For centuries, people have been enjoying wine. Wine can tie a meal together, unite friends and family, or even support and define a region’s culture and economy. The art on the bottles are often unique and creative, and bottles we can’t bear to part with represent important personal significance. But what can be done with an empty bottle once the wine is gone? Labels can be removed so the bottles can be painted or flattened to be used as plates. But what about if you want to keep the label?

That was a question I wondered as I enjoyed my nightly glass or two of wine after a long day of teaching fifth grade. The labels were so fun and artistic that I wanted to keep them. Also, I figured I might need a hobby to justify the rate at which I was going through my supply of wine (as if being an elementary school teacher was not enough of an excuse!) After lots of research (mostly on Pinterest, let’s be honest), I decided I wanted to try cutting the bottles to create candles inside them. Then I could have unique decoration, fill my home with delightful smells, and enjoy the art on the bottles much longer than bottles of wine typically last.

I set about trying to cut the bottles. While my roommate (with family in the fire department) was away, I first tried the method where you soak cotton string in rubbing alcohol, wrap it around the bottle, light it on fire for a bit, and then dunk it in ice water. Those few attempts failed. I then tried using a bottle cutting kit. I scored the bottle lightly, and alternated pouring boiling water and ice water on the score line until the bottle cracked apart. My first few attempts worked and I made some fun candles that friends and coworkers enjoyed. There was a downside though – in about four years of attempts, I estimate I had a less than 30% success rate. While I could drink wine fast enough to replace all the bottles that weren’t cracking on the line, my teacher salary couldn’t afford such a low success rate. I needed a better solution if I wanted a reliable way of cutting the bottles.

I started researching more about glass working and spoke to a local glass store. They quoted me some prices for cutting the bottles, but I was unhappy with the prices, so instead, I asked what tool they used. I figured it had to be cheaper in the long term to just by the same tool, rather than sourcing all my cutting to them.

Finally, about a year ago, I bit the bullet and bought a wet saw. That saw, in addition to being more awesome than any of my husband’s tools, changed my crafting life for good. I’ve spent the past year working on improving my process for cutting and sanding the bottles quickly and reliably. I’ve also been working hard at candle-making and building up a stock for my online store.

In June of this year, I resigned my teaching job to focus on personal matters, which included starting Wine Time Crafts LLC. With the amazing support of my husband, family, and friends, I’ve started a whole new adventure and am excited to see what the future holds for me and my wine bottles! Check out the beautiful candles for sale at my online store!

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