diy wednesdays: wine bottle candle holder

regardless of how crazy our lives get, we always need to spend time with friends and family. we’ve recently started hosting a regular sunday dinner at our apartment, where we invite a couple friends over to hang out, catch up and eat some homecooked food. all these guests mean a lot of empty wine bottles. but instead of recycling them, we decided to recycle a project we posted last year. using the same technique we showed you to make the bud vase trio, we simply cut these bottles at different heights to create a bunch of new vases, and some great new candle holders. and there it is. an entire tablescape for next sundays dinner. click here for the full project instructions, or just click “read more” below.

have fun!
derek & lauren

editor’s note: i just wanted to extend a big congratulations to derek and lauren on their new book, show me how: 500 things you should know: instructions for life from the everyday to the exotic! it’s full of fantastic practical advice- check it out here!

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 or candle holders 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 candle holder, or drinking glass)… Experiment with different sizes and heights and you’ll see that the possibilities are endless!

  1. Joby says:

    Congratulations Derek and Lauren! I am going to rush out and buy your book! Hope to see you soon…let us know if you are coming to L.A. for a book signing!


  2. Cathleen says:

    Go Green, Love this….. :-)

  3. Emma Reilly says:

    I love the idea, and I love the wallpaper in the picture! Would you mind sharing some details?

  4. lauren says:

    Hi Emma,

    The wallpaper is the “Family Tree” pattern from Ferm Living (

  5. Kristan says:

    Love the idea!! Especially with the different types and shapes/sizes of bottles, it looks so “casual chic.”

  6. Not only do these re-use empties…but the project sounds like so much fun! I never knew how to score a bottle before using “fire and ice”. Super alchemy!

    I think I’m going to bring this as a project to do with my friends and their kids over xmas. (supervised of course)

  7. brand-eye says:

    this is awesome. we go through a lot of wine!
    any suggestions on candles? do you just scrape away the bottom sides until it fits?

  8. Nice! We used our neighbors’ extra wine bottles as vases at our wedding. This is a fabulous idea–I love them as candle holders too!

  9. This is a really cool idea. I think it would look really nice with some back lighting to really make them glow.

  10. cindy says:

    gosh, if I saved all my wine bottles and made some of these i’d be able to make one for everybody in the state of Arizona ;o) SO BRILLIANT tho.. I’m going to try this out, thanks for the post!

  11. Hazel says:

    Shades of Grade 7 “Options” Class. We used the K-Tel bottle cutter.

    Anyway, I’ve put your book in my shopping cart for my 14 year old son. It got GOOD reviews

  12. Nice idea…and a great way to recycle used wine bottles. Definitely a nice accent piece, that offers an interesting twist on the traditional candle holder.

    Congrats on the book!

  13. sarah says:

    congrats on the book!! just added it to my list. :)

  14. Karissa S. says:

    Great idea! I actually have seen another method to cut a bottle in half without needing a kit. You need a piece of string and some other basic household items. I love your idea and will try it out for sure!

    Isn’t that awesome?

  15. Lecia says:

    I love this look and the sustainability aspect!

  16. kelly says:

    d*s are you serious? This is just as tacky as the old wax-drip-covered-wine-bottle-as-candleholder.

  17. John says:

    Great idea to use the bottles and not throw them away.

  18. eh says:

    Wow Karissa – amazing! I wonder if it really works?! Anyone know?

  19. Holly says:

    This was a craft that was popular in the early 1970’s, nice to see it back again.
    My dad cut bottles for vases and pen and brush holders. Then the tops were always for candles.

  20. Cathy says:

    Wow, this brings back memories. I remember learning how to do this in the early 70’s for a Junior Acheivement project and then we had to sell them to earn money for JA.

  21. Catherine says:

    I’ve tried the second bottle cutter and have had very few good results. This one, which is a bit more expensive, but definitely worth the extra cost, is great.

  22. Gosh!!!! I was so stupid to have wasted a lot of wine bottles. This idea is so damn hep…… I am definitely going to use my next bottles as candle holders to decorate my home and to gift my friends as well. Thanks for sharing this..

  23. yolanda says:

    Hi, I just want to thank you . I¨m sure I¨ll enjoy using all the wine bottles I can find at home. And they will loolk wonderful on my table.

  24. Rikesh says:

    nice post :0)
    i’ve just tried it but the glass get covered with carbon from the candle, is that normal?

  25. AnonymousRex says:

    Nail polish remover!
    I use it to get everything off most anything.

  26. Nicolette says:

    I pledge to all things green, handmade, and sustainable. This fits all three.

  27. John Chen says:

    Wow!…Such a good idea…amazing!

  28. candle holders are a wonderful centerpiece for your special events and can also add romantic feel which is much needed in today’s world. Moreover, there are many ways using which one can decorate his office or house to add a distinct look to your house.

  29. Salt crystal candle holders are made of salt crystals mined in the Himalayan Mountains. Salt candle holders are usually a large solid crystal, which has been drilled to hold a candle or is crushed to lay in a bowl with a candle set in the smaller rocks. They are light orange or yellow in color and glow softly when the candle is burning. The salt candle holders can be shaped or left in a natural rock formation.

  30. Michelle says:

    What grade of sand paper do you find works best?

  31. very interesting bottles, good invention


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