I love the green, blue, and white glass that wine bottles are made of. And after a bit of research, I found that there are loads of projects I can do to utilize wine bottles long after I’ve taken my last sip of their contents. Let’s start upcycling our wine bottles!
BENEFITS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT: When improperly disposed of, glass bottles take up valuable landfill space and can take up to 4,000 years to decompose!1 Recycling—while much better than throwing bottles away—requires energy to run equipment and power transportation to and from recycling centers.
Cost: Low. Wine bottles are free and abundant. Even if you don’t drink wine, you can ask friends and neighbors to save theirs for you, or you can visit local restaurants to see if they have any left over.
Time and effort: Varies, low to medium, depending on the chosen project.
Easy Home Projects
This project requires zero skills. Buy a tapered candle, shove it in the bottle, light it and you’re done.
It’s easy to scrape the labels off of wine bottles if you soak them in warm, soapy water. Clean bottles make perfect vases for long-stemmed flowers.
Wine bottles are great for watering your potted plants, especially if you are the forgetful type. Fill the bottle, tip it upside down, and stick it into your potted plants at an angle. The slow drop will keep your plants hydrated.2
Dish Soap Dispenser
All you need to make a soap dispenser is a pour spout, which you can buy at any kitchen supply store.
Cooking and Dip Oil Bottles
If you buy enough pour spouts, you can also store oil and salad dressing in your old wine bottles. If you are really feeling inspired, you can paint your bottle to add whimsical flair.3
You can use wine bottles as a base for a lamp. Most hardware stores sell very affordable lamp-making kits.4
More Challenging Home Projects
Wine Bottle Shelving
If you are experienced enough with drilling holes and building bookshelves, you may want to try making recycled shelving units. They may seem like a disaster waiting to happen, but they are actually very strong.6
Wine Bottle Chandelier
It seems like these things are all the rage now. Unfortunately they are also outrageously expensive! But if you are willing to spend some time, it is possible to make a fairly good replica using a pine topper, drill, rotor clip retaining rings, and mounting chain, of course along with your empty wine bottles! For detailed instructions, read here.
Wine bottles can be used as classy modern torches with the right copper equipment, tiki wick, and torch fuel. 9
If you are very careful to avoid getting cut, you can turn wine bottles into drinking glasses using a glass cutting method.11
Garden Path or Planter
If you’ve got lots of old wine bottles, you can turn them upside down and bury them in the dirt to make a nice sun-catching garden path or border.
Wine bottles can be strung together with fishing wire to make wind chimes.
Channel your Creative Side
If you are the creative type, try creating a bottle tree or other folk-art piece for your yard!
Reuse the Corks Too!
Wine Cork Trivet
The Spanish design company Ciclus sells an aluminum tray that you fill with your old wine corks to create a hot plate or trivet. You could also take inspiration from their product and somehow fashion your own trivet design. 15
Wine Cork Bath Mat
By cutting approximately 175 wine corks in half and hot-gluing them to a mat, you can create this fabulous bath mat.16 All it takes is a lot of corks, and a lot more patience than I have ☺
Cork Board. You can also make a real corkboard out of wine corks. To do this, glue cork halves onto a mat similar to the way you would for the bath mat, then frame using a large picture frame and tack up your favorite pictures and quotes.
Mulch. Put slices of cork into the blender. It makes great mulch and helps your garden retain water.
For more sustainability with your wine drinking, try going organic!