How I Used Wine Bottles at Our Wedding

How I used wine bottles to decorate for my wedding

My husband is a romantic. On our first date, we went to a local winery for a tasting and then continued talking over a couple more glasses of wine. At the end of the tasting, he bought a bottle of the wine we liked the most. At one point I asked him if he planned to open the bottle this week and he replied that he did not, but he did not offer any other information either. I got the feeling he was going to save the bottle for something special. a few months later, we were talking about the bottle, and he admitted that he intended to save the bottle for a special occasion we celebrated. About four months after our first date, we returned to the same winery for a picnic dinner, and he proposed. When all was said and done, after we called our parents and took some pictures, we remembered to take the bottle we had shared that night with us. I had a few plans in mind for how to use bottles from the winery to decorate at our wedding!

wine bottle candle

I’ve made a hobby out of preserving beautiful wine bottles. You can see the ways that I’ve used wine bottles to decorate my home in this post. Given that the location of our first date and where we got engaged was at a local winery, I immediately knew I’d be incorporating a few bottles from that winery in our decorations. The winery was going to be too small to host the size reception we planned to have and since our wedding was going to be in the middle of July in Virginia, we didn’t even consider an outdoor reception. Considering that between our church ceremony and the reception, in true Virginia form, the sky turned black, opened up, and rain bucketed down for about 15 minutes,  I think our guests appreciated that decision!

My mom and I planned to save some money by doing all of the flower arrangements on our own, so I started looking for a way to incorporate more personal touches into our decorations. I called the winery where we met, briefly explained my goals for the decorations, and they were happy to save me three cases of empty bottles. I’m sure most wineries would be happy to help like that – usually the bottles are just recycled once they’re empty.

wine bottle table number holder

My first project was to create some candles in bottles that I chose to have burning near the bar, the guestbook, and the cake. I made them unscented since many people in my family have strong allergic reactions to scented candles and I didn’t want the candles to be overpowering.

The next way I used candles was a collaborative effort with my mom. We decided to insert these super clever lights that she found on Amazon into the bottles to light them up, and then attach the table numbers to the top of the fake cork that turned the lights on and off. My mom twisted wire around the cork, folded it upright, and then made a few more coils for the table number to slide into. With a small glue dot to make sure the numbers didn’t slip, they were the perfect height to be placed next to the low flower arrangement at each table.

Wine bottle decoration

Finally, I also placed the special bottle from our first date at our sweetheart table, and another few bottles around the reception venue to draw attention to our sign about our social media hashtag. Those bottles also had lights in them.

When all was said and done, I heard from many guests that they enjoyed the personal touches in the decorations that incorporated our love story. The decorations felt like we were welcoming people into our life and sharing a unique part of us. I still have the bottle from our first date – it is currently sitting on my desk. I love seeing it and being reminded of where we met!

Who else has used wine bottles to decorate? What did you do with the bottles? I’d love to hear about what you’ve done!

 

 

 

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Five Ways to Use Wine Bottles to Decorate Your Home

decorate with wine bottles

5 Ways to Use Wine Bottles to Decorate Your Home

Raise your hand if you’ve never chosen a bottle of wine entirely, or mostly, because of the cool label it has… Yeah – that’s what I thought. I’m no different than the rest of you – I love looking at all the different artwork and clever names on the bottles. In fact, just yesterday I bought a bottle of wine from Chrysalis Vineyards called “Shitz and Giggels.” To be fair, there is a good story behind the name of the wine also, but isn’t it a great name? So what do I do when I’ve enjoyed that cleverly named wine? I’ve always felt a little twinge of sadness when I recycle such a cool bottle. A while back, I decided I wanted to preserve those fun bottles. (You can see my story about how I started Wine Time Crafts in this post for a longer story.) Over the last few years I’ve started using wine bottles to decorate around my house.

wine bottle decorations on the bar

The major way that I preserve the beautiful bottles is by cutting them and making candles in them. I choose the scents I want – sometimes they are based on the artwork and sometimes they are based on my mood or the season we’re in. This past autumn I made a batch of Toasted Pumpkin Spice candles because I figured that even though I don’t care for pumpkin spice things, other people go bananas for them. Friends, when those candles were done, I was ready to claim them for myself because they smelled amazing. Everyone that smelled them has had basically the same reaction – “oh, yeah, this is really nice.” I think the magic of these is that they aren’t super sweet smelling – they have a more earthy, rustic smell that comes from the smokiness of the toasted in Toasted Pumpkin Spice.

 

blue wine bottle candle

ANYwhoooo, back to how I’ve decorated. A number of years ago I came across a beautiful bottle of wine from Portugal that immediately transported me back to when I visited Lisbon and Porto. The architecture was so unique and everywhere I looked, there were tiles and mosaics made of blue and white designs of all kinds. The label on the wine bottle was blue and white, and since I’m a sucker for anything blue and white (seriously – I have a blue and white salad bowl, serving trays, planters, even our wedding china is blue and white) I obviously bought a bottle and turned it in to a candle. The scent in this one is “Black Currant Tea.” If you like the idea of turning your favorite bottle into a candle, I’m your girl! I can customize a candle for you – check out my contact page here. Alternatively, if you just want a unique candle for yourself or as a gift, check out my store!

 

Another way I’ve used a wine bottle is by putting little lights in it and placing it on our bar. It is a nice addition and provides good mood lighting in the evenings. I used a bottle from a winery in Australia that I brought home because I went to George Mason University. I couldn’t pass up to opportunity to show a little Patriot Pride in my own unique way.

wine bottle jewelry holder

I’ve also used wine bottles to hold my bracelets – I put two bottles on my dresser and they help keep my jewelry from looking cluttered. In my bathroom, next to the tub, I’ve put a tapered candle inside a cute bottle. Clearly the candle has seen better days, but still!

This last wine bottle was such a cool find. My mom and I stumbled across it at a thrift store a few years ago. I love it because of the medallion and the shape. I keep meaning to look up the type of

fancy bottle

champagne or sparking wine that was in it, but I haven’t done it yet. I use the bottle to hold artificial flowers. Right now there are poinsettias in it because it is winter time, but I switch them out and also take it with me when I go places to sell my candles.

A final note – given that I am enjoying all this wine, I also am left with corks coming out my ears. One way I’ve used the corks is by putting them in a glass vase as a way to disguise the stems of a display of artificial flowers.

I’m sure there are plenty of other ways wine bottles can be used – I’d love to hear about how you’ve used wine bottles in new ways!

wine bottle tapered candlewine bottle lamp

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HOW DID I START MAKING WINE BOTTLE CANDLES?

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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