This Thursday’s post is brought is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for someone who is accident prone. There are several ways to try this DIY and I recommend this SAFE tutorial on HowChoo, but the end result will be the same. Beautifully crafted, indie label beer (or liquor) bottles that have been turned into amazing glassware.
No, I’m not joking, it’s a thing. When it’s done correctly, it’s both safe and beautiful and can also be made into gifts for… for… for any occasion, really. I’ve seen some that were crafted by artisan glass blowers at a handcrafter’s market, and they end up being such a neat gift. Now, the process to make them in the hope isn’t too difficult, but it does take a little bit of know how.
The process is all pretty simple and this is a way to do this without using fire. You do need some specific tools for this, and please make sure you have them. You’ll need some heat resistant gloves. If you’re using oven mitts, please be careful with how you’re holding the bottle and make sure that they have grip so that you don’t lose yours. You’ll also need a bottle cutter (you can check at your local hardware store or you can find them here, here, or here), as well as a large stock pot to boil water and a tall water pitcher (that can fit your bottle plus ice). You will also need some sandpaper (60 grit and 120 grit – so you can get a soft edge on the bottles), bike chain lubricant, or whatever your hardware specialists recommend for the bottle cutter blade), water, ice and your beer/liquor bottle.
One of the several bottle cutters that can be purchased.
So the process is simple! First, select bottles that have the labels “painted” onto the glass. If you can peel it off, it will not work. You can always find this on Corona bottles, and often micro-brewers will also often do this. They shouldn’t be too hard to find if you have a friend who loves craft beer. You should also wash your bottles before you do this so you can keep your tool clean. Use your cutter below the neck of the bottle so you can get the widest mouth for your glass. Be advised that glass cutters must be at a 90 degree angle to your glass so that it can cut properly, so make sure you’re not moving up the neck and making it more difficult to achieve this. Please follow the instructions on your glass cutter, and also use a test bottle first, so you’re familiar with using the tool.
You’ll need to “score” (make a continuous, light scratch) around the bottle and in glass cutting, the lighter the score, the better the separation, but if you score too deep, then the bottle will not separate. You also need to make sure not to go over your original mark either. As you can see, this is a fine art and it may take a couple of test bottles before you get the score you need. Your goal is to produce a continuous, barely audible scratching noise when making the cut. Apply a small amount of light oil to the cutting blade and holding the cutter securely in your hand, rotate the bottle until you’ve made one full rotation. You should hear a faint yet continuous scratching noise followed by a gravelly noise when you’ve circled the bottle entirely and ended up at the same place where you started your cut. Inspect your work: you should now see a thin, hair-like score surrounding the bottle.
Next is a hot/cold bath to use the power of science to help the scored sections separate. . The sudden temperature change will cause the bottle to separate perfectly wherever you’ve scored the glass. You need a pot of simmering water that’s large enough for the water to cover the score mark (with the bottle held upside down) and to not have too much water displaced so that it overflows. The same with your pitcher of ice water. Which should sit on the counter very close to your boiling water.
First, while wearing your protective gloves, submerge the bottle in the hot water so that the water covers the score line. Hold it for 5 seconds and then pull it out and submerge it into the ice bath for 5 seconds. Repeat these hot and cold baths until you hear a “pop” as the glass separates. If you have done your scoring well, then it should be a smooth edge. If you haven’t it may be jagged or cracked. Please throw any of those out. They’re dangerous.
Safety is very important. You can use a deeper bowl if you need more maneuverability.
Lastly, before you can use your fine creation, you need to make it less sharp so that you don’t cut your guest’s mouths as they drink from your masterpiece. Remember, safety first. So here is where you will need your sandpaper. You can use the paper that came with your bottle cutter or you can use regular sandpaper. Put some 60-grit sandpaper into a shallow bowl filled with water. Using both circular motions and rotations (like you’re putting salt on the edge of a martini glass), slowly rub the sharp edges of your new drinking utencil on the sandpaper. Always make sure you’re sanding in the water. Sand the inner and outer lips as well – anything that will touch your lips. Sand a second time with 120-grit sandpaper to make your edges smooth so that your work of art can be used without fear of blood loss.
Image courtesy of College Envy
Also, it should be noted there are tutorials that will teach you to do this using fire. I recommend the safer method that doesn’t have the potential to burn down your building.
And voila. You can make a set for you. For your friends. For your parents. For your siblings. For me.