I’ve not been doing a great deal of bottles in the last few weeks, with the exception of today where I knocked up a couple of wine bottle hangers and cleared out a lot of bottles I wasn’t getting round to finding a use for. I’ve been busy again on another term on a local creative glass course, doing copper foil and lead came designs. I still like doing both hobbies a great deal, and it’s nice to think of more ways to combine the two skill sets in some way.
I’d just finished a Rennie Mackintosh style design from scratch, as a gift for my mother, which I’d made to fit a candle mount I’d bought from the Creative Glass Guild in Bristol . I used black backed copper foil, and finished it in black patina to match the frame, and was very satisfied with the overall effect. Though the flat candle plate was plenty wide, I wanted to have a more ‘containing’ method of holding the tea-light behind the glass panel, to make sure it didn’t stray too close to the panel. I used a scuffed beer bottle that I had picked up from the street, and cut the bottom off about 5mm higher than a tea-light. A neat edge arriss, and a double sided pad was all that was needed to complete the task, making a more functional option for the stand. A nice, neat little use of a scruffy bottle that was pretty much good for nothing else. I guess these could be useful little tea-light pots for other uses, like on dining tables, as they help prevent them being knocked over and contain any stray hot wax. They can be bought commercially in various glass, pot and resin materials, but it’s nice to upcycle and make something from nothing yourself from an abundance of wasted beer bottles.
I was quite pleased to find an unusual demi-john style bottle abandoned on a street corner the other week, which is something I’ve been wanting to try for a while, to see how well the bottle cutters can cope with a much bigger diameter bottle. This two litre cider bottle was approximately 130mm in diameter, and was in perfect condition despite being a street find, probably because it’s got it’s own ring handle. I intended to cut the bottle low down, and hopefully create a tall, bottomless bottle to use as a hurricane shroud on a routed wooden base.
First step was to clean off the large label, which too quite a while due to a strong glue. When clean, the bottle felt the most comfortable on the Ephrem’s bottle cutter, where it sat nicely using my home-made jog as the stop. It rotated well, but the cut did stutter a bit, probably due to the wheel reaching the end of it’s useful life. I used a manual glass cutter to join the cut line misses, and hoped for the best in the water breaking process. Sadly the cut ran a touch, so I repeated the cut an inch or so up on the Ephrem’s after an light oiling of the wheel. A second and third attempt also failed, so I gave a fourth and final chance to the G2 bottle cutter. The cut was clean, light and neat and looked promising, but sadly split vertically like a seam beyond a point of saving the top. Some you win, some you lose, even after several hundred bottles of experience.
I looked at the bottle bottom from the first cut, and though it had run over the original scoreline, it was perfectly save-able given enough elbow grease on the diamond pads. I set about doing that, this time using a full four pad range of grades, taking about thirty minutes to get a good standard of finish. It made a decent sized bowl for any number of uses. Though I was really looking forward to using the top half of the bottle, it’s still worthwhile to make something from nothing with any bottle you salvage from an inevitable broken mess on the street.
I’ve been meaning to try a bottle as a pendant light shade for a while, just to try and suss out how the fittings sit without any extra parts, but never got round to it. A suitable whisky bottle was donated, with a wider neck neck hole than a wine bottle, so I figured it would just snugly hold the light fitting nicely, which was the case in the end. I cut the bottle bottom off using the Ephrem’s bottle cutter, leaving an immaculate cut edge, and finished it to a very smooth edge using the diamond pads. I fitted the bottle onto the pendant, and it gripped the light fitting firmly without requiring any further modification. Quite a simple and unimaginative one really, but I’ll maybe play around with it to improve the look somehow, maybe by decorating the bottle with coloured nuggets. It’s pictured here with an energy saving bulb, but might look better with a regular bulb.