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How to Make a Vase from a Wine Bottle1

As I thought about toasting an anniversary dinner with pomegranate liqueur, I was again struck by the elegance of the heavy bottle.  I resolved to cut that bottle into a clear glass vase for hand-made crêpe paper poppies for St. Valentine’s Day.   A bouquet of poppies would offer winter color, last longer and be cheaper than real flowers — a lovely present for a friend who appreciates hand-made gifts.

My misplaced bottle-cutting jig probably would not have cut the heavy glass, but the substituted tile wet saw and belt sander worked wonders.  I bought sparkling glass beads to put in the bottle for ballast.  However, the commercial bottle printing could not be removed!  No amount of paint remover or elbow grease had any effect — even the bar code seemed permanent. 

So, my elegant clear glass vase is instead a sturdy stoneware vase, sprayed with a stone-simulating paint advertised to adhere to glass.  It has a different character from my original vision, but it was a great project — one that exceeds the common concept of “recycling.”  The vase and poppies would make an excellent parent/child project, with mama and daddy making the vase and then supervising the child making the poppies.  Watch for my next post on making poppies!

Vase Materials: 

  • wine bottle
  • paint remover (optional)
  • paint and top coat (optional)
  • sandpaper
  • ammonia-based cleaner and gloves


  • tile wet saw or bottle-cutting jig, depending on thickness/fragility of your glass bottle
  • band saw (optional)
  • belt sander (optional)
  • bamboo/stick
  • safety glasses, breathing mask, and fence

1.  Choose a bottle and decide where to cut for an elegant shape and opening that suits your flowers. Fine, brittle glass is more likely to break, while cutting the bottle neck requires a fence to protect your fingers!

2.  Cut a yoked fence with a band saw to support the bottle neck and keep your fingers away from the wet saw blade.  Cutting a bottle’s wide cylindrical body is easier, but a square-bodied bottle will shift as you roll it up on its corners.  Adding a round disk with a square hole over the bottom should let it roll levelly. 

3.  Score and cut with the tile wet saw in two steps, rolling the bottle toward you.  If you use a bottle-cutting jig, follow the manufacturer’s directions, typically scoring a light cut line, heating it with a candle, and tapping from inside along the score. 

4.  Smooth the cut with sandpaper.  A belt sander works, but press lightly to avoid shredding.

5.  Scuff the glass with sandpaper IF YOU PLAN TO PAINT.  Roughen every surface and crevice to make the paint adhere.

6.  Wear gloves while you wash the bottle with an ammonia-based cleaner before painting to remove oily fingerprints. 

7.  Insert bamboo into the bottle to support it upside-down while you spray paint.  Work outside to avoid fumes and follow paint manufacturer’s directions for application, number of coats, and drying time.

Later this week:  How to Make Paper Poppies

text and photos by Sandra Simmons

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One Trackback

  1. By How to Make Crepe Paper Poppies | Fix It Yourself on February 11, 2011 at 11:20 am

    [...] is a great way to team up with younger kids if you combine the handmade flowers with your handmade glass vase.The crinkled crepe paper will cover flaws, eliminating any need to make them perfect or even [...]

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