DIYdiy projects

diy wednesdays: bud vase trio

by the curiosity shoppe

budvasesBud Vase Trio by The Curiosity Shoppe

You’d think we’d had a baby with all the lovely flowers people have been sending us since we opened our Shoppe 2 weeks ago. We’re flattered and thankful…and completely out of vases. Luckily we’ve recently discovered the joys of glass cutting. We normally prefer crafts of the soft and fuzzy variety, so to pick up a hobby that requires fire, ice and glass has been a bit of a departure for us. But it turns out that cutting glass is easier than you’d think, and completely painless. With the surprising array of colors wine and beer bottles come in, you don’t have to be Tord Boontje to create a beautiful little bud vase trio. Click “read more” for the full instructions!

Have fun!
Derek and Lauren

Here’s what you’ll need:
Glass cutting kit (we like this one or this one)
Empty wine or beer bottles
Sandpaper for polishing cut edges
Ice cube

Making a vase out of a glass bottle isn’t rocket science, but it does take some practice. Don’t be upset or frustrated if you end up sacrificing a few bottles to the recycling bin before you master the fine art of scoring. To get started, adjust the cutter so that your bottle lies flat on the rollers with the scoring blade at your desired height. Using both hands, carefully roll the bottle towards you, keeping steady pressure as you create as straight a score line as possible around the entire bottle. Remember that to get a nice clean break in your glass it’s more important that the line be straight, not necessarily deep.

Now it’s time for the fire and ice. Light your candle, and holding the score line directly above the flame, slowly rotate the bottle for 20-30 seconds. Then do a few quick rotations so that the score line is evenly heated all around. Next, grab an ice cube and slide it along the score. This is where it gets interesting. If you hear any clicks or tiny cracking noises, this is a good sign. Most bottles won’t separate during the first round, so you may have to repeat the fire and ice routine a few times before the bottle magically (and cleanly!) snaps in two.

Soften the cut edges of the glass with sandpaper and you’ve got yourself a perfect little vase (or votive holder, or drinking glass)… Experiment with different sizes and heights and you’ll see that the possibilities are endless!

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  • thank you!
    i’ve been admiring those Tord Boontje pieces for so long and have wanted to try making them.
    hmmm, and the holidays are just around the corner…lots of wine to drink and vases to make!

  • I actually have a couple of the Tord Boontje vases. I wish I had known how to do this sooner! Thanks for the awesome project.

  • OH! This was actually the very first DIY project I introduced my husband to, about 3 years ago when we were still living with our parents and just boyfriend and girlfriend and it was SUPER easy and fun. Too bad his mom threw them all away thinking they were just broken bottles…

  • Tord Boontje is dutch! We’re proud to have so many great designers from our country that are doing well all over the world.

  • I have two questions – the link to the first glass cutter makes comments about how bad the glass cutter (of the second link) is – have you actually used both of these cutters and would recommend both of them equally?

    Also, it seems to me like with these glass cutters, you can cut only perpendicularly to the glass surface. Of course I would love to create some Tord Boontje type oblique cuts – but probably because his wife is a glass artist they have special ways of making these cuts, but is this in any possible for us hobbyists at home?

    Thank you!

  • i have the same question as felicity…regarding the critique of cutter #2. anybody have any input on this?

  • this is so great! I always want to my husband and I always want to keep the wine bottles, but we never know what to do with the with out making it look like a college apt. Thank you

  • felicity and lauren – I’m not a lot of help, but…I have the first cutter and it is as easy as the instructions above sound.

    And yes, you are correct that you can only do perpendicular cuts, not the fancy cuts at angles.

  • We have used the first cutter (Ephrem’s) and would recommend it. As for the second one (Armour), we have checked it out and it looks pretty similar, but we haven’t actually used it. It seems more widely available though, so we wanted to provide the link just in case.

  • Hi, I was wondering if there is some way to drill holes in glass bottles. I have been wanting to create lamp bases out of bottles and need to get wire out from the side. Any ideas?

  • Hey Reva:
    Yes! There are glass and tile drill bits out there. Ask for them at your local hardware store. I’ve drilled holes in bottles before, and though it’s not the funnest or most relaxing experience, it can certainly be done. And we definitely should have said this in our post, but please be careful and always take appropriate safety precautions. (Gloves and goggles for glass drilling.) Good luck!

  • I think i read something in Ready Made where they soaked a string in something flamable. Then they tied it around the bottle and lit it on fire. It looked scary to me. But cool. This looks safer. Perhaps I’ll try!

  • I am always looking for new ways to reuse things for easy/beautiful gifts, and this is just perfect! Any thing being reused as a gift is the best form of recycling!
    I recently made paper-cut into note card size and sent it off to Australia as a birthday gift to a far away friend.

  • You can try this with a water saw, which is much quicker, but you will need a dremel tool to grid the edge along with safety glass and a dust mask. The candle fire and ice is much cleaner and takes longer so it depends on which process you wish to try.

  • Same as Bruce, what grit sandpaper do you recommend in order for these to be drinking glasses?

    Thanks for all of the great ideas!!

  • Does anyone have any fail-safe tips for removing labels from bottles (wine and otherwise)? I save a ton of bottles and jars for projects just like this, but some labels are such a pain to get off that they’re just sitting there, taunting me.

    I’ve tried Goo Gone, to mixed results.

    Any ideas would be AWESOME!

  • Shirley – lighter fluid & a paper towel is what I always use to get label residue off. Just be sure to rinse your object off well.

  • To get the labels off, try steam. I have a stove-top tea pot that shoots the steam out the spout, so I just set the bottles in front of the steam, let it sit for a couple minutes (sometimes more) and the label should peel off fairly easily.

  • In regards to which cutter to get, I think I’ll go for the second one, I’m tired of so much mud-slinging. trash talking is SUCH a turn-off!

    felicity said:
    “the link to the first glass cutter makes comments about how bad the glass cutter (of the second link) is – have you actually used both of these cutters and would recommend both of them equally?”

  • In regards to getting labels off of wine bottles, I have two methods:

    1. Generously spray a type of degreaser (I use the orange one) over label and let sit for 20-40 minutes or until label can be easily scrubbed off. Rinse well. Seems to work well with European and American wines.

    2. Generously spray degreaser over label and then immerse in very hot water. Let soak 1-2 hours or until label peels off. Seems to work well with Australian wines.

  • hi there – i am saving labels for a wineart project for my hubby…I will try #2 Anna – sounds like the label would come off in one piece…now i fill the bottle with HOT water, let site and then maybe place in hot soapy water…this does not always work for the label to come off in one piece….

  • This is my favorite d*s diy project! TIP: I like to etch leaf or floral motifs on the vase after it’s been cut – see “message in a bottle” diy project.