If you’re like most Americans you indulge in an alcoholic drink every now and then, and even if you don’t drink, chances are someone you live with does. Don’t worry, that isn’t any kind of criticism – it’s a fact. A 2010 Gallup poll showed that 67% of Americans drink and the prevailing favorite beverage is beer (Newport, 2010). Just a couple of bottles of beer a week or a bottle of wine can quickly add up to a pile of empties. What’s a person to do with all that waste? Well, the responsible thing to do is recycle, but maybe recycling isn’t available in your area or perhaps you’d like to put those empties to some kind of use yourself…what then? There are a lot of great ideas out there that will allow you to uniquely reuse empty beer and wine bottles.
Here are a few quick and simple ideas:
- Make a vase – Place a few real or synthetic flowers in an empty bottle and, as simple as that, you have a new vase. You can use multiple bottles and arrange them in an interesting way for a more unique look; for example, smallest to largest.
- Make a candleholder – Stick a candle in an empty wine or beer bottle and voila – you’ve got a candleholder. Arrange multiple bottles in different patterns (smallest to largest, alternating colors, or etc.) for varying looks. You can simply display your new candleholder as a decoration or you can actually light the candle – the melted wax running down the bottle will create an all new visual effect.
- Create a border – If you have a flower bed or garden you can use empty beer or wine bottles to create decorative borders. All you have to do is bury the bottle upside down with the bottom uncovered. Try alternating colors or burying the bottles at various heights to create different looks.
- Create sun catchers – Fill empty bottles with water and arrange them however you like on a window sill. When the sun hits the bottles you’ll be rewarded with a dancing pattern of light that will brighten any room. If your bottles are clear and you’d like to add some color try dropping a little food coloring into the water. If you need a cork to seal the bottle visit your local craft store.
If you’re willing to invest a little money here are some additional ideas:
- Create decorative containers for flavored oils – Fill empty wine or beer bottles with olive oil and then add dried chillies, dried basil, or sun dried tomatoes to create great flavored oils. You can purchase plastic or metal pour spouts to make using the oil a little easier.
- Paint them – Use spray paint to dress up those empty wine or beer bottles. For instance, you can use chalkboard paint and then write and draw on the bottles again and again.
- Make a light – To turn your empty bottle into a light you’ll need a straightened out wire coat hanger, a glass drill bit (a 1/2 inch bit should work), and a strand of mini Christmas lights. You simply drill a hole near the bottom of the bottle making sure that the drill bit doesn’t get too hot (if it does the glass can crack). Then thread the strand of lights through the hole using the hook of the wire coat hanger to pull the lights up into the bottle.
Please note that the “make a light” project will probably work better with wine bottles than beer bottles as the glass is typically thicker on wine bottles (and therefore less likely to break). Whenever you’re cutting glass (including drilling) you should wear hand and eye protection and observe proper safety measures.
Whether you consider yourself craft-capable or not, there are tons of great and unique uses for those empty wine and beer bottles sitting in your recycle bin – or worse yet in your garbage can. From easy to requiring step-by-step instructions, there are plenty of ideas for you explore that are sure to result in one-of-a-kind decorations for your home. Don’t be afraid to get creative – after all, if it doesn’t work out you can blame it on the alcohol!
Lindsey Brickell is an alcohol training and safety writer that is interested in living a green and healthy lifestyle.
Source: Newport, F. (2010). U.S. Drinking Rate Edges Up Slightly to 25-Year High. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com/poll/141656/drinking-rate-edges-slightly-year-high.aspx