.”

Cut them to use as candle holders.

If you’re starting to run out of ideas for your weekly craft nights, try using your excess glass bottles as candle holders. There are several ways to cut glass bottles, but you can also stick different-colored taper candles in the openings and let the drops of melting wax cover the bottle for a sustainable table centerpiece.  

Use them as propagation vessels.

I have more than 70 houseplants, and many of them I got via propagation. Whether you’re just trying out this process, or you need more vessels for all your extra clippings, glass bottles of any type are perfect for multiplying your collection or sharing with friends. 

Fill with fairy lights.

Stiff loves reusing glass bottles and jars as DIY lamps by simply filling them with fairy lights. This provides soft mood lighting both indoors and outdoors. “Place them around the pool and create the perfect summer ambiance,” she says. You can also fill the bottom with a little bit of moss and/or succulents to cover the battery pack.”

Store natural cleaning solutions.

If you have any excess Codd-neck bottles with built-in stoppers, these are great for storing homemade cleaners that contain vinegar, dish soap, rubbing alcohol, and more. Because the stoppers have a silicone plug and steel swing, they provide an airtight seal so you don’t have to worry about your DIY solution going bad or spilling. 

Create a party favor or personalized gift.

Planning what favors to give out at your child’s birthday party? Or perhaps you’re looking for something customized and handmade to give to your best friend? Stiff recommends Mason jars with airtight seals for food and drink party favors, such as homemade lemonade or freshly baked cookies, as they can be easily transported and are easy to clean. For a personalized gift, she says the possibilities are quite endless.

“You could make a friendship bracelet jar kit with beads, string, scissors, and charms, or you could make a baking-themed gift with sprinkles and a small spoon tied on the outside,” she says.

Recycle or donate them.

While certain glass bottles and jars, particularly Mason jars, are quite useful and multi-purpose, it might be time to give them a new home. Some thrift and antique stores and secondhand shops, such as Goodwill, will accept glass bottles in good condition. 

A total of 10 states, including California, Hawaii, and New York, currently have deposit programs specifically for wine and liquor glass bottles. This is the best option if you’d rather make a few bucks instead of donating these bottles or tossing them into your recycling bin.