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Weekend Project: A Candelabra Made From Old Bottles

7/22/2011 11:37:47 AM

Tags: DIY candelabra, reuse water bottles, turn bottles into a candelabra, DIY reuse, upcycling, bottle-cutting, Susan Wasinger, Robyn Griggs Lawrence

Robyn Griggs Lawrence thumbnailOne of the many things I loved about working with art director Susan Wasinger at Natural Home was her knack for finding craft projects that had long ago lost their luster—and giving them a contemporary spin.

 Remember bottle-cutting? Back in the ‘70s everyone was using those as-seen-on-TV kits to make drinking glasses and vases. Susan took a look at all the beautiful shapes, sizes and colors that bottled mineral water comes in these days and found a way to revive that dying art. Here, she uses capped mineral water bottles to make a lovely candelabra. And if this iteration seems a little too complicated for a July weekend, consider making her bottled-light centerpiece. It’s perfect for patio dining.

 use this one 

Blue mineral water bottles—too pretty to recycle—make a lovely candelabra. Photo by Susan Wasinger 

 bottle candelabra 1 

1. Use a hose clamp as a guide to score a clean bottle with a glass cutter. Go over the line only once.

bottle candelabra 2 

2. Heat the scored line thoroughly with a candle flame.

bottle candelabra 3 

3. While still warm, run an ice cube over the scored line. With a little pressure, the bottle will break easily along the line.

bottle candelabra 4 

4. Use wet emery paper to smooth the edge of the bottle.

bottle candelabra 5 

5. Use a hole cutter to drill three holes in a scrap of half-inch birch plywood about 2 feet by 4 inches. The holes must be at least 11/2 inches for the bottlenecks to fit through. Save the “holes” for use as part of the finial at the bottom.

bottle candelabra 6 

6. Drill the plywood ends for the suspension cable. We used (3/32 inch) steel cable and ferrules from the hardware store. Be sure to get soft aluminum ferrules that require only a hammer to crimp the cable together.

step 7 

7. Send the wick down through a hole poked in the cap, then through the plywood circle, and the bead. Bring it back up through the plywood circle, then the cap. Tie the wick tightly against the cap and leave one end of wick about 8 inches long. Send the long end of the wick up through the pipe, into the bottle’s neck, and out the top. Use a pea-sized piece of wax to stopper the hole on the inside of the cap. Screw the cap on.

8. Melt approximately 8 ounces of wax. Hold the wick straight up as you pour the wax into the bottles. To eliminate leaks, add 1/4 inch of wax first, then wait for it to set before filling the bottle the rest of the way.

work this time 

Bottled Spirits: A Variation

Drill a large hole in a 6-inch square plywood scrap. Two strips of 1- by 2-inch trim become feet for the wooden platform. Cut the bottom inch off a clean wine bottle, then stuff a short, 25-bulb string of holiday lights inside. The plug end is sent out the bottom through the hole in the platform. A spare drawer knob tops it all off.

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Post a comment below.


7/28/2011 3:22:19 PM
Gladys, thank you for pointing out so succinctly what many of us were thinking...I love this project, whether it's for a back porch, wedding decor, Christmas, any other celbration/holiday or just to fit in with a theme...maybe the religious platforming that occured when the white lights were labeled as *gasp* "holiday" lights should be limited to sites where other peoples' views are equally as judgemental and condemnatory. What a very weird place to take such a cowardly snipe...

7/28/2011 11:58:26 AM
What lovely ideas from bottles. So pretty. Many people need to get over themselves and stop throwing hissy-fits at others,~~~~ they are simply string lights.

7/27/2011 10:21:47 PM
Dino, I think it's bizarre that 1) you chastised the author for calling the lights "holiday lights" instead of "Christmas Lights". 2) that you think that white lights are Christmas lights. 3) that you think that Christmas is the only holiday that lights are used. 4) that you think that Christians that celebrate Christmas are the only people that use lights, I mean what about Jews that celebrate Channukah and also use lights. 5) and that even if the author was trying to be "politically correct" , that somehow that is wrong for wanting to include all creeds and cultures. You need to just get over yourself. Its not all about you, and your lifestyle, you know?

7/27/2011 4:28:38 PM
I really like this project and my daughter and I will definetly be trying this. I don't like that you decided to call Christmas lights, holiday lights. The political correctiness has reached sickening proportions

Lisa F
7/27/2011 12:34:09 PM
I am going to try to make this but just use candles instead of pouring the wax. It will be harder and messy to repour vs. just changing the candle out. Also, a votive might work too if placed on some sort of platform seated in the glass.

Danny Dennis
7/27/2011 9:17:19 AM
I use my wet saw (Tile Saw) for cutting bottles. Just make sure to wear appropriate personal protection and don't be in a rush. I wear gloves, goggles or better yet a clear face mask and an apron (to stay dry and catch the tiny shards of glass). Simply start the cut and then just rotate the bottle after the initial cut is made. It takes me approximately 15 to 30 seconds per bottle and the loss rate is minimal. Then finish the bottle by sanding with emery cloth as mentioned in the article. Hope this helps. Danny

Suzanne Horvath
7/27/2011 8:48:40 AM
If the cut edge can't be made perfectly smooth or ends up with a little chip, could you just run some copper or silver tape around the rim? Would that work? Might just look like you planned it.

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