Can glass be upcycled?
You most certainly can upcycle glass, and in quite a few ways. A pretty glass bottle could become a holder for all sorts of bits and pieces, such as teaspoons in the kitchen, pens and pencils at your desk, or brushes and makeup accessories on the dressing table. And there are endless possibilities for how to decorate them.
1. You could make your bottle into a holder or vase with a lovely matte finish by applying chalk paint.
It’ll look more like ceramic than glass. A pastel shade will give a contemporary look, or a darker shade could blend in with your home office colour scheme.
2. Masking tape is your best friend for creating reverse patterns, like a band of sparkly glitter on a painted or plain glass bottle.
You just need to tape the parts of the bottle that you don’t want to be covered and then spread some glue, followed by glitter spray on top. After removing the masking tape, you’ll have a nice clean band on your decorated bottle.
3. Blackboard paint makes an easy surface to write on.
It’s worth considering as an alternative to labels for kitchen storage bottles, which can peel away over time. This way, you’ll never again run the risk of mistaking your sea salt for sugar.
How do you upcycle a glass bottle?
Casually sticking a candle into the top of an empty wine bottle is a classic student way to create a makeshift holder. But there are plenty of recycled wine bottle projects that go way beyond this basic idea.
4. A transparent bottle can make an innovative outdoor candle holder, but not in the traditional way.
You’ll need a glass cutter to remove the base of the bottle and a wireframe to hold the candle in place. Then you just need to hook it over a branch or fence post, right way up, with the body of the bottle protecting the flame from being blown out by the breeze.
5. If you collect bottles of all the same colour, they can make an unusual feature along your garden path.
You can do this by sinking them into the ground, neck side down, side by side. If the bases of the bottles have dimples, so much the better – you’ll get tiny pools of water sparkling in the sunlight.
Can you spray paint wine bottles?
Spray painting is one of the most simple and satisfying recycled wine bottle projects you can do. An empty bottle, stripped of its labels with good old soap and water, is the raw material that you can work your magic on.
6. A spray-painted block colour, like all-over gold or silver, can turn an empty bottle into a stylish ornament.
That’s even before you’ve added an artistic arrangement of dried flowers or a single bloom. They also make a fantastic accessory for party decorations, such as an anchor for a helium balloon.
7. Home-made stencils made out of masking tape can add an individual touch to a spray-painted bottle.
It’s a good idea to run over the edges of the masking take with something like a bank card or metal ruler to make sure there are no air bubbles in there. Then you can go ahead and spray stars, crescents, stripes or any shape you like.
What else can you make with empty glass bottles?
One of the best things about clear glass is that, well… you can see through it. This makes it super-useful for storage. You just need a glance to find what you’re looking for. No more rummaging through a collection of assorted shapes and sizes of nails, tacks and screws to find the exact one that you need for your DIY project. (Don’t worry – we’ve done it too!)
8. You can turn small glass bottles or jars – like the kind baby food comes in – into a magnetic tool rack.
Then you’ll be able to put your hands on what you need straight away. You’ll need some glass containers with metal lids and some magnets to glue inside them. Once you’ve lined them all up on a metal sheet, you’ll be able to see exactly what’s there. This works well with a kitchen stainless steel splashback. If it turns out you need labels after all, you can stick them to the base of the bottle. Or you could just write on them with a marker pen.
How to upcycle glass milk bottles
A milk bottle can make a stand-out container for a thoughtful gift, like bath salts or small wrapped sweets. You just need to decorate it so it looks the part.
9. You could give your milk bottle an elegant look by covering it in deep-shaded chalk paint.
Once dry, you can paint over the base layer in a paler shade, and then gently rub down the surface to create an antique effect. The addition of some glitter paint spray or a ribbon will make it look extra special.
10. A simple coating of white chalk paint can turn a milk bottle into a tasteful gift container.
For a Christmas gift, a little scarf made of felt fabric wrapped around the neck of the bottle will give it some festive character. Or you can go for the full snowman look by glueing some spare buttons down one side, followed by a quick dusting of silver glitter.
Upcycled beer bottle glasses
Beer bottles come in all shapes and sizes. If you have a variety of them, you can create a colourful collection of upcycled goodies. If your favourite tipple is always the same brand, no worries – why not just go with the flow and make yourself a matching set?
11. It’s easy to make drinking glasses from beer bottles.
You just need the right tools, like a glass cutter, a hand sander and some wet and dry sanding paper. The cutter will make a scored line around the bottle where you want the break to be. Then it’s just a matter of giving it the hot and cold water treatment for a clean break. This involves pouring near-boiling water into the bottle (held over the sink) followed by ducking it in a bowl of cold water. The bottle should easily fall away after a couple of rounds of this. However neat the cut, it’ll still need sanding to make sure you’ve got a perfectly smooth edge that’s fit to drink from.
Recycled glass bottle art projects
Are you aiming for something even more creative for your left-over glass bottles? How about a garden decoration like no other?
12. A glass bottle peacock will make your garden the envy of your neighbourhood and it’s easy to make.
If you happen to have a sturdy metal sunburst frame lying around the house or tool shed, all well and good, but most of us don’t. You can make one out of cylindrical wooden rods fixed together with sturdy wire. A central upright covered in a shiny blue bottle is the basis for the bird, while alternating blue and green bottles can cover the spokes forming a fan shape around the central bottle. Acrylic paint will help to give the bottles a peacock feather look. Now all you need is the head. A cone of wood, painted bright blue with a white eye stripe should do the trick. And for the finishing touch, how about a peacock crest made of spray-painted blue carpet tacks on top of its head?
We hope you’re feeling inspired to try out a few glass bottle recycling projects for yourself. And why stop there? Once you’ve run out of glass bottles, you could take a look at our Gumtree article on ways to upcycle plastic bottles.