Sign up for the Daily Sip

Your daily dose of wine knowledge.
Fun, short emails featuring wines, winemakers, regions, gadgets and more.

Email Address
Sign up to receive The Daily Sip for free
 Filed as : EntertainingHolidays

Eat, Drink, And Make Decorations

Dec 6, 2011
Eat, Drink, And Make Decorations
Corks and empty wine bottles piling up? Use them to make festive decor

christmas treeThe inch around your waist isn’t the only thing Thanksgiving left you with. You also have piles of corks and empty wine bottles. Good thing we at Daily Sip know something about DIY décor. With a glue gun and a lot of festive cheer, you’ll be able to turn these wine recyclables into menorahs, wreaths, and place holders for your holiday dinner tables.

Here are some of our favorite ways to deck the halls, oenophile style, this holiday season:

1. Used corks make fantastic stands for place-cards or photos of gatherings. Simply take an X-acto knife or other sharp blade to make an inch-long slice on the top of your corks. Write your guest’s name on a business-card sized place holder and stick it in the opening. Tie a small bow in the center of the cork using red and green ribbon for Christmas (blue and white for Hanukkah). Bonus points if you match corks to each guest’s wine preference!

2. Add sparkle to the room with a mix of corks and traditional holiday ornaments in a hurricane vase or on your tree. The rustic corks balance the bling without cutting down on festive cheer.

3. Of course, wine bottles make stellar centerpieces. For a DIY oil lamp, fill a bottle with lamp oil, and thread a wick through the cork. (We use Winelight toppers as a shortcut.) Too much work? Use some candlesticks, and call it a day.


4. Cork wreaths require a bit more work. You’ll need a 12-inch straw wreath, twine, glue gun, high temperature glue sticks, and, depending on how thick you want your wreath, 75 to 150 corks. Tie the twine around the wreath leaving a two-inch opening.  This is what you will use to hang the wreath.

5. Crafty enough to make a menorah?  According to this DIY project inspired by Ready Made magazine, you’ll need nine empty wine bottles (rinsed and dried, labels removed), a bottle cutter kit (available at craft shops), ice cubes, nine candles plus one for heating bottles, matches, and a towel.

Determine how tall you want your bottles. Make sure you have a sturdy guide for the bottle when you rotate it on the cutter so your etch line will be even. Using both hands, rotate the bottle in one motion, applying even pressure. Light the candle, removing the bottle from the cutter. Hold the etch line above the lit candle to heat the cut.

If it gets too hot, you will hear the bottle crack. If you don't heat it enough, the glass won't break off. Remove the bottle from the candle heat and apply ice along the circumference of the etch line, letting it drip over the towel.

The change in temperature should cause the end of your bottle to break off. If it doesn’t, using the towel, hold the end that needs to break off and gently twist. If it still doesn't budge, dry off the bottle and repeat the steps. Wipe the end of the cut bottle and set aside. Repeat steps for each bottle.

Next, set your small glass plate on a level surface and sprinkle a teaspoon of the carbide polishing powder that came with your kit and a quarter teaspoon of water onto the glass plate. Set the cut side of one of the bottles down on the glass plate.

Rotate the bottle on the glass in a figure 8 motion. The polishing powder and the water, combined with the rotating grind, will give the cut end a smoother edge. This process takes about three minutes per bottle. Wipe the bottle edge clean and set aside. Repeat for all the bottles. Place your candles in the bottles and display the menorah on a piece of fabric.

What is your favorite way to decorate with wine recyclables? Share it below.


Previous Sip

Around Australia in 80 Sips
Around World in 80 Sparkling Sips

Found in Vathipetro, a Minoan villa on Crete, what is the earliest evidence of winemaking in Greece, dated to 1600 B.C.?