Friday, January 6, 2012

Breaking Bottles

OH WHAT FUN! Who doesn't enjoy breaking things? WICKEDLY DELIGHTFUL, RIGHT? Actually, no I'm not much of a breaker of things and frankly, broken glass frightens me. Still, ever since I saw a vid on you-tube for cutting bottles I've been wanting to try it. Oddly enough, the idea is a hot one (ha, no pun intended . . . guess that is only funny to me at this point in the post, read on . . . ) I've been seeing crop up in home decor items.

Of course, the following process could get interesting if you do not already have empty wine bottles, so drink up and then play with your bottles the next morning! SAFETY FIRST!

Seeing as I always save empty bottles and cans for ideas, I had plenty on hand for this quick project.

You will need the following:

- A bottle (I used a large wine bottle at room temperature)
- Yarn (Cotton String)
- Acetone (fingernail polish remover)
- A candle lighter
- Gloves (if you dislike the smell of Acetone which I do)
- Safety glasses (just in case)
- A sink filled with cold water

1) Wrap yarn around the end of your bottle a good 6 or 7 times, tie it, cut of the excess yarn at the knot and slide it off the bottle.

Yarn wrapped around bottle.  Aluminum foil will catch any dripping acetone.

2) Use the inverted cap of the acetone as a small dish.  Push your yarn into the cap and pour a bit of acetone into the cap making sure you push the yarn down into it so it's fully saturated.

Yarn pressed into cap and soaked with acetone.

3) Slide the yard back into position on the bottle near the location you want it to separate.

4) Wipe any excess, dripping acetone off of the bottle with a paper towel, hold it over the sink by the neck and light the yarn with a long stem type candle lighter.

5) Slowly wind (rotate) the bottle so the fire burns evenly around the yarn and keep the bottle end slightly angled so the hot air remains trapped within the bottle.

6) After the fire extinguishes itself which took less than a minute, plunge the bottle into the cold water.  The cracking will scare ya a bit but the lower portion with the trapped air will break free from the upper portion of the bottle.

Bolla bottle broke nicely, the Woodbridge bottle has a visible crack (my first attempt).

7) Use caution to remove the bottom portion of the bottle from the sink and also use caution around the end of the bottle you are salvaging.  You may elect to use some fine grit sand paper to carefully buff the edges of the bottle at the break point.

8) Also use extreme caution if you decide to wash the interior of the bottle, again due to the bottom edge.  I recommend using a handled sponge to clean the interior and then rinsing in hot water and allowing the inside of the bottle to air dry.

9) Place the bottle over a lit tea light and enjoy your cool creation.

A large empty tuna can makes a great inverted base for this large size bottle.

Or use a flat rock such as slate for a more organic base.

If you watch the video, you will see that she used a smaller bottle which probably also had a thinner glass. Due to this, her bottles broke right on the string whereas mine seemed to break below the yarn line in both attempts. The first attempt broke a tad crooked and also created a few cracks around the bottom where I didn't want ANY cracks. The second attempt broke clean and produced no cracks on the bottle.

Use extreme caution.  I don't know how safe or unsafe this process really is. I tried it, I lived to tell about it, I didn't have any issues. Just use common sense and good judgement if you attempt it.

FYI: Flatter bottom bottles work best, those with concave bottoms are difficult to break.

I tried this bottle twice and it wouldn't break!

A 3" diameter candle pillar fits nicely within.
It is on a shallow candle holder with a rim on which the bottle sits.

Note: If you use your bottle over a candle, the top of the bottle will get rather hot. When you go to extinguish the candle, lift the bottle from its base, not the top.

After a bit more research on this, I found another video that suggests the use of an actual bottle cutter for cleaner results. I found this Generation Green (g2) Bottle Cutter at Amazon which I'm going to purchase and experiment with. Apparently, one simple score of the glass, combined with pouring hot water onto the score (teapot hot), followed by cold water and then hot again (continually alternating as long as necessary), will eventually cause the scored part to simply separate in a much safer fashion than the "burning bottle" approach. Seeing as I want super clean breaks and smooth edges, this is probably the better approach. I'll post more info once I get my bottle cutter to let you know how well it works.

Sharing this at:
The Crafty Nest - Do Something Crafty Friday
Happy Hour Projects - Freestyle Friday
The Shabby Nest - Frugal Friday
Laurie Anna's Vintage Home - Farmhouse Friday
Nifty Thrifty Things - Nifty Thrifty Sunday
Lamb Around's Blog Hop


  1. Wonderful idea! I love it and since I've just started drinking wine I know I'm going to have lots of bottles. I went and found a video on youtube and it seemed like all the people commenting had problems getting it to break and having a dent left in the glass, so I might try it with beer bottles first, but thanks for the idea :-)

  2. Oh, and I just became your newest follower. I want to make sure to come back and check out your other posts. Happy New Year!

  3. @Alicia

    Hi Alicia! Thanks for the comments. Let me know if you need any help emptying those bottles. LOL.

  4. Missed this one..another great idea!!

  5. Wow. You're very creative. Love both recent candle crafts. You've got yourself a new follower. I have a feeling i'll come here often :)


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