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DIY Wedding Challenge 2010: Make Your Own Vases and Votives


Since about a week into planning my wedding, I have been looking forward to purchasing a glass cutter to make DIY vases out of wine bottles. I finally took the plunge and purchased a glass cutter for a "whopping" $35.50 including shipping!

So my Friday night consisted of making three glass vases...until the power went out, and I decided to go to bed with a book and a flashlight instead of continuing in the darkness (probably a good safety call).

Here's what I did...

Step One: Gather Your Supplies

My bottle cutter kit came with Ephrem's Bottle and Jar Cutter, two guides (a long version and a quick version), candle, polishing paper and polishing powder. Everything you need minus the bottles!

We drink a decent amount of wine, so I've just been saving the bottles. We also have a friend that works at a winery, and she will be saving all of their clear bottles for us to use.

You can get your bottles for free by visiting restaurants and wine bars in your area.

Step Two: Remove the Labels

I decided I didn't want labels. I imagined if I were doing something else with them, the labels might be a nice touch, just not what I'm going for.

 Here's my practice bottles in their bathtub.

Unfortunately, I decided to start with the clear bottle. I say unfortunately because this is the only bottle I actually wanted to use as a vase, and I should have waited until I had the process down - and I would advise you do so, too. Ah well, live and learn!

Step Three: Place the Bottle in the Bottle Cutter and Spin!

 This part is somewhat easy. You just adjust the back stop to get the length of vase you want, then spin the bottle towards you, applying light backwards pressure while you rotate.

Step Four: Heat It Up

To start the breaking process, you have to get your scored glass nice and hot - but not too hot! I learned the hard way what overheating can do. It leads to cracks, and unfortunately I was so worn out from my day that it took me until my third bottle until I finally reread the directions to find this out. Whoops!

Step Five: Cool It Down

I didn't take pics of the cooling phase, but you basically take a cube of ice and immediately start rubbing it on the hot scored line.

Step Six: Repeat!

To crack the bottle, you repeat the heating and cooling steps several times, until it cracks all the way around. Then you just gently tug up on the neck of the bottle, and it should come right off. You don't want to force it, it'll happen when it's good and ready.

Then you'll end up with something like this (hopefully without the crack from getting a spot too hot!):

Step Seven: Polish That Baby Up

The kit comes with some polishing paper, and this gritty compound to smooth out the top of your glass. I got around to this part right as the power went out in my neighborhood, so I decided to call it a night (I would have wanted to re-cut the above anyway).

You definitely don't want to leave these guys unpolished - those edges are sharp, man, really sharp!

Step Eight: Pat Yourself on the Back - You Made a Vase!

Here's my vase, all dolled up with some river rocks, a (fake) flower, and a floating candle:

  Inspiration: (Photo from The Knot)

Last Updated: August 3, 2013 at 11:32 pm
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