Even if you're not a big drinker, wine bottles can stack up fast. You can certainly recycle them, but they're such a great shape and heft that it almost seems a pity to just get rid of them with the week's recycling. Instead, why not branch out into some interesting alternative uses for wine bottles (and beer bottles, for that matter), and we're not talking the kitschy Chianti bottle with a candle stuck in it here, people.
A bottle wall. This particular example was actually made with beer bottles, but wine bottles can be used as well. Bottles as architectural features can be employed like this to allow light in while retaining privacy, and they can also be used in decorative designs in cement, cob, adobe, and other types of walls.
Chalkboard vase. Come on, sticking flowers in a wine bottle is lazy. Spraying a wine bottle with chalkboard paint allows you to add customized messages and change them up as desired; and if you want, you can dress it up with ribbon, raffia, or burlap string, as seen here.
Plant waterer. This particular photo shows a craft project, but you can also use upside down wine bottles (cut in half or not) to water your plants. Drill a hole through the cork, fill the bottle with water, and push it upside down into the soil. The hole will allow the water to slowly leak out, providing a steady trickle of water at the root line.
You know what they say about glass houses. This was actually a public art installation in Palo Alto, California, but the point stands: glass can be recycled as a building material, and you don't need to stop with wine bottles as an architectural accent. (But please: don't drink all that wine yourself. Source material from winery tasting rooms, restaurants, and bars!)
Chandelier. This project is made with wine bottles suspended from a rack and wired for electricity; you can hardwire it, use an extension cord, or call an electrician, your choice. Wine bottle chandeliers are interesting conversation pieces and they can be quite striking with a mix of colored bottles.
Garden edging. Another project that would involve a lot of wine bottles, this garden edging can look pretty nifty if you leave the labels on and allow them to weather off naturally, which takes a lot of work out of the process of upcycling your wine bottles!
Boot storage. No, don't try to fit boots in your wine bottles. But if you have tall boots that tend to flop or fall over in the closet, put wine bottles into them to hold them upright. You can weight the bottles with pebbles or sand if you keep having a problem.
Wine bottle glasses and goblets. You can choose whether you want to simply cut the top off a bottle for a basic glass, or reuse the top as well to turn your glass into a goblet. Add etching to make the project more distinctive.
I promised no tacky candle holders, but this candelabra is innovative and very cool. It was designed by Michael Cloke, and could totally be reimagined in a number of different ways.
And if you really want candles in wine bottles? There are lots of innovative ways to do it, but this enterprising Phoenix contractor has come up with an interesting business model revolving around upcycling wine bottles into amazing candleholders.
Remember to store all that wine well before you drink it, though!
Katie Marks writes for Networx.com.