DIY – How to Turn a Wine Bottle Into a Vase or Votive

I fell in love with these centerpieces:

they were quirky, different and I loved how the uhule/fiddlehead fern scroll matched the scroll in our invites. There was just one problem:

Each centerpiece would use three vases, and cylinder vases add up! Currently they’re about $3.99 for the tallest one, but at $12 per tables and multiplied by 13”¦it just came to be too much. I also wanted many votives on the mantle to give the house a warm candlelight glow. While calculating these with my dad he made the obvious suggestion, why not get a bottle cutter and create vases/votives?

I quickly found Ephrems bottle cutter here and purchased it. I figured the $40 would be worth it, as I’m always up to add another craft skill to my repertoire. I told my bridesmaids and friends to get drinking, because we’d need a lot of wine bottles for this project, and many wine corks for another.

There is a less caloric and less liver abusing option though: Head to a wine bar and ask for their old bottles.

So with our cases of empty wine bottles in hand we began the process.

Step one: Clean the bottles and soak them to remove the labels. Some will peel off easily, some will scrape off, but you should NOT use the X-Acto knife. Otherwise, you’ll cut yourself like one of my MOHs did.

Step two: Score the bottles using the bottle cutter. I had my dad do this because he is handy and the sound of scoring glass is equal to nails on a chalkboard. Remember to maintain pressure on the bottle towards the back end of the bottle cutter. The lines should be even and match up with each other at the end.

Step three: Get in touch with your inner pyromaniac. Slowly rotate the scored line of the bottle over a candle flame. Maintain inward pressure on the bottle (gently gripping and pushing the neck and the dimple/bottom rim toward the center). MOH MB had a great system of 2 sloooow rotations over the flame combined with step four.

Step four: Break out the ice. Take an ice cube and quickly make your way around the scored edge to quickly cool the bottle.

Step five: Repeat steps three and four as necessary. Often the bottle will sort of slide off the edges.

Here is the finished product!


This takes a fair amount of patience. DO NOT try to force the bottle. You’ll end up with rough edges, glass shards and a ruined bottle. Bottles range in thickness so some bottles will be easier than others. Seriously, only tackle this project if you are either A) blessed with patience or B) willing to learn patience (after my 2nd broken bottle, I learned!).

I recommend only tackling a case of bottles at a time, because it does get tiring and they add up over time. The darker colored ones will be used as votives with a floating candle in them for the mantles and the clear ones will be centerpieces.

I’m excited, because I don’t think I’ll ever buy a votive holder again. “Found” elements are important to me and I’m glad I could give these bottles a second chance at life!

Are you planning on DIY-ing your centerpieces?


Mrs. D'orsay

Baltimore/Lancaster UK
Wedding Date:
August 2016
Jamaican Locations, Part Un
Sweet Swap
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    stackable plastic, Guest @ 10:49 am

    My husband and I have been searching for this info.
    Wanting to know in the event you will likely be posting extra about this later on
    – will bookmark and come back

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    MoJo, Guest @ 11:03 am

    It is SO great to see someone actually using a bottle cutter….rather than the viral method of setting a string tied around the bottle on fire!! Cudos to you for providing the appropriate tutorial and realistic warnings for patience. Bravo to you I say, Bravo!!!

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